By MATTHEW BRODSKY, senior editor/Web editor of Risk & Insurance®
Just the day before Risk & Insurance® spoke with Scott Hudson, he attended a client's quarterly stewardship meeting. The meeting began with the client's lead risk manager announcing its goals for 2010 and beyond. To him, that "jumping point" in the meeting said it all about his new organization.
"We want to put ourselves in their shoes," he said about his clients.
In the short time Scott Hudson has been CEO and president of Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., just over a month, he's made a point to speak with many clients.
"I am very pleased and thrilled with what I've heard," he told Risk & Insurance®.
Clients appreciate how the third-party administrator (TPA) is a very strong and stable partner. They value Gallagher Bassett's core qualities: flexibility, customization, responsiveness, great people. And they want to make sure that Hudson knows he's not to change any of that.
"They're telling me make sure these things remain," he said.
No pressure, Scott.
But where you would expect a little weight-of-the-world strain in his voice, a talk with Hudson instead reveals enthusiasm and satisfaction.
After all, he said, he took the job because Gallagher Bassett is a top TPA.
"To be very candid with you, I liked the position I found the organization in when I showed up," he said.
He knows that his job is not to alter a good thing but to continue the Gallagher Bassett focus on being a strong business partner, on "total identification with our clients' goals," he explained.
And he's got his 25 years of experience as a consultant as help. During that time, he's worked at famed firm McKinsey & Co. He's served clients in and out of insurance (his prior position was director of the insurance practice at Chicago-based Bridge Strategy
Group LLC). He's served clients on issues of strategy, operations and technology.
After 25 years in the "client-service business," he learned that "you learn from your clients," he said, explaining what makes him a perfect fit with the Gallagher philosophy.
Thanks to this broad background, he also has the capability to bring new ideas to Gallagher Bassett with the goal of bringing more value to clients. At McKinsey, he explained, he helped design and shape "world-class people development processes."
Anyone who is familiar with the claims business in general knows that the development and training of new and existing professionals is a hot button.
Hudson can also bring another consultant staple to the world of TPAs: knowledge management systems. Considering the number of claims Gallagher Bassett handles across its large client base, Hudson explained, tremendous potential exists for leveraging this experience and expertise for the clients' advantage.
As a consultant, Hudson also had the responsibility of having Gallagher Bassett as a client. So in taking his new position as head of the TPA, he came to a company where he already knew and respected the people, especially the "top-notch" leadership team. Their extensive TPA expertise could complement skills learned from his consulting background, and vice versa.
"It's that set of (consulting) experience that will be valuable to combine with my colleagues' decades in the TPA industry to chart a course for the future," he said.
For one Gallagher leader in particular, his boss, J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., parent company of the TPA,. Hudson reserved words of the strongest appreciation.
Hudson commented on how Pat Gallagher made a "strong commitment" to him to give him the latitude to succeed in his new post, as well as how Pat Gallagher is there to interact with clients and "charge up the troops" at the TPA whenever needed.
"He wants the best for Gallagher Bassett and he wants this organization to be a roaring success," said Hudson. "All signs at this stage of the game are that he and I are going to have a great relationship."
March 5, 2010
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