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David Barnes credits mentors for helping him grow in a profession he enjoys, among them CAC Specialty’s executive chairman, Paul Sparks, who showed him the importance of building lasting relationships with clients. Mr. Barnes joined CAC Specialty when it launched in 2019 and is senior vice president on the transactional liability team and co-head of the team’s contingent and litigation risk solutions team. Prior to joining CAC, he was a vice president at McGriff, Seibels & Williams Inc.
What’s a lasting effect of the pandemic on the way you work?
The world changes quickly and you have to be nimble and flexible and move fast. When the pandemic hit, the mergers and acquisitions universe turned off overnight. We laughingly said we could wait, or we could innovate. We decided to innovate, and our team drafted the first Paycheck Protection Program policy guaranteeing forgiveness of the PPP loan.
What’s a problem that needs fixing in your sector?
We are encouraging clients and carriers to look at the insurance relationship as a long-term partnership. I’m not sure it’s a problem, but it’s something we think our sector could benefit from.
What should the industry do to attract more young people to work in it?
We want to emphasize to professionals coming out of business schools, law schools and others that insurance is a creative, fun, challenging and professional environment. I bet that at the top 50 law schools, very few people will leave and go to an insurance brokerage firm or an underwriter. In our view, they should.
What is something about you that would surprise people?
For a significant portion of my life, I thought I was going to be a rock star.
“Hello in There” by John Prine.