The ongoing challenges of running an international insurance business

How this insurance business thrived during COVID-19

The ongoing challenges of running an international insurance business

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Operating an international business can sound like a dream come true until you realize the amount of responsibility and planning involved. It takes a certain kind of leader to be able to keep a global business up and running – more so than ever when the organization is facing its greatest challenge in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such was the case for David Bearman, chief executive officer at Aventum Group. Not only has Bearman managed to keep the business afloat amid a global health crisis, but he also took it to new heights. In recognition of the company’s recent successes, Insurance Business inducted the Aventum Group leader into its Insurance Business Global 100 list.

To understand how Aventum managed to thrive in spite of the pandemic, Insurance Business global editor Paul Lucas spoke with Bearman in a recent IB TV interview.

For Bearman, running a business from afar will never be a walk in the park – whether or not there is a pandemic.

“Running any business remotely and from afar is difficult, right?” he said. “I’ve always been a believer [in] leading from the front; being in the office and with your people. It’s much more difficult when you’ve got fifteen locations worldwide. But we try – where possible – to have daily and weekly contact with every office [and] all the stakeholders.”

Bearman pointed out that for all the havoc raised by the pandemic, it also brought some benefits to the industry – particularly in terms of promoting agile work and virtual meetings. Virtual meetings using platforms such as Zoom were frowned upon just five years ago, the leader said, but the times have quickly changed thanks to COVID-19.

“It’s almost the standard way of doing business today,” he commented.

Now that some travel restrictions have been lifted, Bearman has taken the opportunity to travel where he can – after all, he is still a ‘leading from the front’ sort of leader. He tells Insurance Business that he has already been to the US and Europe to visit Aventum’s regional operations. And more recently, he went to Bahrain to check on the aviation practice.

“We’ve got very agile framework in terms of the way we operate . . . [it’s] effectively a hub and spoke, so our worldwide offices plug into our central operations here in London. Everything is done via . . . a very agile and remote data collection and system,” said Bearman. “So it’s been a lot easier than you might imagine. But you’ve still got your challenges . . . of people, different regulatory environments, obviously different nuances to local markets.”

The CEO also cites the strength of Aventum’s local teams as the secret to its success.

“Our strategy from an underwriting perspective is always to go where the work is. We identify the best teams of underwriters and we effectively build an office around them.”


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