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Talent Retention

Marsh Canada President and CEO, Alan Garner, reveals the best practices that make the company stand out from the competition

One of the leading brokerages in Canada, Marsh Canada Limited has a sophisticated client base, with a significant majority of the risk management business in the country. The company has roots going back to 1914 when insurance brokers Henry R. Marsh and Donald R. McLennan were awarded the Canadian Pacific Railway’s fire insurance account, requiring them to set up shop in Montreal, Que.

Alan Garner President and CEO of Marsh Canada

Today, the company, which employs over 1,100 people from coast to coast, is split into 12 industry vertical groups along with several risk specialty practices, including aviation, environmental, political risk, warranty, and surety. Specializing in each area allows Marsh Canada to better serve its clients, and truly is the key to its success, says Alan Garner, president and CEO of Marsh Canada.

“With regards to the revenue that clients pay insurance brokers, we don’t believe they pay that to expect generalist responses to issues. They expect to get very specific advice in industry sectors and language, but also in terms of specialty areas.”

Specialized Service

The company has a large client base in the risk management discipline, and one of its goals is to improve its advisory capabilities for these sophisticated clients. Many clients want to get involved in products such as enterprise risk management, business continuity, and privacy risks (e.g. network security).

Garner adds that areas such as risk engineering and claims advocacy are specific skill sets he believes clients and prospective clients are focused on.

“The investment we’ve made in the specifics of industry and specialty products is standing out substantially from our competitors and winning us business,” he says.

One example is the launch of Marsh Market Information (MMI). This enables clients worldwide to monitor the financial conditions of their insurance companies by providing instant and detailed access. MMI is available via secure web portal, and combines ratings from AM Best, S&P, and Moody’s, as well as insurer and group financial data, stock charts, credit default swap spreads, news feeds and financial analysis from Marsh’s executives.

Top Talent

One reason the company is experiencing growth and new business is through the acquisition of great talent, according to Garner. However, this is still an ongoing challenge. As baby boomers retire and make way for Gen X and Y, hiring and retaining talented employees has become a key issue.

Marsh deals with this by scouting talent at colleges and universities.

“We stand out because we are attracting a substantial amount of new, high-profile talent as a result of the investments we’re making in training young up-and-comers,” says Garner.

Marsh recently launched a global learning community, Marsh University, offering colleagues content on career development, sales and office tips, practice specialties, geographies and many other subjects. Currently, there are over 100 teachers offering specialized courses for Marsh employees.

“I think, overall, our employees are proud to work on the types of accounts they work on,” adds Garner.

Marsh 3D

The company’s newest initiative is Marsh 3D (Define, Design, Deliver), a program aimed to boost client return on investment (ROI).

Marsh and its clients use analytical tools to develop and execute a three-year process that addresses key risks within the company. The mitigation strategies are company-specific, as determined by geographic footprint, size and scope of operations, and complexity of risk profile. ROI is tracked on a quarterly basis through client dashboards.

“We work through a client’s full risk profile in terms of the issues in the company, such as operational and financial. Next, we determine and analyze what risk managers in the company are being pressured to consider. Then, we work with the risk manager to remediate the key risk items, for example, by insurance,” explains Garner.

Marsh Canada employees are already being trained to utilize this strategy, and the company is in the process of implementing it nationwide. According to Garner, Marsh Canada has already acquired three new prospective clients thanks to Marsh 3D.


© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the September 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

Transcontinental Media G.P.