A new generation of trailblazers

09-11-2021

A new generation of trailblazers

Rishi Aggarwal, Convex; Caroline Berlo, EY; Kyla Evans, Marsh; Clare Finnegan, AM Best; Annia Simon, PwC

Bermuda is known around the world as the premier jurisdiction for re/insurance. Key to its success is the breadth and depth of talent on the Island. Bermuda:Re+ILS introduces its Rising Stars class of 2021—12 people who are blazing their path across the industry.

Bermuda may be a somewhat small island in the North Atlantic Ocean, but what it lacks in land mass, it surely makes up for in talent. 

As a leading jurisdiction for international financial sector business, Bermuda has always attracted people from afar, with many uprooting their lives and families to live and work on the Island.

That’s not to say that home-grown talent is scarce. Indeed, Bermuda has many top-quality schools and colleges that provide a world-class education and produce potential industry leaders, and the insurance industry has many initiatives to encourage and support young people in their career choices.

“Growing up on Bermuda means the re/insurance industry is inescapable,” says Rishi Aggarwal of Convex. He adds that re/insurance is “a major contributor to the Island and most people are linked to it in some way”.

The re/insurance industry may be omnipresent on Bermuda, but that doesn’t mean it’s attracting enough of the new generation required—and that needs to change. As many baby-boomers approach retirement, new young and talented hires will need to take their place, but re/insurance has traditionally had something of an image problem.

Caroline Berlo of EY explains: “There might be an out-of-date image of the re/insurance industry on a global basis. This may explain why it is a struggle to attract and retain talent. It is important for the industry to innovate their ways of connecting with the next generation.”

Thankfully, this image is changing and, as frequently happens, Bermuda is ahead of the curve in helping to foster a new image. From fostering connections with schools and colleges to building and increasing internship programmes to leading networking events and workshops, companies and associations across the Bermudian re/insurance industry are driving efforts to market the industry to the next generation.

“As frequently happens, Bermuda is ahead of the curve in helping to foster a new image.”

Adapting to change

Obviously, there’s still work to do. The wants and needs of the next generation of prospective employees seem to be wildly different from those of the baby-boomer generation. And we’re not just talking about millennials here—they’re already in the workforce. Members of Gen Z are beginning to join the workforce and start their career journeys.

The industry needs to consider how it can appeal to a younger generation that has a values-driven approach to work and wants a diverse and inclusive workplace, but also requires financial security.

Kyla Evans of Marsh Bermuda is confident that the industry presents a great opportunity for this next generation.

She says: “A career in the re/insurance industry provides you with the opportunity not only to change the way you perceive the world, but also to be involved in—and have an impact on—some of the most important and socially relevant problems that influence our experiences as human beings.”

It’s clear that the re/insurance industry isn’t stuck in the mud, refusing to adapt to changes. Take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. Almost immediately, everyone was working from home (and many still continue to do so), with the industry adapting well to the virtual world.

Clare Finnegan of AM Best adds: “The pace of change within the industry cannot be discounted. Working through the pandemic has only accelerated this change, leading companies to re-examine their traditional work cultures as well as expand their innovation efforts and partnerships—while developing new solutions to meet the needs of a transforming world.”

Similarly, Annia Simon of PwC says: “The industry has done a great job adapting during the pandemic; a similar approach could be taken to expeditiously adapt to the changing needs of newer generations.

“The industry must also recognise that this generation cares about working in an industry that has a positive impact on the environment and society; one that is also flexible and innovative.”

Essentially, it may not be a simple task to recruit the next generation, but it’s a challenge the re/insurance industry must face.

Convex, EY, Marsh, AM Best, PwC, Insurance, Reinsurance, Rishi Aggarwal, Caroline Berlo, Kyla Evans, Clare Finnegan, Annia Simon, Bermuda

Bermuda Re