Developing the next generation of ICMIF leaders

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A PwC survey of Generation Y raised an interesting question: are there any industries in which you would not wish to work solely because of their image? Coming out as the top industry that Gen Y do not wish to work for was the oil and gas industry. Second, was defence. Insurance was the third. Our industry has such a bad reputation among this generation, that only an industry that is considered to be killing the planet and one that is concerned with killing each other were viewed as worse to work in.

Our industry’s image among this generation, which will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020, is something that should be setting off alarm bells in the ears of senior executives, especially as they look to shape future strategic plans which will involve attracting and retaining tomorrow’s best and brightest talent into our industry.

Cooperative and mutual insurers are no different in that respect, as they also face the challenge of attracting Gen Y as both consumers and employees. This topic has been on the radar of the ICMIF Intelligence Committee (IC) for a few years and has been a key theme on the agenda at a number of recent ICMIF events. A number of IC members were encouraged to bring a younger, high-potential colleague with them to last week’s IC meeting in Copenhagen to add a fresh perspective to the group discussions, especially those relating to planning the agenda for next year’s Biennial Conference.

The theme for the 2017 Biennial Conference is Redesigning Insurance. This will not just be the overarching theme of the agenda, but will also relate to redesigning the conference format: an important part of that is, for the first time, we will be running a Young Leaders’ Program, aimed at member companies’ promising employees aged (generally) between 18 and 35. This will not be a separate program from the main conference, as we want the young leaders to attend all of the plenary sessions and social events, but we also want to give them a chance to have exclusive learning and networking opportunities (all for a 50% discount on the full member delegate fee!).

The Young Leaders’ Program is being carefully designed as an excellent opportunity for ICMIF member companies to both develop and reward their younger, high-performing and potential future leaders. They will be able to learn about and exchange best practices with their peers in specially-designed breakfast sessions, and also network with senior executives, industry leaders and key external influencers in the main plenary sessions and social events over the week of the conference. We hope this experience will give them a new global perspective of the insurance industry, expose them to mutuality on a global scale, and give them a chance to interact with people from other countries – something in which perhaps mutuals and cooperatives are at a disadvantage compared to their multinational competitors.

We feel that the program will not just be beneficial to young leaders, but will also contribute to the quality of the conference. Furthermore, we believe it will create huge ongoing value for all the ICMIF members involved in the program afterwards: these young leaders will return to their respective companies after the event with new skills, confidence, inspiration and business acumen, and bring new insights and solutions to existing business problems. We will also be including some of the young leaders in the speaker line-up for parts of the plenary agenda, so that they can bring their insights to the debate on redesigning our sector for the future.

A key aspect of the program is that it will be designed by and for young leaders – that is why the recent IC meeting was an excellent opportunity to bring together young leaders from eight different ICMIF members in seven different countries to begin the ideation of the program. I will be working closely with this newly-formed Young Leaders’ Forum (YLF) to ensure we are creating maximum value for member companies’ young leaders both during the London conference as well as post-conference, as we look to develop the next generation of ICMIF leaders.

For more information on the Young Leaders Program please click here or to find out more about the Program or Youth Leaders’ Forum (YLF), please contact Ben Telfer, Vice-President, Business Intelligence (

The ICMIF Biennial Conference will take place in London, UK, from 17 October 2017 to 20 October 2017. 

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