Talent attraction and retention in reinsurance broking – what's the key?

Head on the power of culture in building the right line-up

Talent attraction and retention in reinsurance broking – what's the key?


By Mia Wallace

There’s no easy way to describe a typical “day in the life” of Stephen Postlewhite (pictured), partner and head of capital solutions at McGill and Partners, as every new day brings a fresh set of opportunities to support the market – something that could appeal to any potential new hire.

“A typical day could bring just about anything,” he said. “But underlying that is our drive to find great solutions to the problems that our clients are facing, however complex they might be.”

Attracting the best to reinsurance broking

Talent attraction and retention are high on his strategic agenda for the year as he looks to build a high-quality team. He highlighted that it’s all about getting the right talent in, when you’re looking to continue to create real value for clients. 

“We have a particular focus in the US as a business more broadly at the moment, but that’s equally true for the capital solutions business,” he said. “We currently have a relatively small share of a very big pot and I think there’s a wealth of opportunity out there for us. But it’s all about finding the right people.”

Sourcing and attracting those people is all about building the right reputation, Postlewhite said, because if you have the right reputation both culturally, and also for being a business that specialises in complexity, then you automatically attract the right kind of people. The focus for him, therefore, is on getting the message out about what his team are doing in the market and how his team’s value proposition is different.

Postlewhite said he has found McGill’s culture a natural fit for people who like being able to make calculated decisions very quickly, and its ethos of being able to respond very nimbly to the prospect of an open door is what attracted him to the business.

What’s on the McGill & Partners agenda for 2024?

“In line with that emphasis on talent, the other focus is really on over-achieving what is a challenging plan for 2024,” Postlewhite said. “We have to continue with our very collaborative approach; we need to live, breathe and eat the culture. That’s how we’re going to actually get where we need to go from a strategic plan perspective. This year is all about building our reputation.

“To some extent, I think we already have a reputation for rolling up our sleeves when things are difficult and providing great solutions to complex problems. But we need and want to continue to drive that differentiated view of McGill – within capital solutions and more broadly – because that’s the approach that has already been very successful for us, and which we want to continue.”

Following almost two decades on the re/insurer side of the market – including as CEO of Aspen Re, and later Aspen Insurance, and MD of QBE’s global reinsurance business – Postlewhite said he’s enjoying the chance to “live and breathe” the reinsurance broking world. While his previous roles allowed him to develop a close insight into the space, he said, it’s different when you’re on the inside.

The business also works quite extensively with the broader McGill treaty and insurance teams, he said, because they’re well-versed in finding ways to work together.

“That’s why I think we’ve got such a strong offering,” he said. “Because, with the McGill culture focusing very heavily on a single P&L, we look to bring the best solution to a client. The variety of what we do tends to sit across all these various areas and fits very well with the McGill culture, which essentially supercharges what we do.

“That means we can pull in expertise and specialist knowledge from any area of the firm and people are very willing to give their time because they recognise that it aligns with the McGill culture and protects their own business. So, you get this great collaboration which I don’t think you probably see in many other brokers.”

The complexities of the markets served by McGill warrant this collaboration because they inherently require a really deep understanding of the client, he said. From his time in the market, the importance of having a team made up of highly inquisitive minds who really want to know about the client, how they do their business, and how they can partner with them to develop critical solutions is clear.

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