Influential women in re/insurance: re/insurers and brokers
OF OF 2017
Company: GIC Re
Job title: General manager
2015: General manager, GIC Re
2013: Deputy general manager, United India Insurance
of the large regional office of the company at Bangalore,
and holding some key positions at head office. Having
had a 360-degree view of direct insurance, coming over to
reinsurance at GIC has been a great transitory phase for
me. This happened at a time when the landscape of the
reinsurance market had undergone a change with the major
global players starting their branches in India. There is now
a lot more excitement to look forward to: the upcoming
public issue, following a roadmap to take GIC Re to the
league of top 10 global reinsurers, keeping abreast of rapidly
changing risk profiles, and finding solutions for them.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
As a primary insurer, one of the big challenges as the business
head of operations in an environment of accelerating
economy was balancing growth and profitability in the face
of fierce competition that mindlessly drives down prices.
The current soft cycle has also been pushing the reinsurers
to the edge.
On the personal front, the challenges were during those
periods of time when I had been posted away from my home
town. It was hard to be away from the children especially
when they were at the crucial stages of schooling and when
parents-in-law were ill, and needed support. Looking back
now, I think it made the family stronger and more resilient.
Usha Ramaswamy is general manager of GIC Re overseeing
the portfolios of aviation, marine, reinsurance inwards and
international operations. A postgraduate of economics and
a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Insurance India, she has
about 30 years of experience in the industry.
She joined as a direct recruit officer in United India
Insurance and has experience of operations in various
capacities in the offices of the company at Chennai,
Bangalore and Coimbatore. Before GIC Re, she headed the
largest regional office of the company at Bangalore which
showed an all-round appreciable performance of corporate,
retail and bancassurance business.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
When I was still in college, a particular billboard in my
city caught my attention which read something like “We
cover everything under the sun—from chicks to satellites.”
It was an advertisement of a general insurance company. I
was intrigued, and it got me reading a bit about non-life
insurance. I discovered that insurance is a fascinating field
with diverse areas of operations requiring varying skillsets,
and offers a wide range of products to large sections of the
Several years later after completion of my Master’s, it
was a period when life insurance and banking dominated
the financial sector, and general insurance was relatively
younger and less saturated. So it seemed like the right
option to apply for a job in United India Insurance as a
generalist officer when the opportunity arose. The option
turned out to be a good one as I have enjoyed every bit of
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Having started as a junior officer in the direct insurance
company, I have had an exciting career spanning three
decades at different positions including being in charge
“Having had a 360-degree view of direct
insurance, coming over to reinsurance at GIC
has been a great transitory phase for me.”
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