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Succession for Success
TD Magazine

Succession for Success

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2023 BEST Award winners.

It's all about leadership for these two BEST-Award-winning companies. They're building a pipeline for the future and creating succession plans that enable the organizations to adapt to the increasingly dynamic environment of the insurance industry.


For ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, a Best of the BEST winner (earning a BEST Award 10-plus times), it analyzed managerial and leadership bench strength to determine how to craft a program that would ensure the company could keep its market-leading place in India and prepare for accelerated growth.

The talent team crafted a three-pronged certification journey that focuses on industry, functional, and behavioral contexts that are aligned to ICICI's needs. Coaching skills (for managers and leaders) are a critical element of the journey. Comprehensive assessments measure leadership potential, frameworks are built on capabilities, and skill labs provide environments to learn and practice core leadership behaviors.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is the global corporate insurance carrier of Allianz Group, which is based out of Germany and operates in more than 30 countries. It launched a company-wide leadership development initiative for all people leaders around the world, regardless of level, experience, or location. The program aims to set a minimum standard with an equal focus on hard and soft skills.

AGCS's aging workforce and the Great Resignation of 2021 have hit the company hard. To combat those risks, it assembled new "talent pools" focused on filling critical business roles up, down, and across the organization. AGCS has leveraged the pools to create new career development and retention initiatives with the goal of engaging, retaining, and accelerating the development of business-critical talent. The company also invested heavily in early-career programs to support development of the next generation of insurance professionals and build a pipeline of future business leaders.

Learning in the organization is like a democracy: for the people, of the people, and by the people. ICICI promotes a "leaders building leaders" philosophy in which senior leadership, the talent function, and select subject matter experts of respective business units co-own the learning agenda. A learning council of 187 managers and leaders are role models for L&D, contributing to internal knowledge networks that support a dynamic and on-demand learning ecosystem for all employees.


A key to success in both organizations is the role leaders play in shaping future leaders. At AGCS, an internal mentoring pool includes more than 40 senior leaders who are committed to sharing their expertise and time with others. Leaders also encourage the talent function to take risks and try new things. "Continuous learning is in our DNA, with 'personal growth' as one of the core components of our company's cultural profile," states Joachim Mueller, CEO of AGCS. "Our ultimate goal is to provide our employees with cutting-edge tools, resources, and free time to focus on their development and achieve their career goals."

ICICI's senior leaders, including the managing director/CEO, act as learning sponsors for all the major learning initiatives and dialogue closely to build alignment with business priorities. They also each commit more than 25 hours annually to coaching and training.

About the Author

Kristen Fyfe-Mills is the director of employee development and engagement at Farmer Focus, an innovative organization with the fastest-growing poultry brand in the US. In her role, she supports nearly 900 team members, from front-line hourly associates to the executive team. Before joining Farmer Focus, Kristen served in many roles at the Association for Talent Development, culminating in her position as director of marketing and strategic communications.

Kristen holds two master’s degrees, one in pastoral and spiritual care from Marymount University and the other in journalism from Northwestern University. She serves on the advisory board for Shenandoah University’s Transformative Leadership program. She is the mom of two exceptional humans, and she and her husband Doug live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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