Alan Jay Kaufman is a doer. When he saw a graying insurance business combined with a lack of robust insurance programs at the university level, the president, chairman and CEO of H.W. Kaufman Financial Group did something about it.
Kaufman Financial is the parent company of Burns & Wilcox as well as numerous other insurance businesses.
Among the steps Kaufman took to revitalize the industry was to start KELP, the Kaufman Emerging Leaders Program, in 2008. The program combines a 3-day spring orientation with a week-long session in the fall of each year. So far, 100 people have graduated, with classes getting progressively larger and the latest including 27 people.
Students are typically recent college graduates. A company spokesperson said that the company realized it was facing a shortfall in attracting and retaining young talent. After observing what other organizations were doing to address this, and analyzing the gaps in their recruitment activities, the company came up with this management development program, designed to attract top talent within the insurance industry and also encourage high-potential graduates to consider working in the insurance industry at Burns & Wilcox.
“Our industry is about identifying risk, and that includes being able to identify the risk in our own backyard,” said Kaufman. “There is no question that our industry is aging, and we have to compete for the brightest graduates and new professionals that are currently being courted by Wall Street and other professional service industries. Attracting, retaining, and developing young talent for our team is critical, and being able to offer them leadership development and a clear growth path is a big advantage. That’s why we developed the Kaufman Emerging Leaders Program.
"Since the inception of KELP, we’ve been able to significantly grow our team of new professionals, and prepare them for leadership roles. The program has made a considerable positive impact on our corporate culture and success.”