So you remember how a few weeks back insurance giant ACE announced that it will acquire fellow insurance giant Chubb for about $28.3 billion?
It is literally and figuratively a very big deal in the insurance sector, and seismic shifts like this one can be scary for people, especially Chubb employees. Luckily their new boss Evan Greenberg held a little town hall/webcast on Monday to chat a bit, quell so,e fears and let everyone know that everything is going to be okay.
According to the SEC transcript of the town hall, things got off to a pretty nice start with Greenberg telling his new minions stuff like this:
Moments like this create tremendous uncertainty. They make people uneasy, and the one promise I can give you is to the extent I am in control of it, we will make decisions rapidly and that we’ll communicate and provide answers and clarity as we know it and as we’re allowed to provide it. That I promise you, and by the way, as you can imagine, just like all of you are standing here or listening on the phones, I’ve done this with my ACE colleagues. They all have the same questions, the same concerns, the same feelings. Guess what? Whether you’re Chubb or you’re ACE, you’re a human being and you’re all similar that way.
See, we're all humans. Even if your name is Greenberg and you come from one of the most hard-ass financial dynasties in the world.
But it wasn't all hugs and puppies. Greenberg was honest that things might get a little rough in the near future.
The integration is not going to be easy. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m not going to insult people by saying that, but the one thing I said to you twice already, and I’m going to say again, this is about growth.
But despite all the bluster and power, Evan Greenberg just a guy. To underscore that point, he said a "self-effacing" funny to put everyone at ease.
I’m actually very trainable, by the way, and my wife could tell you that.
Haha, he has a wife that bosses him around. How relatable!
At the end of his address though, Greenberg answered questions submitted anonymously and posed to him on stage by ACE's flack, Mark Greenberg. One question in particular touched off a very colorful exchange between the two and brought Evan's wife awkwardly back into the conversation.
MARK GREENBERG: Okay. The next question is about how would you compare ACE’s claim philosophy to Chubb’s? Which will survive? You touched on that. Would you like to elaborate on it? We notice that none of the communications in connection with the transaction mentioned claims service.
EVAN GREENBERG: I think that there is – I think the way the question is framed if you answer it directly, it’s a head fake. It’s like – it’s in essence saying one is committed to claims service and good claims service and the other is not really, and so which one are you going to choose?
MARK GREENBERG: It’s a “have you stopped beating your wife” type of question?
EVAN GREENBERG: Yeah. A little bit like that. If you saw my wife, you know I’d never beat my wife.
Hey, who hasn't made a questionable analogy in a room full of nervous employees and thousands of others watching on the internet?
Let's let bygones be bygones. It was an awkward moment and it will pass. This merger should be fine. Next Question!
MARK GREENBERG: Okay. The last question that we had was Chubb has gained some renown for its progressive diversity policies. In your view, how does ACE compare, and do you anticipate that the merged company will maintain Chubb’s level of commitment in this area? You have covered that. If you’d like to say anything more on that?
EVAN GREENBERG: No. I think I’ve covered it, and it’s a little – again, like you know, when did you stop beating your wife in this? So, I – you know, I got that.
Okay, maybe no more questions.