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Job title: Chief operations officer
2014: Chief operating officer, Asta
2013: Head of risk assurance, Asta
2009: Solvency II workstream leader, Lloyd’s of London
2005: ICAS implementation project, Lloyd’s of London
1994: Assistant director, CBS Members Agency
Reconstruction and Renewal process was a character-building
and toughening experience.
What was the most significant development you’ve seen
over the last 12 months?
A continuation of soft market conditions, high M&A activity
and a changing regulatory landscape for re/insurers. Against
this backdrop, one noticeable development we have observed
at Asta is an increased interest in the managing general
agent (MGA) model. We are receiving a large number of
enquiries from businesses asking for our help in establishing
or managing an MGA.
However, we have also seen a ‘flight to quality’ approach
kicking in. The FCA’s attention on Appointed Representatives,
potential conflicts of interest in MGA ownership and an ever-growing
focus on conduct risk and policyholder protection
means that there is an increasing need for robust operational
and compliance frameworks for MGAs.
Has the profile of women in re/insurance been raised in
I have seen an increase in the number of women working
in the insurance industry and the number holding senior
positions. I am very proud to work for a company where
women are well represented at the leadership level. My
colleague Clare Barley and I hold two of Asta’s five executive
director roles and earlier this year we appointed Kalpana
Shah as our first female independent non-executive director.
Lorraine Harfitt joined Asta as head of risk assurance and was
promoted to chief operations officer in 2014.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I started my career in banking in Scotland, moved to Kent in the
late 1980s and joined the Corporation of Lloyd’s as its history
and unique structure interested me. From there, I moved to a
members’ agency, looking after Lloyd’s Names dealing with the
Reconstruction & Renewal programme. In 2005, I rejoined the
Corporation and later was asked to lead the implementation of
Solvency II across the market. I was delighted by the opportunity
to join Asta as it offered a fresh challenge within a unique
business but allowed me to remain in the Lloyd’s market.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A couple of things stick out. Stepping into the COO role
at Asta has allowed me to apply my skillset and experience
within a dynamic business environment. I relish the new
challenges to plan and adapt to. The other highlight was
participating in the Lloyd’s leadership programme at London
I found it hugely rewarding and feel it helped take my
career foward, as it allowed me to apply leadership skills
immediately, and helped secure the realisation of a key
initiative across the market.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
This industry continually throws up challenges; the
implementation of Solvency II being a recent one. I needed to
deliver a framework for the market, providing guidance and
clarity where little existed, while allowing for each of the
60 or so individual managing agents and their own operating
structures. At the start of my insurance career, dealing with
the personal hardship of many Lloyd’s Names during the
“I needed to deliver a framework for the
market, providing guidance and clarity
where little existed.”
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