What makes a good leader? For Chris, it’s curiosity, humility and the ability to listen, supported by decisiveness and an abundance of energy.
You don’t learn these traits in business school. You learn them from life experiences, or if you are lucky, from role models.
His mother, a teacher, had incredible stoicism, a solid set of values and a strong work ethic which she passed on to him. Born in Jerusalem, she had lived in Kenya before she met Chris’s father. The exposure to contrasting cultures and social structures made her unusually grounded and instilled in her a zest for life which Chris has inherited.
That realistic outlook hasn’t blunted his ability to envision a better future, however. His eyes sparkle when he talks about how insurance can improve lives. Chris recalls meeting a Korean cancer patient who had bought a ‘critical illness policy’ from his former employer. He witnessed first-hand how being able to afford treatment makes a world of difference to patients and loved ones who struggle to keep their hopes alive.
Another dramatic experience was seeing the comfort that insurance brought to the Thai communities devastated by the 2006 tsunami and the sense of relief that his company’s involvement in the reconstruction efforts gave to the victims. A financial inclusion project in the slums of Delhi in India demonstrated how insurers can reach beyond their contractual obligations and make a difference to disadvantaged communities. Chris firmly believes in the value that insurance contributes to society and how this is often overlooked and undervalued.