Mary Boyd leads like a coach: Women in Insurance Leadership 2023

Mary Boyd leads like a coach: Women in Insurance Leadership 2023

Mary Boyd

When Mary Boyd was in high school she had to do an assignment to see what kind of jobs she’d be interested in.

“I went to the library to do this assignment and I opened up the book and started with the A’s. I knew I didn’t want to be an accountant and then I saw an actuary. There in the definition, they described what an actuary did using applied math to help price products and help insurance companies with how to get the right amount of profit for the business. I thought that sounded pretty cool. I closed the book and felt like that was good enough for the assignment and tucked it away.”

Boyd, president and CEO of Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation, said at that point she didn’t realize that she could use math to design roller coasters. If she had, she may have ended up doing that instead.

Boyd has financial responsibility for Plymouth Rock’s $1 billion independent agency auto, Pilgrim Services, and umbrella liability businesses. She joined the company in 2018 and in her role, has been guiding her team through a multi-discipline digital evolution to connect product, customer and agency partner digital experiences across the customer life cycle.

“Beyond setting strategy and vision for our business and ensuring that we hit our financial goals, my job falls into three categories: I build, I fix and I coach. Everything I do on a day-to-day basis could possibly be put into those three categories,” Boyd said. “I love building things. I never mind fixing something because I think it always can make it better.” Boyd adds that sometimes the most challenging and rewarding part of her job is coaching.

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“We’re all very talented human beings with our own ways of thinking, digesting, hearing, learning and working together,” she said. “As a leader of people that all work and care for each other, it’s like being any other coach. You have to understand your team to make sure that we’re doing our best to be our best.” 

Boyd said: “A good leader isn’t going to pull people up, a good leader is there to lift people up. You help them to see that strength in themselves, to accept their strengths as well as accept the areas that they’re going to continue to build. A leader doesn’t always need to be in the front. Leaders are on the side. The team is on the field.”

When Boyd joined Plymouth Rock, she made it a priority to focus on delivering better digital experiences. In the past year, Plymouth Rock has continued to update its mobile app and its customer eService. 

“Digital experiences are real experiences and Plymouth Rock has a customer-first kind of culture. So, over the past few years we have been really working on our customer’s digital experience in order to deliver more 24/7, complete end-to-end experiences. For an independent agency carrier that may seem less typical but we built that to make sure that we are offering our independent agents solutions for their customers that would help them compete for customers against other carriers in any other channel.”

She said that adoption and utilization rates for mobile capabilities has nearly doubled and that customer satisfaction has improved. Plymouth Rock is also working to build its intelligent process automation capabilities under Boyd’s leadership. 

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As for those who are interested in getting into the insurance industry, Boyd said: “Do it. The insurance industry has so many fields, so many different areas of expertise that can be applied to our business, basically a job for everybody. Although it doesn’t always seem to others like it is the most exciting or sexy-sounding field, we are really doing important work. We are delivering financial protection that allows businesses and families to have peace of mind to invest in their progress. … We’re in an industry that’s here to serve the greater good and I feel pretty happy about that as a life’s work. In the meantime, we solve puzzles and we have fun along the way.”