Executive Recruiters > Methodology

Executive Search Methodology

As a strategic insurance executive search firm focusing exclusively on the insurance industry worldwide, The Jacobson Group partners with clients to ensure they have the leadership necessary to succeed in an ever-changing, highly-competitive marketplace.

Our success in finding and evaluating the right individuals is based on our extensive knowledge of the key players, market savvy, unparalleled networks and a focus on culture fit. At Jacobson, we give you broader access to people and market information. As a team, we combine our knowledge of the market and our contacts to keep our research fresh in targeting the most relevant individuals, ultimately resulting in the right candidate for success in your critical role.

Our executive search methodology has been developed during the past 45 years through experience in leading many insurance organizations through this critical activity. Our approach is transparent and thorough; our search principles, methods, processes and systems are designed to keep clients informed throughout the search and to consistently deliver quality talent with high retention levels. Our methodology is tried, tested and works.


Access to Top Executives

Successful insurance executive search is founded on years of investment in building networks allied to a deep understanding of motivators. The people you are looking for will no doubt already have successful careers and are likely visible to their contemporaries and peers – the very people who we network with.

The central issue is what will attract the best candidates to a particular role. Timing, individual aspirations and perceptions exert a powerful influence on a candidate’s view of a new role; pivotal to the executive search process is our ability to present a compelling picture of the opportunity to those individuals we have identified.


Market Intelligence

Our team has the marketplace knowledge and connections necessary to access the right people and more importantly to thoroughly evaluate technical, interpersonal and management skills. The breadth of our team provides a network of contacts that is second to none in the insurance industry.

A central element of what Jacobson offers is our ability to validate the background of candidates and to provide a snapshot of what they will bring to the table. Clients benefit from our ability to obtain a 360-degree view of each and every candidate.

You can expect that our final slate of candidates is always appropriate, relevant and, where possible, diverse.


Culture Fit Focus

Search is only as successful as the staying-power of the successful candidate. One of the main reasons new hires fail is due to a poorly-assessed culture fit. Jacobson takes care to deliver relevant and validated shortlists that are a good fit for our clients.

Jacobson has a high success rate in finding and delivering people that “fit” into our clients’ cultures. This is achieved by taking the time to understand your culture and the personalities of the key people involved in the hiring process through our unique culture fit protocol.

Our insurance executive search process is based on a tailored competency and cultural fit model developed exclusively for our clients. We have built a structured approach to necessary technical and “softer” competencies, which devolve into interview techniques that ensure lasting hires. Our proven methods work to ensure the best possible match between our client organizations and the chosen candidate. The care and rigor associated with this focus has proved to greatly reduce the risks of a new hire failing to live up to the search committee’s expectations.


Successful Completion

Candidates will often share information with a search consultant that they would not feel comfortable sharing directly with a potential employer. We can therefore identify show stoppers early in the process. By establishing an individual’s expectations, motivations and concerns, we are uniquely positioned to deliver viable shortlists to our client. Our due diligence ensures that when chosen candidates join our client organizations, they will have a clear picture of what is expected of them and will be personally committed to success.

All too often searches fail because the process is not handled the right way for either party. Our experience and sensitivity in this area ensures the ideal outcome.

Through years of experience, we are not only able to attract interest and engage candidates in serious dialogue, but also able to coach them through the rigorous process and the potentially life-changing decision and ultimately negotiate terms on our client’s behalf.


Proven Search Process

Success in executive search is measured by the impact an executive has on an organization. Our methods have been proven time and time again when our placed executives successfully transfer into our client organizations. Our record of success in relevant and sustainable hires is exceptionally high.

Identifying the right executive requires certain appropriate steps throughout the process.


We discuss your requirements and establish how the process will be managed. We serve as a strategic recruitment partner, consulting with the search committee to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the company, its culture, its vision and its operating style and of how this role ultimately will impact your organization. As specialists in our field, we contribute our expertise and perspective, helping refine your objectives and providing guidance on the search criteria. We will establish and outline a customized strategy to guide us through the search.

Comprehensive Position Profile

Working closely with your search committee, Jacobson creates a detailed position brief. This profile will include information about the client company, the position’s scope of responsibility and objectives and position specifications including the leadership and interpersonal skills necessary for success in the leadership role. This document is utilized as a recruitment/marketing device, providing relevant and interested candidates with information about the position.

