Good Leaders Challenge the Status Quo—and Themselves: SCOR’s Conoscente

By | September 23, 2019

Conoscente had joined SCOR 12 years prior, when it was a dramatically different company. Peignet reminded Conoscente it’s best to keep in mind that just because “it’s always been done this way for years,” doesn’t mean it’s the right way.

“Perhaps you should take a fresh look and rethink it,” Peignet told him.

Jean-Paul Conoscente

“It’s important to remember that you don’t have all the answers,” Conoscente asserted. “Even if it’s a problem that you’ve been tackling for the last 10 years, always try to look at it with fresh eyes and make sure you have the best solution. It’s a constant challenge to always challenge yourself.” [See related article titled “Staying Profitable in an Increasingly Fragmented World: SCOR Global P&C CEO“, in which he discusses market trends and what keeps him awake at night.]

Early in your career, it’s easy to think you have a solution for every problem. “It’s only when you get older that you realize the first solution you think of is not always the best one,” he added. “Sometimes it’s worthwhile pondering about the problem a bit longer to see if there’s other solutions that we haven’t thought about, before barging in with the first idea that seemed like the best one. The impetuousness of youth sometimes does us a disservice—but that’s life, isn’t it?”

Conoscente believes in choosing a good team and then delegating. “It’s very difficult for one person to run a company the size of SCOR. You have to build a team around you that you trust and empower them to make decisions without having to refer constantly back to me or to management.”

An American and French citizen, Conoscente started his career in earthquake engineering in California and then in catastrophe modeling as the European head of modeling firm EQECAT. He subsequently held several senior positions with Aon Benfield as a reinsurance broker in London and Paris and then with AXA Re in Paris as the global head of property. In 2008, he became chief underwriting officer for the Americas for SCOR Global P&C in New York and helped transform SCOR’s team and portfolio in the Americas before taking on the role of CEO of SCOR’s P&C U.S. Operations in 2016. He became CEO of Reinsurance globally in April 2019.

This article was first published in the print and online editions of Insurance Journal’s sister publication, Carrier Management.

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