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Katie Partington Howarth
Company: Ariel Re Bermuda
Job title: Head of risk
2016: Head of risk, Ariel Re
2012: Senior vice president, Ariel Re
2008: Vice president, Ariel Re
2005: Assistant vice president, Ariel Re
2004: Assistant vice president, Benfield
2001: Risk analyst, ReMetrics Natural Hazards, Benfield
2000: Project coordinator/technical assistant, E.W. Blanch
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
Learning how people view you, and then learning when to
care about that and when not to. Sometimes it’s good to
recognise you’re the only woman in the room and sometimes
it doesn’t matter at all. Managing people gives you a lot of
insight into yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. I spent
a lot of time when I was younger trying to be someone else’s
version of me, but with more experience and confidence you
can stop doing that.
You need to be your own version of success, not someone
else’s, and apply the same concept to the people you manage.
What was the most significant development you’ve seen
over the last 12 months?
The continued influx of capital seeking return in our industry.
The supply has had a huge impact on terms widening and
rates being suppressed even in volatile classes.
Has the profile of women in re/insurance been raised in
I definitely feel the profile of women in the industry has
been raised. It is refreshing that there are companies with
active strategies to attack an unconscious bias in hiring and
promoting strategies. However I think there’s still more to do
as female representation in senior leadership of companies is
extremely sparse. Seeing women in the C-suite or at board
level is very much the exception.
Formerly head of the international property catastrophe
reinsurance team, Katie P Howarth is now head of risk. She
is also the president of Bermuda Business and Professional
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I arrived in London with no money, no job and nowhere to
live. Finding my feet in a huge city was daunting but very
empowering. I found work through a family connection at
E.W. Blanch and things just took off from there. I loved
London and was happy to stay at the end of my visa when
offered the opportunity, and soon afterwards EW Blanch
was bought by Benfield.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Definitely the amazing places I have been able to visit and
the people I have been fortunate enough to do business with.
Travel invigorates me and gives me time to reflect and think
about the business in a different way. Each country and
market has its own nuance and customs which I appreciate
Not every trip has been easy or comfortable but every time
I have moved out of my comfort zone I have seen huge
rewards in my personal and professional growth. It’s tough
to keep pushing and to not get complacent. I am lucky I
work somewhere that has afforded me opportunities to keep
pushing my boundaries.
Currently expanding my role to look across all the lines
of our business and how we protect them is a great new
challenge that I am enjoying.
“You need to be your own version of
success, not someone else’s.”
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