Dominic Santschi, Product Manager Mobility Insurance at Swiss Mobiliar (Switzerland), spoke to ICMIF about the benefits he has gained from being a member of the ICMIF Young Leaders Forum and from attending the 2017 Biennial Conference on the Young Leaders Programme.
According to Dominic, the Young Leaders Forum and the Young Leader Programme at the Biennial Conference offer unique opportunities for younger employees at ICMIF member organisations to develop themselves both personally and professionally. Not only can they receive valuable insights from other mutual insurance companies, but they will also meet many inspirational people from diverse backgrounds. There are many ways in which younger employees at ICMIF member organisations can benefit greatly from their organisation’s ICMIF membership. Below, Dominic shares what he sees as being the greatest benefits and advantages and why he recommends other organisations ensure their employees can benefit from these opportunities also.
Benefit from an exclusive personal and professional network
The ICMIF Young Leaders Forum makes it very easy to make friends and long-lasting, valuable professional contacts. If you want to learn more about a country, a particular mutual insurance company or specific market offering, do not hesitate to get in touch with your ICMIF contact to ask them about how the Forum can help or what introductions can be made by ICMIF with other organisations for you. For me personally, I have benefitted from an information exchange about organisational structures with DEVK Versicherungen (Germany); a full-day workshop about innovation and change management with La Segunda (Argentina); a call about motor insurance telematics with P&V (Belgium); a case study about customer experience with PPS (South Africa); or a conversation about talent development with Achmea (Netherlands). As you can see, the ICMIF network has a great deal to offer and for me it is very precious.
Harness the opportunity to represent your company
Imagine being the only Young Leader in a group of senior executive managers from other organizations. How do you behave? When I attended the Biennial Conference in 2017, I found myself sitting on a table next to the CEO of an American life insurance company and a C-suite executive from a major reinsurance company. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk about my employer’s characteristics, the way we deal with stakeholder needs and how we provide value to our customers. I felt that this was an extreme privilege. I was the only person from my organization at the table and therefore the single voice of the company and did not need to consider any hierarchical restrictions.
Make use of the diversity within ICMIF’s global network of companies to improve your understanding of your own business
Do you really know how your organisation works or is it mainly just the line of business you work in? Many of us struggle to get a comprehensive view of the way our company is doing business. Even if you know how your organization works, you may still have a lack of knowledge of how other mutual insurance companies approach similar risks and opportunities. Why not use the ICMIF membership network to exchange ideas and knowledge with peers from other companies, who work in other areas and are happy to explain to you how their company works and how they contribute value to their organisation?
Understand the value of cultural diversity to develop your soft skills
Swiss people are very cold and always eat cheese – how many of you have heard this kind of stereotype before? But, do you really have enough data to prove that this statement is correct? What if it turns out that people with different cultural backgrounds to yours are very different to what you originally thought or believed about those cultures? For me personally, a conversation I had with a senior executive manager from Japan showed me that I did not have a clue about what is right or wrong when greeting an individual from this country. Such valuable intercultural experiences help you to improve your social and professional etiquette and the way you are able to interact with diverse individuals.
Improve your foreign language proficiency
For many young leaders (and indeed employees of all levels), participating in ICMIF events and initiatives requires the use of at least one language that is not your own native tongue. Therefore, why not use this tremendous opportunity to improve your language skills? For me personally, a visit to La Segunda (Argentina) for a full day workshop allowed me to learn many new words and phrases in Spanish and gave me the confidence to apply the Spanish language in a professional environment. Because meetings cannot always be held in person, ICMIF provides many alternative opportunities to improve your skills in different languages such as taking part in an ICMIF webinar, writing a blog for the ICMIF website (like this one) or reading different reports and publications.