XL’s Patrick Tannock: “Make A Difference”

October 2, 2012

In this economy it doesn’t matter if you can trace your ancestry to Dame Lois Browne Evans, Sir George Somers or the first president of the United States – no one is going to give you a job or advance your career unless you have the appropriate education and skill sets.

This was one of many messages that XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd’s President and XL Managing Director Patrick Tannock delivered during the Bermuda Insurance Institute’s Annual Education Awards Luncheon held on September 26 at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

Speaking to a crowd of insurance industry professionals, including new recipients of more than 150 certificates of various industry designations, Mr. Tannock identified some of the issues facing the island and international business in particular.

“The notion that Bermuda is another world has been obliterated as Bermuda is very much part of the global village and the challenges that we are experiencing are not unique to Bermuda but are being faced all over the world,” he said, noting that for the first time in a while there are questions about Bermuda’s relevance in the global marketplace and its value proposition as a jurisdiction.

He commented that the old dynamics that determined market cycles continue to evolve and those simply waiting for a market change will eventually be challenged for relevancy. The drive to ensure that our infra-structure is internationally cost competitive is relentless and the impact on human capital continues to be felt by all of us.

“Make no mistake about it,” Mr. Tannock continued, “These are unprecedented times, and Bermuda is feeling the impact of the worst global recession in living memory. But as tough as it is today, I am absolutely confident that we will get through this! I believe in the resiliency of Bermuda and I believe in our collective ability – both Bermudians and non Bermudians – to rise to the challenge.”

He noted that it is in Bermuda’s DNA to successfully respond to change – citing the creation of companies such as ACE and XL in response to the U.S. liability crisis in the mid eighties; the growth of Bermuda reinsurance market after Hurricane Andrew and other storms that battered the U.S. in the nineties; and the Bermuda (re)insurance market’s nimble approach to subsequent storms, 9/11 and the financial crisis.

But he warned that there has been a paradigm shift in the rate of change and that business models must become more efficient, and, that collective behavior must change to reflect the realities of a world that is flat, and, that the island cannot afford to be complacent.

He also pointed out that Bermuda must focus on providing value for service, and continue to tap into some of the “best and brightest intellectual capital on the planet within these 24 square miles” to find solutions to offer differentiated and enhanced products and new ways to address risk in real time to ensure relevance in the global market.

“Bermuda is a service economy,” he pointed out. “We don’t make anything. Our products are service and intellectual capital. We must not confuse bricks and mortar with sustainability. Capital, both intellectual and financial, is increasingly more sophisticated, opportunistic and fluid. Capital will always go where it is well treated and can secure the best return.

“In international business you will always have internationals, some of whom have made significant contributions to Bermuda’s success. I believe that an infusion of fresh intellectual capital is healthy and increases prospects for innovation, which has been one of the hallmarks of Bermuda’s success.”

Bermuda must ensure that it utilizes its competitive advantage of speed to market to provide real time solutions to the opportunities that come from change by ensuring we can easily attract fresh intellectual capital while continuing our commitment to retain and develop our current intellectual capital to ensure a win/win to drive innovation throughout the cycles.

Stressing that service should not be confused with servitude, Mr. Tannock: “This is not about kissing up. It’s about economics and choices. In a world that is increasingly flat, our customers, be they clients or tourists, all have choices.

“Collectively we must all act with a heightened sense of urgency to provide value for service and continue to evolve and innovate! We must become more user friendly, friction free and solution oriented. It doesn’t matter if you are blue collar or white collar, if you are in the executive suite or on the floor. It’s irrelevant. We must give value for service.”

Mr. Tannock also urged the award recipients to make a lifelong commitment to learning in order to increase their chances for success in international business.

“Take advantage of training and development opportunities, hard and soft, tangible and intangible to stay ahead of the curve,” he said. “Every day you should be looking to increase your intellectual net worth.”

Providing advice on the importance of networking and taking personal responsibility for their own success, the veteran insurance executive told the award recipients: “Don’t expect to have the red carpet rolled out for you or to be given handouts and remember that what got you there won’t necessarily keep you there or guarantee your upward mobility.”

“Companies today are looking for highly educated, highly skilled men and women of all ethnic backgrounds to participate in a highly competitive global marketplace,” Mr. Tannock said.

“If you get the opportunity to get off the island, seize it! Challenge yourself to pursue opportunities in New York, London, Singapore, Chicago, and wherever there is a major financial center. I did it! It’s a great opportunity to promote Bermuda Inc. Working as an Ambassador for Bermuda Inc. adds value to the marketplace and those around you.”

Mr. Tannock also reminded the recipients not to forget those who played a critical role in helping them to achieve their educational success and to do their part in giving of their time by sharing their knowledge and skills to help others in the community.

