March 24, 2022

Customer Experience is the Tie-Breaker

Insights North America Canada
Arch Voices

Meet Jean-Pierre Galipeault

After I graduated from university, my career in insurance began in claims, where I got a sense of the challenges and all sides of the customer experience. I got my broker’s license and worked in various functions. Then, I left the industry outright for a short time, but I returned quickly. I returned because I realized that while insurance doesn’t sound like the most exciting industry, there are a lot of interesting careers across a wide range of fields. In 2013, I came back to insurance through Arch, first in underwriting before moving into my current role in 2019.

My first role at Arch gave me the opportunity to rapidly take on more responsibilities. I grew the areas I was responsible for and learned to manage people — something that was entirely new to me. Being engaged in leadership, mentoring and understanding the nuances and needs at that level was something I had to learn, and I did it with the mentorship of my managers.

Total Mindset Shift

The biggest learning curve I had was transitioning into a leadership role from where I went from doing the work myself to managing my team’s work and being responsible for making sure they have the tools to be successful. It was a total shift in mindset and made me see that the value that I can bring to my team is different. I had to become comfortable with being less of a doer, to seeing things strategically: understanding each team member’s role and strengths and connecting that to where they could go with the right supports. I could not have transitioned to management as well as I did without the coaching and mentoring from my managers.

Having bosses like this is what Pursuing Better Together® embodies. I now help my team the same way my bosses helped me.

My first customer is my team. Giving your team permission by saying yes is not enough; you need to back them up with the resources, tools and capacity to fulfill what you have just agreed to. This means giving them opportunities to grow even if it takes them away from you. It means being curious: what is their career track? Are there educational opportunities that would fit? We are building long term, stable teams by nurturing talent. This is critical for Arch in our recruitment strategy and in developing our existing talent.

Arch Values are key here, especially in our current reality of working from home. While there are benefits in flexibility and balance, it could be difficult for young people or new colleagues to get exposure to the excellent cross-pollination of ideas that happens with more in-person contact. We don’t want anyone to get left behind, so we encourage collaboration in ways that might seem informal, such as virtual water cooler chats and virtual cocktail hours. These connections are powerful.

Arch Values also come out in our recruitment, specifically interviewing and selecting candidates. Where before we may have favored people with specific skill sets or experience, we now see the value in looking for a fit in other ways. An example is a recent hire who didn’t have the perfect skill set and hadn’t done this job before. But, his world view made us think that this is who we need on our team. He has been on our team for a year and it’s clear in his performance that he isn’t bound by what could not be done. He sees things from a perspective that might even elude me. He espouses the values we need to be able to continue to evolve, and say “yes.”

When you hire someone who thinks just like you, it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Having everybody viewing things the same way is limiting, and would hinder the growth that Arch wants to engage in. We want to meet new people and grow our talent in-house. This is how I am Pursuing Better Together.

Inspired By Apple

When I think about improving our customer experience, I look externally to companies that treat me well as a consumer, and I aim to learn from that. I think of Apple and the Apple Stores: there are no cash registers; you can play around with products. The way it’s all laid out is different from any other store, and it feels like their goal is to help you get what’s right for you, not just to sell as much as possible to you. We can learn to consider the customer’s journey to us, which is usually via brokers. How can we make ourselves more flexible, more solution-oriented?

“What is the tie-breaker? It is the customer experience: being more responsive, easier to do business with, collaborative and being open-minded.”

This is not something we or other carriers have thought about enough. There is an opportunity to challenge this notion of being rigid because it has worked so far, and to instead be creative and flexible about how we consider things. What is the tie-breaker? What edges us to the front if our price is in the same ballpark as another carrier, maybe one with a bigger profile? It is the customer experience: being more responsive, easier to do business with, collaborative and being open-minded. We have done this well here in Canada, and it’s been easy because we are these things by intentional design — and that makes us different. The insurance marketplace has been a challenge for the last few years, in that there is not a lot of capacity to take on more. If the marketplace turns tough again, Arch will have already carved out a niche due to these characteristics, and the permission we give to ourselves to bring these values into how we do our work: the permission to say yes and Pursue Better Together.

Jean-Pierre Galipeault

Chief Regional Executive
Arch Insurance Canada | Toronto, Ontario

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