Welcome to my view of our AgriSompo business, operations, and people! Read about where I’m going, what we are doing and why, and get to know the people that I meet along the way.
I recently started a few new roles both in the U.S. as COO of AgriSompo North America and as President of AgriSompo International. Stepping into any new role, much less one where you have a learning curve, is always a challenge…luckily, the word “challenge” and I seem to get along. While my international role is new, it is also much the same of what I have experienced in my time at AgriSompo over the past two years: jump in fast with both feet, hit the ground running, meet your team, start the framework for mutual respect, clearly communicate, be transparent, and then repeat!
In January, with the announcement behind us and a mix of prior travel engagements on my calendar, I spent much of my time in virtual team meetings in the Lenexa office and setting up regular one-on-one discussions with each of my new business unit leaders. In addition to meeting my new teams and establishing routines, I also began working with our AgriSompo Accounting and Finance teams, with Suzanne Doerfer taking the lead, to ensure we have a good understanding of the financials and perspective on the health of the international business.
At AgriSompo, our international business is comprised of direct insurance written in Italy, France, Portugal, and Brazil, reinsurance of agriculture business in countries from Canada to China, and parametric coverage. Some of these pillars of business were brought on through acquisition, some through organic growth, and each one is at various stages of integration and operational efficiency. Interestingly, each one also writes business through different regulated companies, in different countries.
Through the merger of companies that came together in recent years to form the AgriSompo business, I have become more aware than ever before of the power of connecting with our teams in person. For the beginning months of AgriSompo in North America we were still faced with travel and meeting restrictions due to COVID-19. Once our teams could meet in person, sit down to talk through issues, share a meal or solve a problem together, I saw first-hand the value of connecting in person to build a team. While video and phone calls have their place, nothing builds trust and makes good connections like gathering together.
With the need to connect in person on my mind, part of our AgriSompo International team (including Drew Remington, Maria Angel, and IT contractor Alex Zelensky) came together in Zurich, Switzerland to meet with each other, and with a partner on parametric coverage.
Parametric is non-traditional coverage that offers pre-determined payouts based upon a weather trigger such as wind speed, lack of or excess rainfall, freeze, temperature, etc. The triggers are connected to various sets of weather data around the world. Through this partner, AgriSompo provides parametric coverage that supports various guarantees on seeds and chemical/inputs. The guarantee varies by product, protecting the grower who purchases the seed/inputs against specific perils such as lack of germination due to adverse, pre-determined weather events. Through this partnership, we write nearly $7 million USD in parametric coverage in 13 countries around the world, including the U.S. Our experience with this coverage has generally been good and in the future, we will focus on a strategy of growth.
The Zurich meeting was a wonderful opportunity for the team to connect in person, to grow the relationship with our partner company, and to work out details of future growth and scalability with our IT system for parametric.
Stay tuned for the next leg of my international trip in an upcoming post!