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Argo: The War for Talent Requires Companies to Offer Flexibility

Companies should focus on their employees, especially in the wake of the pandemic, said Gary Grose, president, Commercial Specialty, Argo Group, at Joint Industry Forum in New York.


Q: What have we learned from the pandemic?

A: The first thing we have to learn is the effect it's had on our people. And first and foremost is continuing to keep a prioritization on that. It is still a relationship business, and we need to focus on our employees, because the transactions don't happen without their expertise and help.

The second priority is capital is available to the profitable underwriters, but for the areas that the business has paid a price over the past few years, capital is getting much tighter — which was needed. But we're finally seeing those steps start to come in.

Q: And where are you seeing growth opportunities today?

A: We are seeing some primary growth opportunities in the areas that Kevin Rehnberg, our CEO has been talking about since our investor day in March. That's our casualty business, our financial lines business, our Argo Pro, our construction business, and a few others like environmental, marine or surety business. Those are all areas or program business that we intend to grow on and build on the success that they've already had. And we're looking, we're looking at other areas that we may invest in and grow to keep pace with the market.

Q: What are you doing about the war for talent?

A: Yeah, it's the war for talent. I think that's a great way to say it. We've really focused on a few areas in that realm. Some of them are basic building blocks, like you need to reconfigure your salary and comp levels to make sure that they're at market market levels. You need to make sure that you are spending time with folks to make sure that their working environment is something that will draw a lot of them. So flexible work, and what they want to do as far as how often in the office and not and have flexibility around that. The last part I think a lot of people still miss you need to dig in harder around your succession planning as a group. And we're working with each one of our business unit leaders so that they're ready in case key people depart. As well as how we keep key people moving forward.

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