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Company: S&P Global Ratings
Job title: Director, insurance ratings
2015: Senior insurance ratings analyst, S&P Global Ratings
2011: Head of client relationship management for non-bank
financial institutional clients in Asia, Commerzbank
2007: Insurance ratings analyst, S&P Global Ratings
2004: Junior actuary within the actuarial department,
American International Assurance
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
Having spent the early part of my post-study career in the
actuarial team at AIA in Singapore, I had the opportunity to work
with different departments, and in different areas of analysis,
within a large, global insurance company. It certainly opened my
eyes to the depth of the insurance industry and the opportunities
available. This early exposure made me more certain that I wanted
to pursue a career associated with the insurance industry.
Since then, it’s been insurance all the way, culminating in my most
recent position as a senior member of the insurance analytical
team at S&P Global Ratings, the world’s leading ratings agency.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
At S&P Global Ratings the wide-ranging and challenging
analytical work has certainly kept my adrenalin high. I’ve had
many opportunities to interact with different types of insurance
companies across Greater China and the rest of Asia, which
is now the centre of global attention. At the same time, I’ve
had the opportunity to meet senior insurance executives and
regulators from around the Asian region on a semi-regular basis.
The ability to interact with and get to know senior people feels
like an endless executive MBA—something money can’t buy.
One of the greatest career highlights to date has been seeing
the rapid development of China’s insurance market. In
particular, I recall assigning our first Chinese insurance ratings
(China Life Insurance), back in 2008 the year of the Beijing
Olympic Games. There was a rush to get into Beijing amid
the Olympics frenzy, so getting into the country and meeting
with the largest life insurer in China in the days leading up to
Opening Ceremony was an unforgettable experience.
China is now, undoubtedly, one of the world’s largest insurance
markets, with its pace of growth continuing to dwarf its
emerging-market peers. It remains a must-watch market for the
sector. In addition, the young and favourable demographics in
emerging Asia’s fast-growing economies present huge growth
opportunities for insurers, so it’s definitely an exciting time to
be involved in the region’s insurance industry.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
One of the biggest was overcoming the misconception that women
earn leadership positions through so-called “gender quotas”. Many
years ago, at a different company, I was asked to chair a women’s
employee network. This was at a time when some companies
were required to have 30 percent of their board seats taken up by
women. Frustratingly, it was hard to get support for the network
from some of my male colleagues, who felt that gender quotas
were eliminating their right to senior positions.
What’s more, some of my female colleagues thought it was
distasteful that gender quotas were required by law, believing that
they downplayed women’s capabilities. It’s a difficult topic, but I
can see both perspectives. Although I personally believe that gender
quotas are a necessary evil to ensure consideration be extended to
women employees in senior roles, I also believe the onus should be
on female employees to step up and prove to their male counterparts
that they can fill such roles effectively. It remains a challenging
debate, but one that should be openly discussed.
“The onus should be on female
employees to step up and prove to their
male counterparts that they can fill
such roles effectively.”
100 | INTELLIGENT INSURER | 2017 www.intelligentinsurer.com