An inside look at the people powering the practice
The (re)insurance industry does not generally have a reputation for rapid career advancement, but rather a reputation of gradually moving up through the ranks as those around you do.
Lockton Re is driving a different way of looking at people’s careers and associated opportunities based on merit and talent rather than outdated hierarchies. Will Cheney and Justin Lorence who are both part of Lockton Re’s Property Segment, discuss what they’ve found different about working at Lockton Re and how refreshing and motivating they find this new career trajectory.
Will, Justin, thanks for having a chat about your experience of Lockton Re. Why did you both join the business?
Will: For me I think there were three things that really stood out. Firstly, the opportunity to work with some of the brightest people in our industry that bring perspectives from their previous experiences. Secondly, a culture that I knew I would enjoy. A spirit of collaboration and long term investment that is unique in reinsurance broking. Lastly, it’s the opportunity to take my first two points and build something different. I’m a firm believer that this cannot be done effectively without possessing both the right talent and the right culture. How exciting to be part of this process, to support others and show that there is a different way.
Justin: When your career gets to a certain point you have a sense of what the culture is like at different places and it can be a balance of what matters most to you and what you can live with if you are going to move to a different organization. Right from my first conversations with people at Lockton Re it felt different and energized, I was so intrigued and really felt like it was an opportunity to be part of something different. Brokers can be a jaded bunch so to feel that pull makes a huge difference.
So when you look at your career so far within the industry and going forward, what is different about your career opportunity at Lockton Re?
Justin: At Lockton Re there’s an opportunity to make a real difference, to build something in a relatively short timescale, and be rewarded based on your merit not your tenure. There’s a “start-up” feel and energy that’s hard to describe. You are elevated into a position of responsibility more rapidly here than somewhere else and that ultimately results in a faster and more rewarding career trajectory. You’re part of a team but that doesn’t mean some people are the focus and success is reliant on them, everyone has a responsibility to drive the Lockton Re success and that’s incredibly empowering. I feel like I have more control over my career and have the opportunity to work in a different way not only to fulfill my potential but also those I work with.
Will: As Justin says the cultural drive is very different, that shared sense of opportunity in the current market combined with a lack of bureaucracy. At the same time people are so willing to collaborate you might think the culture would encourage a selfish individualism but it’s the absolute opposite. It sounds like I’m broking you, but not everyone is keen to help and support - we all want Lockton Re to win. You can make decisions and drive activity in a way that means you feel the success of Lockton Re and your own career growth are completely complementary. Fortunately a newer company or re-focused company like Lockton Re can avoid some of the pitfalls of hierarchy, by offering a platform that is less prescriptive in terms of advancement, and one that actively encourages its colleagues’ opinions. We are all fortunate to be a part of an organization that rewards people’s intellect, hard work, and contributions to its success.
Businesses love to talk about having a unique culture, is the culture at Lockton Re really that different?
Will: Absolutely. It feels very different from working for a large corporation for starters. I think the reason why it is materially different to me is that we are actively seeking like-minded people that are looking for the same traits in coming over. We obviously want diverse and unique perspectives, but one thing we want from all of our colleagues is a competitive mindset that strives for better outcomes. Justin: Definitely, even more so than I first imagined. You can have the types of conversations that you would never have somewhere else. There’s a genuine willingness to take on feedback and try different approaches, you feel valued and so empowered to do your job. It’s hard to underscore just how important that last point is, people will perform at higher levels when they feel empowered and supported. We will undoubtedly continue to grow our business and continuing to attract like-minded associates will ensure our cultural differentiators remain core to Lockton Re’s ethos.
Lockton Re talks about its’ empowered people ethos - what does that mean to you?
Will: It has a few dimensions from my perspective. Firstly, it starts with having the best people in the industry and ability to draw from their experiences to broaden your own perspective. Secondly, I believe that without support for investment, our goals cannot reach the heights we aspire for – and we have that at Lockton Re. So for employees to be able to access the best people and have the resources and a forum to engage and push harder and further than before, I think that represents tremendous opportunity for empowerment and also personal growth.
Justin: The entire purpose of building Lockton Re was to bring something better to the reinsurance broking sector. Of course that applies to both clients and markets but it’s also especially true for our colleagues. We have hired from a myriad of firms and that breadth of perspective is valuable across all of our disciplines and experience levels. Whether the end purpose is being more efficient, providing a better solution, or a better client or employee experience - your opinion matters and that’s a big thing, you feel both able to do a better job and enthused to do even more. Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas without fear, that’s pretty unique in this industry.
What is the benefit to clients of the differentiated culture and career opportunity?
Justin: When you really enjoy what you are doing and you don’t feel like you are being held back, clients can sense that and they know you’re focused on the best outcomes for them. There’s no personal angst, all that energy is directed productively within our teams and for the benefit of our clients. When they experience our culture and structure they know Lockton Re is doing what is best for them rather than what is easy for us. The fact that we aren’t frightened to question structures or systems to achieve optimal results is as refreshing for clients as it is for colleagues. Our collaborative ethos is as strong externally as it is internally.
Will: Where to start… Having an army of entrepreneurial spirits that look to improve upon the way our business has been done historically is a tremendous asset for a client. Whether it is Lockton Re’s SAGE platform and that it is effectively a ‘living’ platform that adapts to functionality our business has never seen, or it is a creative mindset that approaches a problem with the question of “Can we do this better or differently?” I think a client can know that we are working tirelessly on their behalf and that has to be reassuring when we live in a world that demands more than ever from specialists and trusted business advisors.
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