S4 EP17: Understanding investors and ruling your niche – with Andrew Robinson, CEO, Skyward Specialty Insurance

“We listed immediately following what was the worst public market environment in modern day. The IPO market was completely shut down. Our S-1 had been confidentially filed and we ended up having almost 60 ‘Testing the Waters’ meetings with investors. It allowed us to learn about how investors thought about our company and the market. It ended up being incredibly valuable,” says Andrew as he describes Skyward’s turnaround journey to the first successful IPO of 2023.

Andrew shares the benefit of being able to test the waters ahead of the IPO and gaining an understanding of the business from an investor’s perspective. 

From aligning talent with business strategy to visibly changing the company’s culture, Skyward have moved to a flatter, more modern and fluid environment.

“There are cultures that are very reliant on their CEOs but ours is now incredibly organic. We have a real winning mindset, but it’s an amazingly compassionate environment. We have folks that are really focused on winning. They’re highly competitive but at the same time very supportive of one another.”

Andrew highlights how the cultural transformation has impacted talent attraction.

“We’re hiring underwriters who want to underwrite, very technical people who want to apply their trade. We give them boundaries in which we can operate, we try to clear out the bureaucracy. We’re very focused on making the underwriters the center of the universe as a philosophy which is a really attractive thing. It’s a very grounded group of people.”

He shares his advice for business leaders considering a public offering as well how the whole Skyward team have benefitted from stock options.

Andrew gives his perspective on the current state of the insurance industry.

“Two key things that I think are important. One is that we need more talent. Second, we have an entirely new spectrum of risk. We need companies to come in and construct solutions. We all have to do our part. Skyward has to do our part in that.” 

He concludes by highlighting the company’s vision going forward.

“We want to focus on parts of the market where we can “rule our niche”.  That means build positions that are genuinely defensible, where we can deliver top quartile underwriting returns in all parts of the cycle. The most critical thing is great talent. Great people improve the fidelity of our risk selection, our ability to price risk and drive towards optimal claims outcomes.”

Connect with Andrew Robinson on LinkedIn or find out more about Skyward Specialty Insurance

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO, Insurance Search, the Executive Search Consultancy for growing Insurance and Insurtech businesses around the globe.

To discuss identifying & attracting the very best talent to your team or being a podcast guest, reach out to Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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