Talent Underpins AIG Vision for Success, Sustainable Growth
This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Business Insurance. Reprinted with permission.
AIG1 has always been a place where talented insurance professionals can do innovative things. This tradition continues with AIG’s ongoing commitment to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. As part of this critical effort, AIG proudly presents profiles of inspiring executives, beginning with Allison Barrett, Head of North America Financial Lines.
Allison Barrett was recently promoted to Head of North America Financial Lines at AIG. Previously, she was the Global Head of Multinational in AIG’s General Insurance business. She has had an extensive career in insurance and her industry commitments include serving on the board of the PLUS Foundation and she co-founded a nonprofit organization with an inclusive network for female Financial Lines insurance and reinsurance professionals, known as The Bridge. In this profile, she shares her perspective on the industry.
“It is a privilege for me to lead one of the top financial lines franchises in the industry. I take pride in having the opportunity to lead a team with such a strong passion for AIG’s clients, our broker partners and each other — especially through the ongoing change, uncertainty and market conditions of this year,” Barrett said.
“We show up to the ‘virtual’ office each day driven by a relentless commitment to excellence. Our community really cares about clients and believes in the value of the product that we are providing. We challenge each other to do better, to think smarter and continuously raise the bar in developing innovative solutions to solve for the next emerging risk on the horizon, of which there is no shortage. The financial lines risk landscape is constantly evolving, and we are always growing and learning along with our industry partners and clients.”
Barrett said she was honored “to join the ranks of many other female leaders at the helms of other marquee financial lines franchises in the industry. As women in top leadership roles, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to lead from the front and raise awareness of the benefits of diversity. I am a strong believer that adding different voices and perspectives to the table yields better business decisions and a more rewarding work environment.”
Vision for 2021
Barrett said her vision at AIG is for her team “to lead the North America Financial Lines market in providing innovative and sustainable solutions through an engaged and knowledgeable team that delivers directed growth through intentional opportunity selection while promoting a culture that values diversity, inclusion, excellence and colleague development.”
She added: “There’s a value and emphasis placed on client and trading relationships that AIG has kept at the core of its way of doing business for a very long time. We are focused on taking a balanced approach to having long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our clients. This includes proactive communication and transparency around our strategies. We remain committed to an evidence-based dialogue and collaboration with our distribution partners and clients to ensure a mutual understanding of current market dynamics and the solutions available. As one of the largest, most established primary financial lines carriers, we are able to provide clients with unique, real-time insights that help to enable well-informed decisions. We are open to innovative ways to thinking about what’s happening in clients’ eyes and what’s happening in their businesses, because it’s an ever-changing and evolving environment for all of us.
“At the core of our success is our talent. We are creating growth opportunities for our existing deeply talented team and are welcoming new members who are also recognized for their leadership and technical expertise in the market. Our goal is to build the leading Financial Lines team in the industry, and we believe that we are well on our way.”
Advice worth sharing
Barrett shared some career advice she has found helpful. “I have been fortunate to receive advice from a number of great people. Some of the best career advice I can share, in no particular order, is:
“Be bold. If not you, then who? Identify what your goals are and pursue them relentlessly. Only you can decide what success looks like. Do not be afraid to take chances and seek out new opportunities. Take charge of your own career.
“Be decisive. Follow through on making informed decisions toward progress, not perfection. Hold yourself and others accountable, and do not be afraid to admit mistakes. Some of the most innovative ideas are born from previous trial and error.
“Be authentic. It takes courage to bring your whole self to work, but people can feel your genuine approach and it gives them permission to do the same.
“Treat every interaction as an opportunity to make an impression. Always show up and be at your best, because you never know who will be at the table and how they may be able to contribute to your career.
“Embrace networks. Cultivating connections is an extremely important part of my professional life and has greatly helped enhance my career. So much so, that in 2018 I co-founded The Bridge, an inclusive nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop and advance the women of Financial Lines by providing them with meaningful education, mentoring and networking opportunities.”
Inspiration for life and work
Barrett noted success in business and life often comes from someone who inspires us. Her own inspiration comes from her mom, she said. “When someone asks who has most inspired me, I credit my mother, Katrina. She worked tirelessly to give us access to opportunities and life experiences, and she taught us to work hard to be our best every day, with the understanding that our best would always be good enough; to respect those around us; to take every interaction seriously; to be grateful; to give back; and to laugh and enjoy life.
“She maintained a career while being present at home, and she was a driving force in our house, a real partner to my father. She is unapologetic about who she is and what she believes in, but she is able to convey her thoughts and feelings in a way that they are heard. Her support has provided me with a life-long safety net that has allowed me to take the risks I needed to achieve all that I have today. She always said that she wanted to raise strong, independent daughters — and I think anyone who knows my sister and me would say she succeeded.”
To learn more about AIG, please visit https://www.aig.com/.
1 AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc.