Influential women in re/insurance
Company: Swiss Re
Job title: Head of group qualitative risk management
2015: Joined Swiss Re
gained. Cyber threats/attacks are constantly evolving and
growing in frequency and sophistication. Financial services
companies are an obvious target given the significant amounts
of sensitive information they hold.
Swiss Re is increasing cyber resilience through a number of
initiatives including a Cyber Defence Programme. Attackers
are aware the weak link often is human and spend increasing
amounts of resources in attacking human vulnerabilities(eg,
through phishing and social engineering).
However, employees also play a vital role in protecting
business information, preventing data loss and reporting
incidents—this is mainly a matter of on-point training and
building awareness. Swiss Re invests in keeping clients up to
date, training employees and exploring new ways of how to
improve all aspects of cyber defence.
Has the profile of women in re/insurance been raised in
Yes, the profile of women has been raised. Re/insurance
companies now have a greater awareness of what female
talent has to offer. Swiss Re has taken action to increase
diversity at senior leadership levels. This starts by building
a strong pipeline of female talent with the support of the
senior female leaders. What could be more encouraging than
being inspired by the successful careers of senior female
leaders within your own company?
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
My first employment after university was as a legal expert
with the Federal Office of Private Insurance Supervision,
the Swiss insurance supervisory authority which eventually
became part of the new financial market supervisor
(FINMA). Even though it was more coincidental rather than
a deliberate choice, I soon realised it was the right fit, because
of the interdisciplinary combination of legal, technical and
economic aspects in insurance supervision.
This really opened the door to the insurance industry for
me. The combination of the insurance industry’s economic
importance and its societal relevance appealed to me from
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
At the age of 35 I was appointed a member of the executive
committee of FINMA and I took on responsibility for the
division that managed cross-functional policy matters. I
looked after the strategic management as well as the internal
and external communication of the authority. The years
during the aftermath of the financial crisis offered me some
very enriching tasks and unique responsibility, but after
12 years with the supervisory authority I decided to leave
my comfort zone and to conquer the new frontiers of the
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
From a personal perspective, being promoted to the executive
board of the financial market regulator at a relatively young
age and the public exposure that came with it was exciting.
However, joining the industry has been a steep learning curve,
with much unchartered territory. It pushes me to new limits
and I have learned how to rely on my skills and my strengths.
What was the most significant development you’ve seen
over the last 12 months?
One significant development is how much attention
cybersecurity and insurance solutions for cyber risks have
“Re/insurance companies now
have a greater awareness of what
female talent has to offer.”
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