Kevin Rehnberg, Argo Group

Kevin Rehnberg

Adaptation & Culture

Editors’ Note

Kevin Rehnberg oversees all activities of Argo Group’s U.S.-based business segments. Before joining the company in 2013, he served as Executive Vice President for specialty lines at OneBeacon Insurance, where he oversaw specialty underwriting operations and acquired and built new lines of specialty business. Rehnberg held similar senior executive positions at The St. Paul Travelers Companies, Liberty International, and Chubb Corporation. More recently, he served as CEO of Consultants in Laboratory Medicine of Greater Toledo Inc. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University.

What kind of authority do you give the members of your team?

It’s no use giving people responsibility without the authority to exercise it. I hire people who are technically competent. At Argo, we also want people who have the courage to do the right thing. We give those people a lot of room. I say, “You’re in this job, so go ahead and do it. Just tell me about problems before I hear about them elsewhere. Call me the moment you need help.” That approach gives people the freedom to go out and apply their trade. They can learn from mistakes and know they’ll get the support they need.

How does Argo’s brand impact your ability to recruit?

Our brand has gotten stronger over time, so we now attract stronger players in the industry. Those people came in to make a difference. We’re now on the next wave, where top industry performers are saying, “Argo is successful, well regarded, and something I want to be a part of.” Through the strength of our brand, we’ve been able to increase the level and quality of the kind of people we attract. Our performance reflects that.

In an industry that competes so much on price, what difference can a brand really make?

People tend to do business with people they like. Our service is spectacular, better than most of the competition, so people feel taken care of by us. They like us because we value the relationships we have with them. We show our producers how they’re growing, how profitable each product line with us is, where they are by region, where they stand versus their competitors and, most important, how they can grow fastest. That means a great deal to them. There’s far more to business than just price.

Is that the reason for your growth?

It’s one of many. We’ve been growing the core of our business at strong double-digit numbers for years. In the past, overall performance on paper may not have reflected that growth because we’ve been deliberately exiting unprofitable lines and partnerships over time. We’re now much closer to running the lean, profitable business we want, so our growth is now more consistently visible. For Argo in the U.S., growth isn’t a change. It’s the track we’ve been on.

Which aspects of Argo’s culture stand out to you?

Argo is really strong on personal and professional development. When you get used to assessing your own strengths honestly, you get much better at figuring out what has to be improved and how to do that. Also, you learn to look for people who are better than you in areas you find challenging. This focus on development has a pretty obvious logic. Today, innovation is the key to sustained growth and success. You can’t innovate if you’re not learning new things. We’re all adapting, and that willingness to adapt is more and more at the very heart of our culture.