Fast Fast Forward

Putting Global Excess Casualty's front foot forward with risk and LUCK!

LetsTalk_BarbaraLuck, President, Global Excess Casualty, XL Catlin

Despite her last name, Barbara Luck isn’t just lucky. Taking the wheel of XL Catlin’s Global Excess Casualty business as president last December has been the result of her passion for learning, her love of the umbrella excess business and her drive to make an impact. And that she has, as her most recent recognition as one of Intelligent Insurer’s 'Influential Women in Re/Insurance 2017’ and one of Business Insurance’s ‘2017 Women to Watch’ signals. Maybe it has something to do with living her philosophy that clients are partners and competitors, peers and her drive to look at things from different perspectives. Can you really be in love with Excess Casualty? Read why Barbara says ‘yes!’

During your first year leading the Global Excess Casualty business, you’ve learned…?

So much about the excess casualty product and how to successfully manage the portfolio. The key is balancing an excess portfolio among many products we write, capacity management and anticipating the impact of emerging issues. I was also very fortunate in that, in my first year I had one of the best teachers of Excess Casualty, Diane Amodeo as a Chief Underwriting Officer. I started in my role asking her for homework my first week and she has provided guidance and expertise that has made my transition easier than I could have imagined. It has been an incredible learning experience.

XL Catlin differs from its peers in the Excess Casualty market, how?

We have a talented thought leadership team that’s recognized and respected in their own right for, not only, understanding insurance products, but even more so for their innovation and creativity in the industry.  

Add to that the fact that Excess Casualty has remained a core business of ours since our firm began. We still have clients with us today who have been with us since the beginning. To me, that speaks volumes about how we treat our client relationships -- our ‘partnerships’.  Clients need to know their carrier is going to work with them and be there for them when the time comes. We deliver on our promise to investigate, manage and resolve a covered claim as soon as possible.  

Our reputation of building strong relationships combined with being respected as industry thought leaders enables us to continue to grow our business…we are growing with companies as they grow! 

In light of XL Catlin’s just released Emerging Issues report, what’s impacting the Excess Casualty space?

Over the past months, we have been monitoring the evolving opioid crisis. There has been significant media attention around the North America opioid epidemic. We are seeing states and municipalities in the United States suing large pharmaceutical companies, suppliers, distributors, pharmacies, grocery stores that include pharmacies and physicians for their alleged contribution to the opioid epidemic. And although the lawsuits vary at this time, they are primarily seeking to recover the social and economic cost associated with opioid abuse, we are watching this closely as current and future litigation could affect the excess casualty space.

And while it isn’t necessarily a new issue, distracted driving continues to impact excess casualty as well as other areas providing auto liability coverage. Many of our clients are investing in new technology in an effort to combat this issue but we are still seeing the effects distracted driving is having on our client’s loss experience  

Innovation for Excess Casualty…herd mentality or business imperative?

You hear so much about industry disruptors these days. So much of what we do in our jobs when we underwrite is look back at what has happened in our client’s history. It is just as important to think about the potential impact of new risks. The world is changing so quickly. The past is a starting point to understand our customer’s exposures and then we need to step back and say ‘if this is how the world is changing, whether it is through new technology or new exposures, how will our client’s risks will be impacted. ’

Take terrorism or the lone wolf type attacks that have occurred recently. These events are devastating and as a result of these events, we have to consider this type of exposure when we are evaluating and underwriting certain types of industries now. For some of our clients, this is a new exposure. Our challenge in insurance is to stay front footed as we look at the world around us, and anticipate what may impact our clients in the future so that we can prepare for those potential risks with them.

It is also a business imperative that we bring innovation to our industry with our product offering and how we interact with our clients and brokers. To best position ourselves to do this, we’re looking to be insurance disruptors within XL Catlin. We’re asking ourselves tough questions: Are there ways to do things differently, is our product evolving, how do we build on our use of data analytics, are we taking  advantage of new technology to be more proactive and finally are we bringing the right expertise and solutions to our client and broker partners. We need to rethink how we shape our business to better respond to our customers and for our sustainability and success.

To be successful in Excess Casualty, you need to be…?

A good listener! The challenge is to be able to show up and listen first, and then talk about how you can respond. It’s about the client – your partner – more than it is about you and the presentation you prepared. You need to be thoughtful about responding, and do your best to provide a solution that addresses the needs they expressed. When you go back to them and you can say ‘I understand your priorities and concerns, and here’s what XL Catlin can do to address them’, that’s when you get it right. It is a collaborative process.

If you were talking with a young person about a career in insurance, you would say…?

Do it! It is an incredibly interesting, challenging and exciting industry. It is always evolving and having an opportunity to get  up close to some of the changing risks facing the companies you engage with every day in your personal life is an amazing experience -- from manufacturing and retail to consumer products and services and more. Insurance lets you dive into a company’s insurance needs and propose solutions to respond to them.

What inspires you?

I really love what I do and I enjoy learning new things. Not a day goes by at work that I haven’t learned something new about a client, an industry, an emerging exposure, or ways to be a better leader. Everyday my goal is to be as impactful as I can be to move the organization forward, The combination of being passionate about the industry and the desire to be impactful has enabled me to get involved in so many areas of the business, and it’s been very rewarding.

One area in particular I’m most excited about is the opportunity to coach and mentor – passing on my passion for the industry. It’s important for me to encourage others to find their passion and not be afraid to challenge themselves. It’s been wonderful to see the next generation of leaders truly excited about their future and watching them succeed.

My involvement in XL Catlin’s Woman of the World (WOW) Network fulfills that idea of mentoring and really connecting with other women in the organization. WOW encourages women to expand their network and step forward to get involved and reach. For example, recently we’ve done sessions on personal branding providing an opportunity for individuals to grow as professionals. These types of sessions weren’t as readily available when I was coming up so watching the women invest in personal growth and employ those techniques to hone their skills in the industry has been exciting.  

You know you’ve hit it out of the park when…?

we hear from our clients and brokers that we are the market and the underwriters they turn to when they have a challenging situation and look to our team for expertise, insight and solutions.  

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