S4 EP60: Ownership, purpose and being part of an accelerated growth story – Charlotte Hubble, HR Director, Howden Re

“We talk a lot at Howden around not just coming to work, but coming to build a business. It really allows people to kind of have that sense of ownership, that sense of purpose and really allows people to feel like they’re part of what they’re building”, says Charlotte.

“They understand it and can take a lot of pride. It’s a really different mindset, that feeling of ownership, working as part of our team, collaborating for the good of our clients.

Incentives can drive those behaviours, so a big piece for us was making sure that our combined incentive scheme drives really good collaborative behaviours and decision-making.”

On the Insurance Coffee House Podcast, Charlotte shares her insurance career journey from RSA intern, her stint at Guy Carpenter before joining Hyperion Insurance Group, now Howden.

She discusses the impact of moving from a larger, more corporate environment to a smaller, growing business.  

“Howden at the time was a much, much smaller business and a much less established HR function, which is where the real excitement was and a huge opportunity.

You didn’t have all of the things you were used to working with in very established centres of expertise. It was a really good shift to start looking at what does the business need, what does the business want?

From an HR perspective, you’re building things and doing things that are really fit for purpose.”

Charlotte highlights Howden Re’s accelerated growth story and her expanding remit. The business has grown from 400 employees in 10 countries when she joined in January 2023 to 900 in 35 countries today.   

She emphasizes how the reinsurance business is being purposefully different for its clients and people as well as leveraging the power of the Howden Group.

Charlotte talks through the TigerRisk merger, making the integration of the two businesses as seamless as possible and helping people in the business do what they’re good at.  

She shares how having start-up energy, yet being a global, established business is helping attract and retain the best insurance talent.

“Our rates of organic growth are outpacing the market. We’re having massive amounts of talent joining us. But our retention of talent is really high, and we see people progressing quickly through the business as well.

This isn’t a business that you have to wait for someone to leave a role or you have to wait for there to be space. It’s a business that is growing and that creates space for people to grow with it.” 

Charlotte gives her advice to insurance executives coming to interview, encouraging them to talk about what they want to do, not dwelling on what they’ve done in the past.  

She encourages her insurance industry HR peers to, “Make it obvious you want people to join you and be available to them.”

Highlighting the importance of working with an insurance executive search partner who challenges the recruitment function in its thinking, not just when things don’t go to plan, Charlotte says, “I’m a big believer in when things go really well, looking at what made them go really well, how do you embed that and scale it.”

Charlotte points out how the HR team is using tech to balance making the recruitment process as seamless but also as human as possible.  

In conclusion Charlotte challenges us to think about where we want [our career] to sit in a changing insurance industry and encourages us to never stop learning.

Connect with Charlotte Hubble on LinkedIn or find out more about Howden Re

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

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