Influential women in re/insurance: re/insurers and brokers
OF OF 2017
Company: Markel Corporation
Job title: Director, claims
2014: Director, claims, Markel Corporation
2011: Associate, Clyde & Co
chapter of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, an
international organisation specifically dedicated to educational
and networking opportunities for in-house claims and legal
professionals and outside lawyers working in the industry.
In addition, I encouraged the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII)
and other local insurance educational groups to incorporate
information on claims and legal insurance careers into their
educational programmes. I have participated in several “speed
networking” events as a claims/legal representative, and I mentor
several younger persons.
I hope that others who have succeeded in insurance claims and
legal professions continue to mentor and encourage younger
generations to pursue such careers. Equally, and perhaps just as
important, I hope that the insurance companies themselves pay
deference to the vital role that claims and legal professionals play.
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what
would it have been?
I always knew that I wanted to be lawyer, and I initially
envisioned myself arguing cases before the European Court of
Human Rights. While insurance is not necessarily as glamorous as
human rights law, there is incredible diversity within the subject
matters of liability insurance cases, which fosters continuous
learning and stimulation.
Mia Finsness studied law at Oxford University, Columbia
University, and the Sorbonne and completed a judicial clerkship
at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. In 2014, she
accepted an in-house management position at Markel Corporation
and moved to Bermuda to manage the company’s global excess
liability claims team. After a year at Markel, Finsness was
promoted to her current role, director of claims.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I graduated from law school at the height of the financial crisis,
and entry-level lawyer positions were seemingly impossible to
come by in New York. An acquaintance in Bermuda working in
the industry introduced me to a law firm in New York that just
happened to specialise in re/insurance law. The law firm took
a chance on me, and I was hired as the firm’s only first-year
Little did I realise at the time that my unique background (I have
an English law degree, and I am admitted to the New York Bar)
would serve me well in eventually representing Bermuda carriers
whose contracts are generally governed by New York law and
subject to London arbitration.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being promoted to claims director at a Fortune 500 insurance
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
In the insurance world, it is widely accepted that the underwriters
are the ‘rock stars’ of the industry, and very little glory or prestige
is associated with claims and legal roles, despite the fact that
insurance is, in essence, the business of paying claims. This reality
makes it difficult to recruit exceptional talent in the claims world
and also discourages those individuals who do stand out from
pursuing careers in claims.
When I moved to Bermuda in 2014, I worked with several
prominent lawyers at local companies and firms to start a Bermuda
“I hope that others who have succeeded
in insurance claims and legal
professions continue to mentor and
encourage younger generations.”
34 | INTELLIGENT INSURER | 2017 www.intelligentinsurer.com