CLM Voices: Getting to Know Michael Chang
Chang serves as co-leader, global insurance, for Sompo International, and CEO for Sompo Global Risk Solutions.
By Eric Gilkey
With over 20 years of experience in the P&C industry, Chang has a track record of building and leading strong, client-focused underwriting operations (with a specialty in real estate, hospitality, and financial institutions) that puts a focus on talent and diversity, a topic he will discuss at this month’s CLM Annual Conference.
Success Before Sompo
After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Chang worked as financial analyst for a large retailer before moving to Chubb as a surety underwriter. He spent the next 19 years moving up the ranks, ultimately building and leading Chubb’s real estate and hospitality business as division president. By the time he left in 2016, he grew the real-estate unit from a five-person startup to a $500+ million operation with over 100 employees.
No More Silos
“Everybody should be in the same boat rowing together.” -Chang, explaining Sompo Global Risk Solutions’ integrated industry vertical model, in which claims, risk control, underwriting, actuarial, operations, and product development all work together instead of in separate silos.
The Right Fit
Chang’s unique approach to organization extends to claims, too. For instance, he says 98 percent of his real estate unit’s general liability adjusters were previously practicing attorneys. Why? Because so much of real estate comes down to contractual liability, who better to work through a contract than people who previously did it for a living?
“I credit the support and direction that I received early on in my career as one of the foundations to my own success.” -Chang, explaining that he believes mentoring goes beyond transferring a skillset; it builds confidence and can drive both personal and professional growth.
Finding Fresh Blood
“A lot of insurers are just going after risk management majors. We’re going broader than that.” -Chang, explaining that the changing landscape of insurance means he’s recruiting adaptable business and liberal arts majors.
Diversity of Talent
When it comes to his legacy in the business, Chang is clear: He wants to be the driving force that helps more women and people of color come into senior leadership positions. He says that the industry has to change and be more reflective of the world in which it operates. Doing so also means having a diversity of thought, which ultimately leads to better business results.
Priorities Outside Work
“The most important thing is family. Everything I do is for my wife and three kids aged 7, 4, and 19 months. When I go home, it’s all about them.”