He concluded his remarks by challenging them to strive for “mastery” of their skills. “I strongly encourage you to strive, not just for competence as that is expected; not just for excellence, even though it is noble; but for mastery,” he said, “where you acquire the skill sets that allow you to do your craft better than anyone else.

“Remember that most people are born different but die as clones. Make a difference! Make an impact! We are all counting on you to reach your potential to ensure that the Bermuda Inc. bus remains relevant and on track! I believe in you and I believe in Bermuda,” concluded Mr Tannock.

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Comments (27)

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  1. Kathy says:

    Why don’t people like Patrick Tannock run for Premier??? Please???

    • OBA (Only Brings Austerity) says:

      Because he’s smart!

    • Hmmmmm says:

      People like Mr. Tannock do not run for any political office because people like the vicious trolls online here and elsewhere and others in other forums immediately trash them, their reputations and their whole being just because they choose a side. And we muddle through with this second rate batch of politicians who are a reflection of our the nastiness that inhabits our country. Until we eliminate the politics of personal destruction the best and brighteset will never get involved. We get the politicians we so richly deserve.

    • george courtney says:

      know pat as a person friend of mind for about 40 years, he is a bit to smart for that even though he would make a hell of a good one

  2. Kim Smith says:

    This is why Mr. Tannock has achieved all that he has in his life! Thank you for your clear and inspirational message.

    You set the bar at just the right height… reachable but only with that all-important s-t-r-e-t-c-h.

  3. Bullseye says:

    Great piece. I love the finish.

    And to answer Kathy – the best politician you could find would be the reluctant one.

  4. Deborah Tannock says:

    Patrick Tannock is absolutely awesome! What a message at such a critical time.
    Kudos to him, his family and supporters.

  5. Kim Smith says:

    If a politician doesn’t have his/her own PERSONAL power (their own sense of self and source of money) they will seek it from the power of the position and they will more easily fall prey to special interest.

    Mr. Tannock is exactly the type of person we need playing a role in the running of the country… the difference in the state of our nation would be startling!

  6. Serious Though says:

    If all politician and Bermudians can read this 1000 times

    “These are unprecedented times, and Bermuda is feeling the impact of the worst global recession in living memory. But as tough as it is today, I am absolutely confident that we will get through this! I believe in the resiliency of Bermuda and I believe in our collective ability – both Bermudians and non Bermudians – to rise to the challenge.”

    …..we can start building this country economy again…

    • Black Bermy in IB says:

      It’s not just about the politicians reading this very important, crucial messages. It is also important that the masses read it and digest it.

      Enough with the OBA vs. PLP. Enough with the blame game. Enough with playing the race card. etc. Politics is getting in the way of real progress in this country. We, as the people of this country, need to tell our politicians from both sides of the aisle that we’re done with their bickering and nothing short of a solution-oriented dialogue will be tolerated.

      • Kim Smith says:

        Bravo Black Bermy in IB! We do have the final say as to who is given the job to run the country and the sooner we assume that responsibility, the better.

      • Verbal Kint says:

        I agree whole-heartedly. Real transparency has got to be part of that equation, no matter who is in the driver’s seat.

  7. Vote for Me says:

    Mr. Tannock brings a unique perspective to what is required to be successful in the business realm. He is a master at his craft and has been there for a long time and reached a very senior level – he is one of the most senior Bermudians in the international sector.

    From a political perspective, how many would support him if he ran as a candidate for the PLP? OBA? UBP? Independent? Based on past roll outs, his character would be assassinated no matter which party he chose to run for. That is precisely the problem for successful people in choosing to run for political office. They are immediately demonised. thinks of how many Bermudians would run for office if they were free to choose which party to run for?

    On another note, success in business is not necessarily a precursor for success in the political realm. The most basic reason is the human factor. In business, humans are mere PARTS of the puzzle. In politics, people ARE the puzzle. Therefore in the current economic climate the business solution is redundancies and firing. The political solution is to increase social programs and support employees even when it is more economical to fire them.

    Mr. Tannock also speaks about being a master craftsman and we have to give credit to some of our current master politicains. They are doing an excellent job in weathering the criticism of all and sundry during a very difficult Bermuda and International economic crisis.

    In summary, there is a long list of successful Bermudians and Non Bermudians in all sectors of Bermuda’s society. I trust that in the near future we will realise that Bermuda is too important to be treated as a political football – as is oft said, we will either sink or swim together – therefore we require all hands on deck at this critical juncture of our economic development.

