Ian Wicks asks why companies need to attract and retain the best talent

Since the emergence of the “Class of 2005”, the Bermudian reinsurance market has seen such significant growth that its infrastructure has struggled to cope with the demand surge for talented and experienced people. Companies have looked to recruit from far and wide, including, as one might expect, a large contingent of both underwriters and brokers from the London market. This problem is further exacerbated by the more stringent requirements on management experience laid down by the rating agencies.

This has raised the issue within a number of London-based companies of how, in the light of this kind of competition, they can not only attract the best talent but also, importantly, retain their best performers.

Essentially if a business is prosperous and enjoys a reputation for success then it will attract higher calibre performers. The ideal is to create a team that consists of very effective, well-rewarded people, where no-one wants to leave and talented people want to join.

It is also vital to recognise what peoples’ skills are in order to best utilise and develop them. There have been many examples of very effective market brokers being promoted into senior management positions because it was viewed as the best thing to do by the company and the most attractive way up the corporate ladder for the brokers.

“Brokers do not always make the best managers, as this requires different skills

Ian Wicks Managing director, Herman Wicks & Swayne.

Unfortunately, brokers do not always make the best managers, as this requires different skills. This is an issue for many companies in the industry, which can effectively lose out twice as the individual’s real talents as a broker are also lost.

Another industry challenge is how to develop tomorrow’s top talent. In the past, subscription placements often had many companies participating, some with relatively small lines, where it was fine to let the junior broker learn the ropes. Today, a placement may have only a few large important lines on and these need to be handled by the experienced brokers to ensure the best for the client.

People need to be considered as a long-term investment. Those with a vested interest in a business are far more committed to success. Employers who can wave this particular “wand” are undoubtedly at a distinct advantage.