Hartford CEO Channels Timberlake to Put Sexy Back in Insurance

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Chris Swift said the insurance industry is innovating more than people realize, as he looks to draw young and diverse talent to his company.

“Our industry often gets knocked for being stale,” Swift said Thursday at a conference in New York hosted by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation. “To borrow words from the great philosopher, Justin Timberlake, we’re trying to bring sexy back to insurance.”

Swift said his company has been earning patents for technology geared toward cyber security, climate change and the sharing economy. The Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer’s offices have open-model floor plans that millennials love, he said.

About half the industry’s workforce in the U.S. will near retirement age in the next decade. That, paired with normal growth and turnover, stands to create about 500,000 job openings by 2022, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.

Swift isn’t the only executive sensitive to the notion that the industry is dull. Other leaders have also pointed to the dynamism of a product that helps risk-takers throughout the economy.

“There are some who seem to believe insurance is boring,” Evan Greenberg, CEO of Ace Ltd. said in a January conference call discussing earnings. “Well, nothing could be further from the truth. We are a vibrant entrepreneurial growth-related company that participates deeply in the diverse and complex economic and social activities of the world.”

Timberlake, 34, is a performer known for songs such as “SexyBack,” which was one of the most popular in the U.S. in 2006.

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