Influential women in re/insurance
For the fourth year, this publication profiles some of the most successful female executives
working in or with risk transfer globally. For the full profile of every executive from this
and previous years, see the full digital reports online at: www.intelligentinsurer.com
Now in its fourth year, our Influential Women in Re/
insurance report remains one of our most anticipated
pieces of research and extremely popular online. The
nature of the report is starting to change, as are the
responses given by those we profile.
The risk transfer business remains a male-dominated industry
although that is changing quickly. Instead of focusing on the lack
of women in the industry, we instead focus on the talent that does
exist—and how this pool is growing and maturing by the day.
For clarity on what this list means and what it represents, the
2017 research and profiles complement and add to the base of
female talent we have previously identified in the years 2014,
2015 and 2016.
Therefore, while in the Class of 2017 we have identified and
profiled 85 new women, this should be combined with the
hundreds of executives we have profiled previously. While
we have previously restricted the list to female executives in
re/insurers or brokers, we have loosened our criteria this year and
included a selection of service providers and advisers working
directly with the risk transfer industry.
In our digital version and on our website, you will find profiles
of all the women from all years. We have done our best to update
career paths but please contact us if you see anything that is
The executives profiled were asked questions about their careers
so far, aspirations for the future and how they see the industry
developing. It is noticeable this year that a change is starting to
emerge in the nature of their answers relating to the difficulties
Fewer answered this question in relation to the fact of being
a woman in a male-dominated industry. More answered it in
relation to the industry and the challenges it presents, ie, gender-neutral
hurdles to jump.
Some however do note that being a woman can be a challenge.
Elisabeth Stadler, chief executive of Vienna Insurance Group
for example, says she joined the industry because of her interest
in mathematics. She has been very successful, now heading the
leading insurance specialist in Austria and in Central and Eastern
Europe with 50 companies in 25 countries and more than 20
Despite all this, challenges remain. “Women in leadership
position are rare,” she says, “so it is more difficult to convince
people of your competence for a top position. You have to be
favoured by fortune to take a chance at the right time.
“After a long-term career at my first insurance company where I
was already a board member I got an offer to take over leadership
as CEO of the subsidiary of an international German insurance
group. This was an important step from being a member of the
board to being the leader of the board.”
Others note the juggling act that can come when managing a
career and family life. Hannah Purves, claims director at Markel
International, joined the industry after a secondment with an
insurer where she discovered she loved the interaction between
insurers and insureds.
She notes that her recent appointment to the board made her
the first female executive board member “but I know not the last”.
“I have three children who I want to have quality time with,
and combining this with an industry that increasingly seems to
be 24/7 can be a problem. That said, technology has helped in
enabling working away from the office at times and employers
have generally been increasingly tolerant/encouraging of flexible
working,” she notes.
In some parts of the world it remains rare for women to hold
Rana Hafda, executive director of facultative at Chedid Re, says:
“Working in a relatively new field in the Middle East where
the culture remains more conservative, breaking through to the
top level was tough. I hope I can participate in leading the way
for more women of our culture to undertake similar endeavours,”
Other respondents suggest that this phenomenon is diminishing,
and many focus on the demands of the job instead of their gender.
Stephanie Fucetola, senior vice president at CATEX, says she has
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