I just read an article in Business Week (4/20/09, “One Greenberg’s Pain is Another’s Gain”) about Evan Greenberg, one of the sons of industry titan and former AIG potentate “Hank” Greenberg. Evan is CEO of ACE Insurance Company. What caught my eye was a sentence in the article that states that ACE’s Evan Greenberg still reviews every claim of more than $1 million.
This stopped me in my tracks. I’m not quite sure what to make of this.
On the one hand, it paints a picture of the fully engaged CEO. I’m not sure what kind of claim valuation background, if any, Evan Greenberg possesses. I would imagine that it is extremely rare for an insurance company CEO to exhibit this level of engagement with high ticket claims.
On the other hand, part of me thinks that a CEO is likely under-qualified to make reasoned assessments of claim liability and evaluation. Is this truly the best use of a CEO’s limited time and attention? Can you imagine being the claims adjuster at a mediation 1000 miles away, needing settlement authority above $1 million in having to call back to the Home Office and try to get the CEO of the company on the line?
So there you have the ACE template: the CEO reviews all claims above $1 million.
Is this a best practice or is it a distracting and pointless drain on the time of a chief executive officer who should be more engaged in managing the forest than the individual trees?