When Patrick Costello (pictured) co-founded the cyber insurance-focused Evolve MGA with his brother in 2015, he first turned to friends, family, and internal referrals to build out the team. However, these sources were soon tapped out, and the leaders had to look to other streams that would provide them with top insurance talent – a journey that Costello will be reflecting on during a panel at the upcoming Leadership Exchange Summit in Chicago.
“When we were looking towards external sources to get started, we formed a great relationship with a risk management fraternity, and other collegiate organizations,” said Costello, principal at Evolve MGA and a speaker at the Leadership Exchange Summit.
One of those sources was Gamma Iota Sigma, which has chapters across colleges in the US and is a well-oiled pipeline of talent for students in insurance and risk management programs. That means these candidates already have some knowledge about the insurance industry – a rarity for most kids graduating from college.
“Tapping into a source like this has provided huge value for our organization thus far because it is filled with talented individuals that know they want to be in the industry,” said Costello. “The majority of insurance professionals will tell you that either you’re born into the industry or you fall into it. The fact that we found a group of individuals that have foundational knowledge and passion around insurance is huge.”
As an MGA that only focuses on cyber insurance, all of Evolve’s team members need to be cyber experts, so the company offers resources and training to get new hires up to speed. Its employees will come out to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Evolve’s headquarters are located, for three to four months to learn the ‘Evolve Way’ and take in everything cyber insurance-related, quickly becoming subject matter experts so that they can hit the ground running.
Mentorship programs also play an important role in getting new team members to master the cyber insurance learning curve. Coming into a new organization and having someone to look up to, but also having an individual that can help you navigate through the job, and show you how to move up and develop your career is invaluable to a new person entering the company, Costello told Insurance Business.
At the Leadership Exchange Summit, the Evolve leader will discuss the many checks and balances within the MGA’s hiring process to make sure that the company is finding the best people it possibly can. He’ll also shed light on what the next generation of insurance professionals is looking for from their workplaces when coming into the industry, which the Evolve principal knows well being located so close to Silicon Valley, where many companies are leaders in offering work perks and cool amenities to their employees.
One of his key messages for insurance leaders looking for the best talent, however, is the importance of crafting a company image that clearly shows what new hires can expect before they walk through an organization’s doors.
“At the end of the day, I think a lot of what we’ve done to attract that top talent is based around what people see when they first come to our website. We’ve really tried to highlight our culture, and we’ve tried to highlight the personalities of everyone on our team because our goal is to have everyone succeed personally and professionally,” Costello explained.
“Millennials have a ton of opportunity within insurance because we will see a good portion of the industry start to move towards retirement. The culture in many insurance agencies is archaic. It’s not uncommon to walk into an agency feeling like you walked into a time capsule. We are trying to create an innovative, fun, and collaborative environment that encourages progress and consistently improves.”