S4 EP48: Amplifying talent development through people operations and marketing – Roxanne Nelson and Megan Bell, Falvey Insurance Group

“We look at our people as our number one asset, they are really providing our product. You need the people in order to bring that (insurance) promise to life. When we bring in an entry level person, we’re looking at their development path. We want to know, ‘what do you want to do?’, says Roxanne Nelson as she explains how Falvey create a clear career path for those entering the insurance industry.

On the podcast this week, Falvey’s Chief People Officer shares her journey from underwriting to people operations.

SVP of Marketing, Megan Bell gives insight in to her marketing career in a start-up to natural foods, before joining the Falvey Insurance team in 2017.

“I was one of the first hires into the marketing team. I’ve worked really closely with Roxanne on the employer branding side. What it’s like to work here and why people should work here is a big part of what I do.”

Megan describes what it’s like to work in insurance as a marketeer.

“I feel like it takes too long for someone to realize that this is such an amazing place to be. You don’t know until you’re in it and you don’t know before because no one ever tells you go and work in insurance.

It’s so full of passion. Everyone I meet, whether you’re an underwriter or you’re in claims, just really cares about what they do. They really care about providing good service and coming up with new innovation. It’s just a super inspiring place to be. I feel like there’s also no end to insurance.”

Megan explains how the business has transformed from Falvey Cargo Underwriting to Falvey Insurance Group, offering a suite of MGA programs which includes marine cargo, all risk shippers, interest insurance, inland marine vessel pollution, as well as transportation and logistics. The business has also recently launched a wholesale brokerage division.

Roxanne highlights the growth in headcount over the past few years and the role collaboration and support staff have played in delivering first-rate customer service.

“As we’ve built out our underwriting units, we’ve also built out our support staff. We are a very technology focused company. That is a big different differentiator to us besides our people.

Along with growing our MGAs, we’ve had to grow our support staff. We have a fully operational IT department, building our systems in house. We have a business intelligence and innovation department that is really focused on working with our internal departments to find out what they need to be more efficient. There’s lot of collaboration.”

Roxanne discusses how Falvey are moving from more rigid people committees to launching fluid, less formal employee resource groups.

“These groups are set up to give our employees a chance to get together and have discussions about what’s going on in their careers, what are the opportunities, what can we do to recruit more people?

They are ultimately helping us drive the business forward and be more ingrained with our employees.”

Megan emphasizes the value of close collaboration between marketing and people operations, when it comes to employer branding.

“Every year we send an underwriter to the Lloyd’s Academy in London. That’s like gold. It’s not promotional content, it’s something people want to read. It’s great to tell people that this is something we’re investing in.

When we redid our website there was a big focus for me on our careers page specifically. There isn’t a stock photo there. It’s all of our employees.”

Roxanne advises people coming to interview at Falvey to embrace the culture.

“It is so important to us and the employees. It’s not just about the number of accounts you’re writing or the production level you have, it’s about being part of our team and our culture.

If you’re an executive and you’ve been in a very strict corporate type of structure, you’re not necessarily going to find that here. We’re more entrepreneurial, we’re more turn on a dime and let’s make it happen.”

Roxanne also encourages fellow People Leaders not to pigeon-hole candidates.

“If you recognize a talent in someone and it’s not in the role they’ve applied for, pivot that person. See if there’s a different role for them and if you don’t have a role for that person, but they are a phenomenal talent, find a job for them. Hire them because the last thing you want to do is find out two months later that they’ve gone to your number one competitor.”

Roxanne clarifies what’s important to her when working with an external Search Partner.

“They need to learn and understand our culture. The second one is the speed to bring us people. We are moving so quickly as a company that we never want to slow our momentum down. Urgency is one of the big tag words for this year at our company.”

Megan highlights how not being afraid to ask questions has been a key part of her career growth and integrating in to insurance.  

“Ask to be part of conversations that don’t necessarily relate to you. I’ve learned the most from just being in the room, especially being new to insurance. Hearing how the language is used is a major part of working in the industry. That’s how you, how you learn how you grow.”

Connect with Roxanne Nelson and Megan Bell on LinkedIn or find out more about Falvey Insurance Group.

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO of Insurance Search.

We are a global Insurance Executive Search Consultancy, supporting Insurance and Insurtech businesses to attract and retain the very best insurance talent.

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