SPECIAL R 20 EPORT: WOMEN IN HAMILTON
Company: AXA XL in Bermuda
Job title: Senior vice president & regional head of claims for insurance
The long-term/life sector, as I mentioned above, is growing and
poised to expand even more.
How well is Bermuda positioned to continue to prosper?
Bermuda is strongly positioned for the future. In terms of the re/
insurance industry, I believe we have, hands down, the best regulator
in the world, in the Bermuda Monetary Authority. In my prior role
as general counsel for XL Bermuda, I interacted with regulators all
over the globe, and I can say that in Bermuda we continue to have
flexibility, and ease of bringing new products to markets.
We can sit across from a complex client, understand their needs
and then go away and relatively swiftly create a bespoke policy
form. That cannot happen in the US without form filings and
Here in Bermuda we can deliver quickly and adapt as needed.
However, we do need to be mindful of the cost of doing business
and while the future is very positive for the industry, I believe it is
essential that growth and success for the industry are balanced with
the social needs of the population.
How do you see the industry developing in the next five years?
Technology, automation, artificial intelligence and outsourcing are
already impacting the industry in Bermuda and will continue to do
so. For example, at AXA XL, we have already piloted robots for
certain parts of the processing function in claims.
While the impact of technology will reduce the need for lower
skilled job categories, it also provides opportunity for skilled
professionals to have more time to think creatively, and provide
innovative risk management solutions for clients.
We are also seeing a shift to a more holistic view of risk where
clients are expecting a partnership from carriers that extends
beyond the payment of claims. Certain types of losses, such as a
major cyber attack, can impact multiple lines of cover—directors
& officers liability, casualty and cyber cover—so partnering to help
clients address risk, rather than the purchase of individual insurance
policies, is where the industry is going. What better jurisdiction is
there than Bermuda to do that in?
Is there still a shortage of female risk professionals in the Bermuda
I do not believe there is shortage of women in the Bermuda
market, but there is a shortage of women in the most senior levels
of the industry. While efforts are being made to address this, the
proverbial glass ceiling still exists for women in our industry despite
the numbers in the so-called ‘pipeline’.
There is clearly an issue of visibility of those women in the
pipeline. That is why initiatives such as WeSpeak are so important.
WeSpeak aims to build confidence and public speaking skills in
women so that we will see more women on panels, on boards, and
taking leadership roles in a more visible way.
What initiatives have you seen to encourage local talent on
Bermuda to join the market?
A lot is going on in awareness campaigns by organisations such
as the Association of Bermuda International Companies, Bermuda
Foundation for Insurance Studies, and the Bermuda Insurance
Institute about insurance careers which are aimed at high schoolers
and college students.
One of the most exciting things I’m seeing is the number
of students coming out of the Bermuda College/High School
dual enrolment programmes, who are leaving high school with
an Associate degree and entering the junior year at strong US
universities such as St. John’s University (my alma mater) and
Georgia State University.
I’ve recently become part of small thinktank to explore how the
gap between education and experience can be bridged by structuring
more co-op experience opportunities for Bermuda College students,
particularly in the long-term/life side of the industry which is
where more jobs will be in the future.
How else can any such shortage be addressed?
As a whole the industry is missing a trick by not proactively and
intentionally seeking out ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds to boost
creativity and innovation. There should also be a greater focus on
sourcing and cross-training of mature talent from other disciplines.
What we do is not rocket science. Bright, creative people who
are critical thinkers are the talent goldmine but I think due to the
application of traditional recruitment standards, they are often
What is your view of the current state of the re/insurance market
Even with the M&A that we have seen, the market is strong.
Certainly, on the traditional P&C side, buyers still see Bermuda as
the domicile of choice with the largest carriers writing on larger
balance sheets with more focused underwriting talent.
“The industry is missing a trick by not
proactively and intentionally seeking out
‘non-traditional’ backgrounds to boost
creativity and innovation.”