Source Development

We use a multifaceted research, analysis, networking and direct recruiting method designed to create a thorough appropriate list of potential candidates. Original research is combined with our existing market intelligence for each and every assignment.

Behavioral Assessment

Utilizing assessments, Jacobson has developed an exclusive psychometric evaluation that enables us to recommend only candidates possessing the critical behaviors required for success specific to our clients’ needs. Our chartered business psychologist leverages proven psychological theory and scientific research to interpret the assessment in order to provide your selection committee with the insights needed to select a candidate with confidence.

Candidate Evaluation

Jacobson’s approach to candidate evaluation is multi-faceted. Evaluation is handled in three phases: review of credentials, initial (telephone) interviews and personal (face-to-face) interviews. We employ behavioral interview techniques to get at the core of each candidate`s strengths and weaknesses as they relate to each position; and we leverage our culture fit protocol to ensure presented candidates are good fit for your organization, as well.

Shortlist Presentation

Jacobson selects a shortlist of candidates for you to meet. Final candidates are submitted for review only after we have thoroughly evaluated the business experience, technical expertise, management/leadership style and personal characteristics essential for success in the role and for compatibility within the client culture. Each candidate is presented with a confidential candidate report. These appraisals include detailed resumes and other pertinent data.

Interview Process Facilitation

Our process does not end with slate presentation. We manage the process through to successful completion. We participate as facilitators throughout the on-site interview process, offering assistance ranging from managing logistics and determining an interview question strategy to providing insight and participating in the evaluation process. We remain in close contact with the client and candidate throughout this delicate process.

Final Candidate Selection

Upon client request, we will perform comprehensive reference checking. We work closely with our clients to develop an offer package that will attract the selected candidate, using our expertise in executive compensation, relocation and benefits.

Transition Services

Our search process does not end at the new hire`s official acceptance date or even on his/her first day. We will support the selected executive`s assimilation into the client organization to ensure a successful entry.

Prioritizing Succession Planning for Long-Term Success


Extensive Insurance Executive Reach

The Jacobson Group's clients span from the United States and Bermuda to Europe and Asia with footprints in the different insurance markets around the globe. Clients come to Jacobson for our knowledge of the insurance industry, its markets and people; the focus of our searches; and our ability to operate searches effectively cross-border. It’s simple: we find the right insurance executive for your organization.

We Speak Your Language

Our multi-cultural, multi-lingual team speaks English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. We also have a deep understanding of the language of the global insurance marketplace.

We Understand Cross-Border Diversity

Our team is familiar with operating cross-border. We understand the cultural sensitivities and similarities for cross-border searches and have ready access to local markets worldwide. Experience has taught us that to gain trust with candidates requires not only the depth of sector knowledge but cultural sensitivity as well.

We Offer a True One-Team Approach

Unlike other global executive search firms, we provide a much needed, integrated one-team approach to client relationships for insurance search cross-border. Meet our team.

Know what you are getting

A coordinated consistent methodology ensures search assignments are conducted to the same high standards across international boundaries.

Know who you are partnering with

Receive one point of contact and readily available backup to ensure deadlines are met and strong enduring relationships are developed.

Know there are no conflicts

There are no territorial restrictions for finding the best candidates. Our team approach leads to pooled resources, knowledge, contacts and experience, yielding better results for our clients.





Dionne Wallace and Christopher D. Smith
Board Members

Todd Ruthruff
President and Chief Executive Officer - Elect
Columbia Insurance Group

Laura Brightwell and Lauren Kirkley
Board Members

Jennifer Hamilton
President and Chief Executive Officer

Joseph P. Sullivan, Jr.
Chief Underwriting Officer

Todd M. Campbell
President and Chief Executive Officer
Builders Insurance Group

Jon D. Srna
Chief Executive Officer
American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company

Mary Morrow
President of U.S. Health Holdings
Ascension Insurance

Donna Glenn
Chief Actuary
National Council on Compensation Insurance

Thomas Greenfield
President and CEO
The Philadelphia Contributionship

Ellen H. Masterson
Board of Governors Member
The Doctors Company

Michael Ackerman
Vice President and Chief Data Officer
Capital Insurance Group

Karen Byrd
Indiana Compensation Rating Bureau

Cynthia Mehrtens
Vice President of Claims
Capital Insurance Group


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