Why industry expertise matters when managing risks
Tai Rutledge draws on her years as a corporate risk manager to enhance AIG’s client experience across North America.
When Tai Rutledge thinks about the needs of AIG’s North America customers, she thinks back on her years as a client:
As a former risk manager for a multinational corporation in the food industry, Tai relied on her carrier’s expertise to help her make decisions on existing and anticipated risks. She also counted on underwriters and other specialists to deepen her understanding of everything from product liability to foodborne illnesses and workers compensation.
In turn, this helped Tai keep the company’s C-suite and Board of Directors regularly informed and make critical business decisions.
Tai went on to oversee risk for her company for almost a decade before taking on other roles in finance and mergers and acquisitions. Throughout her career, however, she enjoyed working with insurers most.
“Risk managers are putting their reputations on the line when they partner with insurers long term,” says Tai, an Arkansas native, who recently moved to Chicago after joining AIG in 2020.
“From that perspective, clients want to work with partners who are knowledgeable about the risks they face and ultimately, organizations that they trust.”
“AIG left a lasting impression on me,” Tai recalls. “When I was a client, their experts challenged me and asked me tough questions with the intention to help the company I represented be successful.”
Now as AIG’s Head of Client Engagement and Industry Strategy covering North America’s General Insurance business, Tai is leading initiatives to deepen the organization’s relationships with existing clients and to build new ones.
Essentially, this will involve advising companies on new and emerging challenges ahead to help strategically position clients for long-term growth.
An important way to do that is by providing clients with industry expertise as they look to manage and mitigate risks across their businesses.
“Many of the problems a company faces are the same problems others in their industry are also facing,” Tai adds.
“Our brokers and clients expect that we bring industry expertise to the table, and we certainly have that at AIG.”
Match AIG’s risk experts with industry verticals
Looking toward the future, AIG is building on its industry expertise – starting with energy, financial institutions, and healthcare, then expanding to other sectors in phases over the coming months. AIG aims to offer clients and brokers even greater access to underwriters, claims and other insurance specialists dedicated to assessing and managing risks unique to these sectors, as well as provide experts who can help match clients with products and services tailored to their individual and industry-specific needs.
For example, even though virtually every industry faces cyber risks, developing effective solutions to mitigate and manage such challenges will vary widely depending on the nature of the industry. Whereas a cyberattack at an energy company can lead to large-scale gas shortages, an attack at a healthcare organization can put patient health and safety at risk.
In many commercial insurance lines, companies often face challenges specific to their sectors. Tai says it’s critical for AIG to develop solutions that consider industry trends, regulations and other factors shaping the future of their business.
“There are the carriers that you buy insurance from for capacity and for limits, and then there are the carriers that you buy insurance from because they bring value to the table beyond just their balance sheet,” Tai says.
From her perspective, she knows AIG is the latter, and the firm is a resource for clients beyond capacity and limits.
Deepening trust with clients
From Tai’s experience as a former AIG client, the strongest relationships are those built on trust.
“Developing that trust and maintaining that trust is critical to ongoing opportunities and partnerships with a client,” Tai explains.
“If you’re a client, you want to work with a partner who is proactive and communicates new or evolving information with you clearly and effectively.”
In addition to industry expertise, clients want to work with insurers that are transparent with when and how they arrive at important policy decisions.
“If I found out days before a renewal that capacity wasn’t available or that the wording for one of my policies would change significantly, I would remember that,” says Tai, recalling her previous career as a corporate risk manager.
“AIG always stood out to me for proactively communicating with me and keeping me updated every step of the way, whether that was walking me through the underwriting process or the claims process.”
Tai plans to enhance such experiences for AIG’s North America clients now that she’s leading the organization’s blueprint to strengthen its engagement with clients. Through empathy and strategic thinking, Tai aims to deliver not only what clients need but also what they want.
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