The Last Word
High Honors: The Insurance Library Names Quincy Mutual CEO Its Insurance Professional of the Year
K. Douglas Briggs discusses the prestigious award and how the Library’s mission continues in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Lori Chordas
- May 2021
SERVING THE INDUSTRY: The Insurance Library opened its doors in 1887 to provide literature, information services and education to the local insurance community, but over the years it has broadened its reach nationally.
Over the past 14 months, nearly every corner of the insurance industry has felt some effects of COVID-19. The Insurance Library—the only independent insurance library in the U.S. focused solely on risk management and insurance information—is no exception.
The Boston-based library was forced to close its physical doors, but it has used online, virtual and other means to continue its mission of providing research, education and engagement services for the insurance and risk management community, said Insurance Library Executive Director Paul Tetrault. “We've been pretty active, even before the pandemic, in offering webinars as a major component of our educational programming,” he said. “Then, after some weeks, we were given permission by the Division of Insurance in Massachusetts to offer the classes that would have been on-site in a virtual format, and still be able to offer continuing education credits.”
Tetrault has worked alongside Library staff and board members, including Quincy Mutual Group Chairman and CEO K. Douglas Briggs, to continue fulfilling the Library's mission despite challenges created by social distancing and lockdowns. This year the Library has named Briggs its Insurance Professional of the Year—an annual honor that recognizes leadership and qualities that engender understanding of and respect for the risk management and insurance industry.
Briggs is “a great servant leader in the insurance community,” Tetrault told AM Best TV. A third-generation insurance professional, Briggs left his accounting job at Coopers &Lybrand Certified Public Accountants in 1985 to join Quincy Mutual—one of the oldest mutual insurers in the nation. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and an MBA in accounting from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Briggs joined the Library's board of trustees in 2000 and served as its president from 2007 to 2009.
If this were a typical year, about 500 people would meet in Boston to honor Briggs in person. Instead, the celebration will be virtual, on May 14.
Briggs said he is honored to receive the prestigious award and to be a part of the Library. As he reflected recently on his 36 years in insurance, he noted a number of changes in the industry, particularly around technology. “The business is much more technical today, whether it's analytics or artificial intelligence,” he said. “In 1985 we barely had computers in front of us. Today, we have all sorts of technology that's critically important.”
But technology has not supplanted one aspect of the industry that continues to stand the test of time, he said. “Insurance is still a great people business,” said Briggs, “and there is a lot of interaction with many nice people.”