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UP CLOSE: Krishnan Ethirajan


NEW JOB TITLE: New York- and London-based chief operating officer, Ironshore International, a unit of Ironshore Inc.

PREVIOUS POSITION: New York-based chief operations officer, IronServe Inc., a unit of Ironshore Inc.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Supporting the growth objectives of the company through efficient and scaleable operations.

GOALS FOR NEW POSITION: Building a scalable and expense efficient global platform that will allow Ironshore to be nimble and react quickly to market opportunities that contribute to profitable growth.

ON LEADERSHIP: Lead by example; treat every interaction with colleagues as a learning experience. I like to practice what I preach.

CHALLENGES FACING INDUSTRY: Soft market and interest-rate environment continue to be a challenge. Lack of will to challenge status quo, especially as it relates to antiquated middle- and back-office processes and operating models.

CRYSTAL BALL: New entrants like Ironshore are challenging the status quo and are able to react quickly to market needs with an efficient structure. While there is a major focus on insurtech as a panacea, management should not get caught up in technology buzzwords and thereby throw money at inefficient underlying data and processes. In my view, those insurers that are focusing first on standardizing the global operating model, including legacy bespoke processes and data, and then investing in insurtech solutions are likely to emerge as leaders.

ADVICE: Enjoy what you do, have an open mind toward learning every day from your job; this is an exciting industry to build a career that is professionally rewarding.

FAVORITE QUOTE: “Only the paranoid survive.” — Andy Grove

OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY, A DREAM JOB: Teaching — visual neurophysiology and brain plasticity.

HOBBIES: Running — a wannabe marathon runner.

PETS: My yellow lab, Zoe.

THING MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME: I studied electrical engineering and visual neurophysiology and worked on understanding brain functions in primates. So I spent most of my time in graduate school with my friend Radar — a rhesus monkey!

BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR WORK/LIFE BALANCE: It’s all in our mind. If you enjoy what you do, there is a natural work/life balance.

CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT: A focused effort on mentoring young insurance professionals and creating a work environment that caters to millennial and Gen Y/Z, etc. It would be great if we can build data sciences, analytics and modeling curriculum in schools.

WHEN I RETIRE: Move to New Zealand, sell home-grown produce at a farmer’s market. I like to teach and would get involved in nonprofit work in India.

ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Hammock! Spend time with my daughters and watch “SpongeBob Square Pants.”

MONDAYS: Monday is just an extension of Friday. I get an early start.