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Updated: October 18, 2020 C-Suite Awards 2020

Galvin’s turnaround experience helps ConnectiCare through pandemic

It took Eric Galvin only a year to begin making a difference at ConnectiCare, the Farmington-based insurer that had reported $100 million in losses shortly before he joined the company.

“We went through a lot of challenging, really hard decisions but ultimately we came out at the other end of that, turning the company around,” said Galvin, who took ConnectiCare’s CFO post in 2015. “We fixed the company but we also established a runway that was going to be successful for the future.”

Now president of the insurer, Galvin has taken the lessons of that turnaround into his current role.

“I really value surrounding myself with people who are a lot smarter than I am,” Galvin said. “Also, listening to our customers. I was really trying to draw from those experiences.”

Galvin grew up in Waterbury and was attracted to business early on thanks to a family friend who introduced him to the challenges of creating and sustaining a successful enterprise.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UConn, then interned at health insurer Cigna and thrived under the guidance of several valued mentors.

After a stint at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Galvin returned to Cigna, recognizing that the healthcare sector would provide him with a meaningful career.

“It married two things together: One is my passion for business and trying to solve complex problems, the second it is an industry where you can be mission-oriented and really want to help people,” he said.

Fourteen years later, Galvin left Cigna for various healthcare executive roles in South Carolina to gain experience in different high-level jobs and markets.

Then he heard about the CFO opening at ConnectiCare.

“It really was that perfect marriage of a business — one that is really in the community, very present, very active and tries to do it better than the people we compete with,” Galvin said.

The financial crunch at ConnectiCare had wiped out a decade of profits at the company. Galvin’s job was to figure out the problems and “fix what was broken.”

When CEO Michael Wise tapped Galvin for the top job in 2017, the new president moved to bring in his own team and respond quickly to the crisis. Galvin sees parallels in the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ConnectiCare moved quickly to expand telemedicine coverage and enable employees to work remotely. One initiative at the insurer involved calling thousands of individual customers to “check in” during the worst of the lockdown.

“The feedback was overwhelming in how appreciative they were,” Galvin said. “It really mattered to our customers.”

Now Galvin sees the positives that have come out of the crisis.

“We have a lot of opportunities to really rethink how healthcare gets delivered and the roles that various people play in getting that done,” he said.

Having local people working with local customers puts ConnectiCare at an advantage as the crisis evolves, Galvin added.

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