For the latest segment of our Meet Our People series, we caught up with the National Product Manager on our Commercial Insurance team, Jessica Hale.
We’re continuing to develop our commercial underwriting expertise by adding talented people with a wealth of commercial experience like Hale, who will celebrate her one-year anniversary at Gore Mutual in a few weeks time. She spoke with us about modernizing our product offerings, Gore Mutual’s award-winning workplace culture and the value of leading through your actions.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional experience before coming to Gore Mutual?
I’ve been working in the insurance industry since 2002. I’ve worked in both Personal and Commercial Lines in different capacities, however most of that time was spent managing various Commercial teams across Ontario. My previous role before joining Gore Mutual was focused on product design, appetite modernization as well as the customer and broker experience.
What attracted you to the insurance industry?
Like many people I ended up in the industry as a fluke. After working as a bartender for a few years in my early 20s, I decided to go back to school. I enrolled at Sheridan College and took a program in Risk Management. After graduation, I walked into an office building close to where I lived and dropped off a resume at the reception desk not knowing what the company was. Turns out that it was The Dominion of Canada, they just so happened to be looking for a Personal Lines Underwriter Trainee and so began my career in insurance.
The reason I’ve stayed in this industry for so many years is because it provides limitless potential for personal and professional growth. You can apply so many different disciplines to such a wide variety of career paths. And in an industry that is rapidly evolving as a result of things such as the global impact of climate change, the technological revolution and the emergence of AI, you’re constantly being challenged and discovering your potential in ways you may not have realized was possible.
What are some things you love about working at Gore Mutual?
Before coming to Gore Mutual I had heard so many good things about the workplace culture. During one of my interviews, I asked if they could describe the culture to me and I was surprised that it seemed to be a difficult question to answer. I now know why. The culture here isn’t something that you can easily sum up with words. It’s a visceral experience as soon as you arrive on campus and engage with the people here. The investment Gore Mutual makes in continually strengthening the employee experience is evident through so many things from the beautiful campus grounds to the modernization of all workspaces to the numeous programs and activities offered. But beyond that, it’s great to see all of the strategic decisions that are being made to ensure the company’s longevity and prosperity so that this culture can continue to thrive.
What do you want brokers to know about our Commercial Lines offerings?
We’re “Changing Insurance for Good” isn’t just a fancy tag line. We’re a solution-oriented team that is focused on doing the right thing. We value the partnerships we have with brokers, and we listen to their feedback. We want to support Canadian business owners, so we’re working on modernizing our offerings to fit the evolving needs of our customers. We want to make it easier to do business with us, so we’re implementing technology-based solutions and leveraging automation to make our products easily accessible through a variety of channels.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been very fortunate to have been given so much valuable advice throughout my career. Something that keeps crossing my mind lately is, “A great leader leads though their actions, not their title”. This can be applied in two ways. Throughout your development journey, you can lead from the middle by making a positive impact on both the place and the people. But as you reach certain milestones in your career, it’s important to remain humble and remind yourself that a label does not entitle you to call yourself a leader. One of the characteristics I’ve observed in great leaders I’ve encountered and have tried to emulate is that they lead from the front rather than push from behind. It’s through your actions and how you treat those around you that you demonstrate your value as leader.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I recently took up kickboxing, I’m extremely competitive at playing the game Catch Phrase – to the point where people won’t play with me – and I can tap dance.