Utica National CEO: Insurance Industry’s Workforce Met 2020’s Challenges

For immediate release
Triple-I Press Office: Mark Friedlander, 904-806-7813, markf@iii.org

 
NEW YORK, Jan. 28, 2021 – Having a talented and adaptable workforce proved essential to U.S. insurers last year, according to the featured panelist at the CEO Fireside Chat held today as part of the Insurance Information Institute’s (Triple-I) annual Joint Industry Forum (JIF).

“2020 was the year of the frontline worker in our industry. It showed that the best-performing companies financially also have the best employees and best work environments to go along with that,” said Richard Creedon, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the member companies of the Utica National Insurance Group as well as the Chairman of the Triple-I’s Executive Leadership Committee.

“Over the past year, our industry has proven it can weather all types of disruption,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I, who hosted the one-on-one CEO Fireside Chat conversation with Creedon. “We also showed why empathy is so important as we supported customers who were facing numerous challenges because of the pandemic.”

Creedon said insurer workforces dealt with “an unprecedented level” and volume of policyholder service needs in 2020, ranging from claims to billing to coverage issues and payment plans. Yet, with an expected surge in Baby Boomer retirements on the horizon, the insurance industry will face challenges replacing that level of talent and expertise, he noted.

“Human capital is our industry’s biggest issue going forward,” Creedon said. “We are going to have to recruit the best and the brightest Millennials and Gen Z professionals to our business, as well as retain our current talent pool by engaging them and making their work meaningful and rewarding.”

Other topics addressed during the CEO Fireside Chat included:

Economic Impacts on the Industry
“We have to be strong underwriters to succeed in the current economic environment,” Creedon said. “Good underwriting can sometimes conflict with a customer’s desire for ease of doing business so a priority for us as an industry is to make an underwriting process that is more efficient and less intrusive.”

Increasing Social Inflation
“All of the factors impacting social inflation remain despite COVID – liability expansion by courts, growth in third-party litigation funding, saturation attorney advertising and expanding attorney involvement,” Creedon said.

He added that verdicts over $20 million increased in 2019, up 300 percent from a decade earlier. In addition, medium jury awards in personal injury cases more than tripled in the eight years ending in 2017, Creedon noted. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are spending over $1 billion a year on advertising and effectively using social media to further their position, he stated.

“That’s why we created the impactful Future of American Insurance & Reinsurance (FAIR) campaign so we could neutralize some of these trends,” Kevelighan said, referring to the public information initiative the Triple-I launched last year as pandemic-related business income (interruption) insurance coverage disputes came to the fore. 

Rising Consumer Expectations
“As an industry, I think we have struggled at times to produce product and service innovation. We will need to innovate to stay relevant with our customers,” Creedon said.

Kevelighan added, “I like to say we have all been ‘Amazon’d’ so those high expectations from consumers are out there.” 


About Richard P. Creedon
Mr. Creedon serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for Utica Mutual Insurance Company and the other member companies of the Utica National Insurance Group. He was named to the position of Chairman of the Board in 2019.

He joined the company in 1998 as Assistant Vice President and Director of Workers Compensation Claims. Following his promotion to Vice President/Senior Claims Officer in 2001, Mr. Creedon assumed responsibility for managing the Claims department. He was named Senior Vice President in 2003 and assumed the post of General Counsel and Senior Claims Officer the following year. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2007 and in December 2013 was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Creedon began his tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2016, and served in that role until he was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2019.

A summa cum laude graduate of Framingham State College, Mr. Creedon earned a juris doctorate from the University Of New Hampshire School Of Law. He is a Member of the New Hampshire Bar Association, and the American Society of Workers Compensation Professionals. He is also a Board Member of the Insurance Information Institute, the Property & Liability Resource Bureau (PLRB), the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and the APCIA PAC Board of Directors. He is also on the Benefits & Compensation Committee of the APCIA. He is a Director of Mohawk Valley Edge and a Council Member of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. Mr. Creedon also has served as Chairperson of the New York Special Funds Executive Committee. He is a past Member of the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association. 


About Utica National
Utica National Insurance Group is a nationally recognized group of insurers, providing personal and commercial insurance products and services, with the second-largest errors and omissions business in the United States. The member companies of Utica National sell their products through more than 2,500 independent insurance agents and employ over 1,200 people countrywide. The lead insurance company of the group, Utica Mutual Insurance Company, was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in New Hartford, New York, with eleven offices.


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