Agent Spotlight: Amanda J. Keaveney, HUB International New England, LLC
Amanda J. Keaveney
Executive Vice President
President, Commercial Lines
HUB International New England, LLC, Wilmington, MA
Amanda Keaveney jumped into the insurance industry straight from college – 10 days after graduating from the University of New Hampshire – and her dedication and drive to succeed has powered her to her current role as Executive Vice President and President of Commercial Lines for HUB International New England. Her leadership style values reflection and transparency, and she has a clear vision for the future – both for herself and for the industry.
What is your background in insurance/what has been your career path? I started my insurance career right out of college working as a casualty broker for a boutique wholesaler in Boston that focused primarily on Excess and Umbrella. It was a very soft market and I was not challenged, so I joined Marsh, where I spent the first five years as an Account Manager in Middle Market, handling multiline for various industries, and then two years as a Complex Property broker, working on program design and build for global and domestic clients. In 2005, I took a leap and joined an ex-Marsh colleague who had started his own agency specializing in healthcare risks – physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, health systems, etc. There I focused on traditional P&C lines and learned medical malpractice and other specialty lines (management liability, cyber, pollution), which really broadened my skillset. I managed accounts, lead marketing efforts and, along with seven other colleagues helped him build that agency to $2.5M in revenue. The agency was ultimately sold to HUB New England in 2010. I continued my Account Executive and marketing responsibilities in the healthcare division until I was approached to become Chief Marketing Officer for the entire HUB New England Region in 2014, leading carrier strategies and relationships plus oversight of our centralized marketing/placemen teams. From there, I was promoted to lead of all Commercial Lines in early 2020, which extended my responsibilities to service team operations and commercial lines revenue retention. For context, HUB New England’s Commercial Lines revenue is expected to be close to $100M by year-end 2023.
How did you get into the industry, who mentored you? I studied business and marketing in college, and going into my senior year, my goal was to have a job, in Boston, lined up in time for graduation. I attended a job fair at college (UNH) and met a woman who was the head of HR for an insurance broker in Boston. We hit it off, I interviewed and received my job offer in March of my senior year. I started 10 days after graduating. As a newbie, the people I worked with and for had a lot of patience and took the time to teach me the fundamentals of insurance and expose me to the importance of relationship building. And when I wasn’t feeling challenged by year 3, it was my boss, Ron, who knew I was questioning whether insurance was for me. He called his best friend over at Marsh and got me an interview. I am grateful to Ron for not being selfish and holding me back from growing my career.
What are common misconceptions about the industry/as a career that you don’t agree with? That it must be boring. It’s such a dynamic industry with so many facets within the industry itself – sales, marketing, service, claims, risk management, industry specialization, program design based on size, complexity, etc.
Where do you see the industry in 10-20 years? From an intellectual capital perspective, I feel more energized than ever about what the future holds for the industry. I have seen an uptick of early in career people coming into the industry, who are engaged and eager to learn and make an impact. Assuming we keep them engaged, I envision customer will be well served with knowledge, expertise and trusted business advice. In terms of distribution, we will not see a slow-down of having to be omni-channel – meeting customers where they want to be met – in person, digitally, self-service, offering data and analytics to support decision making. Carriers and brokers will need to be aligned more than ever, in personal lines and small business to bring collective value and stave off disruption from direct writers. As you go up market, industry specialization and value-added services (risk services, data/analytics, streamlined process) will be table stakes as our larger customers become more sophisticated and demand more in exchange for commissions and fees we earn. And then there will be the impact of AI to assist us in decision making for all of the above…
What are your goals for the agency? My goal is to build a culture of service centricity and technical excellence to ensure we are providing value, consult, and advice to our customers. That starts with making sure our teams are being trained, developed and supported, and that we service smart through creating operational efficiencies to ensure our teams can focus on higher-level work. If you get this right, the organic growth, the retention, and new business numbers will follow suit.
What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned, and how is it valuable to you today? As a leader, I think it is important to take time to reflect on past accomplishments as a stepping-stone to the important work that lies ahead. When you are always looking ahead to make an impact, future goals can be intimidating and can seem slow-going. Reflecting on past progress allows you to carry with you that going the distance pays off. Also, as a leader, it’s OK to not have all the answers and even admit it, as it opens the door for solutions and gives others the opportunity to fill in the gaps.
What is the most used tool/resource that has made you the most successful? A strong HR department as a resource has been most useful. I am not talking just Employee Relations (ER) issues, but I am talking organization design, change management, communication plans. We are a people business, and you need to make sure you get the people part right.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast for fun and/or for self-improvement? For self-improvement/career, I am a big fan of the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. It essentially supports that building strong personal relationships with your team allows you to challenge them directly and honestly more readily, even when the message is a difficult one.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t in insurance? This is such a good question. I love kids and animals, so in retrospect, I would have studied to be a pediatric nurse or a veterinarian.
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