  8. Winnie Dread says:

    Well said brother, well said I will just highlight a couple ” In a world that is increasingly falt, our customers, be they clients or tourists, all have CHOICES. He commented that the old dynamics that determine market cycles continue to evolve and thoes simply WAITING for a market change will eventually be challenged for relevancy. This sums it up best,our elected leaders are trying to buy time WAITING for things to get better, WAITING for the wheels to come around once more, never taking into consideration that things and time changes. However over the years things have EVOLVED and some of it is by our own doing. Therefore in order to move BERMUDA forward WE have to take drastic steps and make the necessary CHANGES, if not awww well. Thanks for this piece Bernews hope our elected leaders take time out to read this, I know some of them were sitting there but, were they actually listening.

  9. ABM says:

    In some ways this article reflects that of what a certain minister was trying to say when he mentioned the fact that certain bloggers need to take care of what they say via online. It also reminds me of before Primier Cox was the Premier. How many people actually said that then Paula Cox should run for the Premiership as based off of her successful resume with Ace she would do the best job ever concerning finance and now the Premiership due to her international experience. As one poster said above, once you get involved into politics no matter the side you choose your character and overall persona will take on a brutal assasination. However, the strong willed ones will continue to press on dispite what any critics say or do.
    Note to all the critics, if you think you know so much about economics and how to run this country, then why are you not running for office? Why do you criticise on a subject that you know very little of and try and use your opinions as facts? Point is, take care of what you say and do when concerning something such as politics, because you have never walked in any of the oposition or ruling parties shoes.

  10. 50cent says:

    We had brilliant politicians. Sir John Swan, Sir David Gibbons,Julian Hall, Dr. Ewart Brown, Lois Browne-Evans. Just to name a few.

  11. Theresa Tannock says:

    Why are you all trying to politicize this speech? If he wanted to run for political office he would have done it by now. He is however influencing the lives of many young Bermudians, a feat all in in itself. I am quite proud of him and how he does NOT forget where he came from and of the struggle he made to get to where he is. He feels no shame in helping a young person by words or actions. He is someone to be admired and someone to strive after. He basically says set your goals in the sky, the worst you can do is fall amongst the stars. Do not pick political bones out of this speech but do take his words and use them for your benefit, hear his suggestions and apply them to your lives. Everything that he said is positive and of benefit to someone. Use it!!

  12. welldone says:

    I have to go back to an earlier comment above. Before Paula Cox became Premier, everyone’s focus was on hating Dr Brown. They even called for her to oust him. I remember seeing placards saying “Brown Out, Cox In” and “Cox for Premier”. Let me remind you that this was in 2009, when we had accumulated debt and when projects had cited overruns. Premier Cox takes over in 2010 and all of a sudden like the flick of a switch becomes the target of character assassination and horrible political comments.

    I say this to say, there is a segment that invariably will hate whoever the PLP puts as the leader.

    For those of you that wish Mr Tannock would run for office must know that if he chose to run he would immediately be villified by a certain demographic and everything positive written about him would be a distant memory.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Uh… I reckon you should be speaking for yourself… you don’t know what other people would do… I’m guessing this was just an attempt to cause some bad feelings!

  13. Petra says:

    Wow – what a role model and a brilliant man. I almost applauded at the end of that!! Excellent.

  14. Your Boy DJ Cavon says:

    Bermuda needs some like you Patrick..Hey we go way back, and I have seen all you have acheived. Very positive & well said.

    Forget about all those political comments Pat, just keep doing what you are doing.

    You have never forgotten where you came from Bro ! Stay Black Man


  15. Rev. Amanda Kelley says:

    Well done, Patrick, keep up the good work. Trust at some point you are able to share this with students at Bermuda College.

  16. Da plumber says:

    Good speech bro keep up the good work

  17. Excellent comments Pat. You are an inspiration to us all.

  18. Pebblebeach says:

    Heard it all before, nothing new, simply repackaged..good none the less..

  19. Sweetgirl says:

    Well said Patrick, much praise to you !! Keep pushing on and upward. Well done !!

  20. Guilden M. Gilbert, Jr. says:

    Very well said Patrick.

    Most will not know but Patrick is who brought me into the insurance industry. I was going through an interview process at XL with some 20 candidates and I reached out to Patrick for advice. He provided me with information for research purposes and when I called him a few days with a multitude of questions on the information he gave me his respondents, after answering those questions was, “If you are not successful in landing the position at XL I will do all I can to ensure you have an opportunity in this industry. I have given information to many people and you are the first to evidence you have read it and tried to digest it. You have shown your willingness and desire to learn.”

    The interview process was whittle down to two of us and ultimately I did not get the job, when I advised Patrick, who had very much become a mentor to me he reiterate his desire to see me in the industry. A fe months later he called me with a job offer at Marsh to work under him, I accepted without a second thought.

    I will never forget what Patrick did for me and I will forever be grateful to him for taking me under his wing and teaching me the industry. Patrick has received many accolades and I can tell you he deserves every single one of them and I can tell you that I am not the only one he helped to guide.

    I can never repay Patrick for what he can do for me.