Name a major global insurance player, and it’s likely that Lynn Serpico has that company listed on her impressive résumé. Currently the chief client officer and CEO of US multinational clients at Aon, Serpico has spent close to three decades at some of the biggest companies in the industry.
She first got her feet wet in insurance through a trainee program at Chubb, which she started in 1992 after completing her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers. When Serpico met her first boss during the interview stage, she was sold. “He was just terrific,” she says. “He had a lot of energy.”
After spending seven years in underwriting at Chubb – a great training ground to kick off her career, Serpico says – it was time to move on, this time to Travelers, where she stayed on the underwriting side of the business while working on her MBA in marketing.
After finishing her degree, Serpico was looking for an opportunity to put it to use. She found it in a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers, which required an expert with 10 years of direct industry experience who also had an MBA in marketing. “It was almost like the job description was written for my skill set,” Serpico says.
She became the marketing manager for PwC’s global insurance sector, giving her key consulting experience that rounded out her underwriting roles. She also got the chance to work with a range of insurance players, from health insurers and reinsurers to life and P&C insurers.
In her final career move before Aon, Serpico spent some time at Marsh, where she first served as a property broker and later moved into a client executive role. By this time, she had developed a specialty in strategic account management for large clients, an area of expertise that she would carry into her position at Aon. However, there were a few important differences about this next opportunity.
“What really appealed to me was that it was a global role,” Serpico says. “There were no boundaries, and even back then, the way Aon served clients was really exciting to me.” Much like her first job in insurance, she also found common ground with Aon’s leaders, who had a strong, client-centric vision for the company.
Reflecting on her career, Serpico says she’s found insurance to be a “terrific business” that’s welcoming to all backgrounds. “You can come into it with math skills; you could have great people skills; you could be a good salesperson; you could be an engineer – there are so many ways that you can be part of this industry and add a ton of value,” she says.
Room to grow
After 13 years at Aon, Serpico has seen how the organization gives its leaders space to develop new ideas. “If you show the initiative and the skill set, and you can demonstrate results and that [your idea] is great for clients, colleagues or the company, you get a lot of latitude to create something new,” she says.
She’s experienced this firsthand – Serpico first helped define the Strategic Account Manager role at Aon and, at the same time, developed the brokerage’s retail industry practice before moving into the multinational role in 2015. When she was appointed to the leadership position, Serpico didn’t have a team behind her or a defined plan for how to build the unit out, giving her the chance to create a value proposition for the firm as it considered the different advantages it could offer small, middle-market and large clients.
“Fast-forward five years, and we now have client councils globally, we host the Aon Insights Series globally, and we have a multinational value proposition,” she says. “We have teams who are totally focused on this, and it has been so rewarding and, quite honestly, so fun to build.”
Serpico calls this experience the highlight of her career and credits the success of the multinational unit to the team she put in place. In doing so, she kept a strong focus on diversity, including geographic diversity and diversity of thought, as well as diversity in race, gender, and age – there were no barriers to bringing in people who would best serve clients and the organization.
“Sometimes, making an unconventional choice for those leadership roles has served us extremely well, and I think it's created a spirit among the team of, ‘Wow, there's opportunity for everyone here,’” Serpico says.
Innovating for clients
Aon’s launch of a multinational client segment couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Multinational businesses are currently facing a plethora of emerging risks, from the pandemic to geopolitical developments and climate change, to name a few. Because of the unique ways in which these risks impact every business, Aon has focused on keeping clients and their needs central to its insurance and risk advice.
“We need to treat every client individually, and we need to understand their business and make it about them,” Serpico says. “Aon has all of these resources that we can bring to a client, but it needs to matter to them, [and that changes] – what mattered to the client at the beginning of the pandemic is dramatically different than what matters to a client during a difficult property renewal, when they want to meet our reinsurance team to talk about alternative solutions.”
Conducting bespoke risk analysis for each client is crucial in this environment, especially as new exposures come to light, including reputational risk, intellectual property and an evolving cyber landscape. Considering the challenges ahead, Serpico predicts that Aon’s focus on clients will only deepen.
“When you keep that singular focus of ‘What am I doing to help a client?’, it's about identifying those emerging risks and unmet clients needs, having the best talent in the industry, understanding their business, having product and industry specialization, and having the very best subject-matter experts across the spectrum of risk, retirement, and health so that we can bring everything to the forefront on their behalf,” she says. “That's how we'll continue to strengthen our client relationships and earn their business every single day.”