What a multigenerational workforce can teach us about leadership

For Elissa Doroff (pictured), Head of Claims Americas at Mosaic Insurance, this age diversity is something to celebrate. “I think insurance as a career has always been seen as boring, unexciting and somewhat limiting,” she reflected.

“In the last 10 to 12 years, higher education institutions have created an opportunity to focus on insurance and risk management as a career and that has changed the outlook dramatically. There are so many more younger people who see insurance as a promising and fulfilling career.”

Doroff reflected on the lessons her generation learned in navigating the insurance landscape before a panel on the intergenerational workforce at the Women in Insurance event in New York.

“If you talk to someone of my generation, many of us could say that we got into the insurance industry. I didn’t want to start my career there. I went to law school, then did tax and estate planning, and found that didn’t fulfill me at all,” Doroff said.

“I started looking at other types of industries and opportunities and where else I could use my law degree. I got an opportunity at AIG about 17 years ago and it turned out to be one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve ever had.”

Doroff said she’s “seen all sides of the insurance equation,” from mediation to claims work to policy underwriting. Her experience has shown her the abundance of opportunities in the insurance field and the wealth of talent among professionals of all ages.

“For my generation, work is all about getting something done. You find solutions and get creative. There haven’t been as many advances in technology as there have been over the past decade,” she told Insurance Business.

“Today with the rise of companies offering aggregation and modeling solutions, there are so many resources to help build a portfolio and educate us better. Younger people working in this technological area of ​​insurance have helped create these solutions,” she added.

Technology has also driven the change in learning styles across age groups, Doroff observed. “For me and maybe those who are further along in their careers, our learning style is different. I prefer personal and practical contact [learning]. When we have training, it helps me to learn from observing and working with people.

“Many [the people in] younger generations are much more imaginative to their advantage and can find solutions online. They can understand and learn things much faster and more efficiently, especially when it comes to technology,” Doroff said.

It’s easy to point out generational differences, but a mixed-age team can also demonstrate a wealth of talents and strengths if leaders can manage them well. It all boils down to a core competency, Doroff said: “Communication is key, no matter how big or small your team is, how diverse or diverse: it’s important to communicate, set expectations, celebrate success, and outline roadmaps to success .”

She also stressed the importance of mentoring the newer cohort of insurance professionals. But instead of giving them the solutions, Doroff said that the more experienced should allow the younger ones to flourish.

“It’s important to make younger generations think, help them find ways to think about the challenge and prepare them to deliver solutions. This ultimately helps them become more of a leader themselves,” she concluded.

Elissa and a host of other top insurance leaders will address the cross-generational workforce and other topics at the Women in Insurance Summit in New York on September 7 at the Westin New York Times Square. The annual conference dedicated to supporting women after a pandemic break is packed with powerful sessions to help insurance professionals meet today’s challenges.

For more information about the Summit and to register, visit newyork.ibwomenininsurance.com.

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