IInnflfluueennttiiaall wwoommeenn iinn rree//iinnssuurraannccee: re/insurers and brokers
Company: QBE European Operations
Job title: Head of risk, operations
2014: Head of risk, operations, QBE European Operations
2006: Head of risk management, ERM, QBE European
2004: Risk manager, ERM, QBE European Operations
1999: Risk executive, Corporation of Lloyd’s
1997: Assistant marine hull underwriter, Commercial
1995: London Market graduate scheme trainee,
Commercial Union (Aviva)
I also have to balance the need for organisational resilience
and ensuring that QBE is able to operate effectively. I
see similar challenges with the General Data Protection
Regulation (GDPR) programme, where I am applying lessons
around delivering compliance with an uncertain landscape
(as in Solvency II), and finding a balance and changing the
culture (as in the information security programme).
What was the most significant development you’ve seen
over the last 12 months?
Events seem more unpredictable and statistics more unreliable.
The Brexit result, and then the US elections have emphasised
that no matter how confident businesses are, models can only
go so far, and that it’s always worth considering different
outcomes and developing contingency planning. Closer to my
day-to-day work, I can see that the new GDPR regulation is
causing a step-change around how personal data should be
treated, and coupled with recent high profile cyber attacks this
will increasingly challenge us in our workplace and home lives.
Has the profile of women in re/insurance been raised in
High profile appointments have really helped, and the
appointment of Inga Beale as CEO of Lloyd’s was a real
game-changer. There is a greater focus on diversity, though
statistics around women on boards and the gender pay gap
show there is still room for improvement.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I looked for a graduate scheme that was based in the City,
and offered structured training and included support for
professional qualifications. I could have ended up in banking
or another industry, but the more I read about the London
Market, the more interested I became.
I found the Commercial Union London Market graduate
scheme was highly regarded and would provide me with
a good foundation across: business planning, underwriting,
claims and operations.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A colleague and I jointly led the Solvency II programme for
QBE European Operations. It is probably the longest project
that I have worked on, and it was a hard slog over several years
with an ever-changing deadline and considerable uncertainty
around the delivery requirements.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
One of my biggest challenges has been setting and executing
strategy around information security and cyber risk. It’s
challenging because it’s varied in scope, from implementing
complex technology solutions, to changing the culture of an
Second, the cyber environment is constantly evolving, and
what’s considered good practice now will be superseded.
Deciding how far the organisation goes and how much it
spends is a tricky balancing act, especially when we can never
fully mitigate the risk.
“Models can only go so far, and it’s always
worth considering different outcomes and
developing contingency planning.”
112 | INTELLIGENT INSURER | 2017 www.intelligentinsurer.com