Riley Binford got his first taste of the insurance world in high school, filing and typing policies for his father’s insurance agency. “I was exposed very early on to insurance terms and insurance speak over the dinner table,” he says. “My mother was the office manager of my dad’s agency, so my sister and I would sit at the dinner table hearing about all types of claims and other issues at the office.” It wasn’t until Binford graduated from college that he landed his first real insurance position as a commercial property underwriter for Aetna Casualty & Surety.
Over the course of his 38-year career, Binford has witnessed the incredible resiliency of the industry, which has withstood everything from natural catastrophes and terrorist attacks to economic downturns and market changes. “It really is remarkable how our industry just keeps on going through some of the toughest of times,” he says. “It’s pretty cool to be a part of that.”
As for the future of insurance, Binford’s vision is twofold. First, he cautions against the excess capital in the industry that’s driving prices and underwriting appetite. Second, he hopes “we stop trying to turn insurance into a commodity. It’s already happened to a certain extent with some personal lines and small commercial, but there are market disruptors that would like to commoditize all aspects of insurance. Insurance agents and brokers should fight this trend, as they are a valued advisor to their insurance customers.”