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Oswald senior VP Jessica Jung rallies the local insurance industry in the name of charity

By Lauren Sable Freiman    |    Photo by Jim Baron

Jessica Jung has spent most of her 18 years in the insurance industry working in a leadership role. So, in 2014, when she learned from a colleague in Chicago that the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation was interested in starting an Ohio chapter, she naturally stepped up to bring together a group of Ohio insurance professionals for a good cause.

“IICF’s mission is to give back to our local communities in the areas of health, safety, and education,” Jung says. “We bring together professionals from across the insurance industry, from carriers, agents, brokers, and strategic partners that support our industry, to raise money and volunteer in our community.”

The work that IICF does is notable for several reasons. The Ohio chapter, since its inception in January 2014, has raised $182,000, which has been awarded as grant money to various organizations around Northeast Ohio. IICF volunteers have also given 1,500 hours of service to various nonprofits around the state of Ohio. And it is all thanks to a collaborative effort by individuals and companies who typically spend their days collaborating or possibly even competing with one another to deliver risk and insurance solutions for their clients.

“This is a very unique opportunity for everyone in our industry, to give back to the local community,” Jung says. “What a phenomenal opportunity to work together as an industry to give back. It’s a tremendous branding opportunity for our industry to sit there and work hard next to talented partners and friendly competitors, drawing us together for one common purpose.”

The recent Oktoberfest event, which raised $45,000, has become one of the most fun and well-attended events that the insurance industry has hosted in the region. Jung says people want to attend and are excited to join the party and donate to a good cause. As the IICF continues to gain more traction, Jung says the 21-member board representing 20 organizations around Northeast Ohio is considering expanding to Columbus and Cincinnati. The board is also considering developing an associate board that would be tasked with the responsibility of developing another fun and unique fundraising event.

“It’s time to spice up the events in the insurance industry,” Jung says. “It’s about raising money and getting volunteers.”

Despite the fact that she’s already established herself as an impactful agent of change in Cleveland, Jung is a relative newcomer to the region. She arrived in 2012 to lead Cleveland’s Chubb Insurance office after serving in other leadership roles with Chubb in New York and Tampa. She then transitioned to Oswald Companies, where she’s worked as a senior vice president and director of property and casualty for just under two years.

“I’ve become a poster child for everyone who hasn’t been to Cleveland before,” Jung says. “When I first came I expected to stay here for a short time and did not have high expectations. I quickly learned that Cleveland is quite the hidden gem, and now that I’ve moved to Oswald, my family gratefully calls Cleveland home.”

In addition to her work with the IICF, Jung serves on the board of the Cleveland Zoological Society. She is also passionate about education and attracting up-and-coming talent to the insurance industry and, along with her colleagues on the IICF board, works to support Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, and Ohio State University as they develop curriculum for developing insurance professionals. Jung is also an advocate for diversity in the workplace. As she did with Chubb, Jung serves on the Women’s Leadership Development Council at Oswald.

“Women bring a lot to the table, and so do men,” Jung says. “It’s not about the fact of whether there are enough women at the table, but rather do we have enough diversity of thought at the table? My view on leadership is that we need diversity of thought and experience at the table, and then we have to help to knock the roadblocks away for those individuals on our team so they can be their best.”

Leadership is an especially big deal in the insurance industry, where clients are looking for innovative thinking to solve their problems. Managing risk for clients and serving as their chief worry officers requires plenty of forward thinking, Jung says. As a woman who has held leadership positions for many years, Jung has found that good talent rises to the top, regardless of gender.

“To be considered effective or the best, you have to have high emotional intelligence,” Jung says. “I haven’t found myself in a scenario where someone has expected a man at the table instead of me, but regardless you have to earn credibility. Perhaps the perception is that women have to work harder to do that, but I’ve always focused on earning credibility from the get-go. If you focus on the expectations and delivering on them, man or woman, you are solving your client’s problems, and that’s been enough for me.” 

For more info: iicf.org/about-iicf/midwest-division/ohio-chapter

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