Striding forward

01-08-2018

Striding forward

iStock / simonkr

In our annual look at the highest-profile female executives on the Island Bermuda:Re+ILS finds out in detail how much has changed—and what still needs to be done to promote equality and diversity.

For the fourth year running, we present Women in Hamilton, a feature profiling some of the most successful and influential Bermuda-based female executives working in or servicing the risk transfer sector.

As this is a project we carry out annually, every year we research a new list of executives to further demonstrate the depth of talent on Bermuda. This year we have added seven more names to the list.

While this is down from the 25 that we added last year, we decided that it’s important to keep the list as high level—and high-powered—as possible to ensure the maximum level of quality. Therefore, this list complements our previous research and it should be seen as a whole.

In addition, we have interviewed entrants from previous lists, including Laura Taylor, managing partner and CFO at Nephila Capital, and Megan Kempe, underwriter, US property treaty, Bermuda Reinsurance, XL Catlin.

The list of the featured executives can be found on page 34, after a selection of edited profiles published here in the print edition. For all the profiles in full, including career paths—from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018—visit our website at: www.bermudareinsurancemagazine.com for access to the full digital report.

The executives profiled were asked a number of questions including whether they think there are enough female risk professionals in the market, what the market itself is like and how they see the industry developing.

Free to speak out

Stacey Pimentel, senior vice president–portfolio management at Ariel Re Bermuda, says that while there has been undeniable improvement in terms of the number of women, with many now starting to feel comfortable with being more outspoken and contributing ideas in the workplace, there is still a shortage of women in the executive upper management roles. 

She especially points out what she describes as the “gross underrepresentation” of women in the software engineering sector of the re/insurance industry.

“It is an excellent field to be in and there is a shortage of good local talent in this space as a whole, both men and women,” she says.

“As a fifth generation Bermudian I will always believe in Bermuda and do think we are resilient as a country. Bermuda is in a very unique position and there is opportunity for continued prosperity but there is a lot of work that needs to be done in many areas. We cannot do it by ourselves. 

“We need to change with the world, pump new life and passion into our education system, get rid of out-dated laws/processes and allow equal rights to all. This will have a positive domino effect to the re/insurance industry.”

AnnCharlotte Lindgren, executive vice president, underwriting at Sirius Bermuda Insurance Company, points out that at Sirius Bermuda women occupy three of the five leadership positions. However, she adds, this is the exception rather than the rule.

That said, she believes the industry is aware of this and has made significant strides in attracting more women.

“So far, few have accelerated into senior management positions, but a pipeline has been put into place that we hope will result in a more appropriate representation of women in top positions in the future,” Lindgren says.

According to Lindgren, from a financial perspective the industry is in great shape, with continued mergers and acquisitions activity having led to to bigger, financially stronger, more efficient and diversified companies.

“Clearly the industry weathered the 2017 cat events well. On the other hand, it is challenging on the business side. Simply, there is too much capacity. The supply:demand equation is out of balance, especially on the property side.

“On a priced risk-adjusted basis going forward, returns are marginal, especially given the inherent volatility of the business. As an industry, quality underwriting has taken a back seat.”

Defeating unconscious bias

Pina Albo, chief executive officer of Hamilton Insurance Group, says that women are underrepresented in the industry in general, particularly at the mid to senior management levels. Albo says that there are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the manner in which unconscious bias in recruiting, promotion and succession planning continues to impact human resources decisions.

However, she adds, this shortage can be addressed, as companies can ensure that the manner in which they recruit, develop and promote is as equitable and as free from bias as possible.

“This requires a diligent, data-based strategy,” she says. “It’s important to establish a baseline of information, decide what the goal for representation is, and determine an action plan for achieving that goal.

“This should include diversity and inclusion training for managers involved in the hiring process as well as for those responsible for performance reviews and decisions related to promotion.”

Looking to the future, Albo says that Bermuda is well-positioned. She feels that while the global recession had a dramatic effect on Bermuda’s economy, there’s a sense of optimism in the current government’s embrace of technology and the potential for attracting foreign investment through initiatives such as blockchain and insurtech.

“Couple this with the maturity of the re/insurance market and you have an exciting dynamic of sophisticated innovation permeating the Island,” she concludes.

 

For the full report, click here.

 


Special report: Women in Hamilton

Class of 2018

Pina Albo

Company: Hamilton Insurance Group 
Job title: Chief executive officer

Timeline

Pina Albo joined Hamilton Insurance Group as CEO in January 2018. Albo began her career as a lawyer in Toronto, Canada. After practising in real estate, corporate finance and M&A, she accepted a position at Munich Re as a claims expert.

During her 25-year career at the company, Albo held increasingly senior positions which included head of casualty unit, North America/UK and international D&O/EPL; head of casualty operations at Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company; executive head of department UK and Ireland; president, national clients division, Munich Re America; and president, reinsurance division, Munich Reinsurance America.

Her most recent position at Munich Re was member of the board of executive management where her responsibilities included P&C business and operations in Europe and Latin America.

Albo currently sits on the board of directors for the IFG Companies, Blue Marble Microinsurance and Attune Insurance. She also serves as an ambassador for the Insurance Supper Club, an international organisation that aims to improve networking opportunities for women across the finance and insurance industries.

She has been a member of many industry boards including the boards of the Insurance Information Institute, the Reinsurance Association of America and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation.

She has been recognised for her contributions to the insurance industry and has received numerous awards including the Association of Professional Insurance Women’s Woman of the Year (2011). She was designated a Top Influencer in Insurance Business America’s Hot 100 list (2014) and placed in Intelligent Insurer’s list of Top 100 Women in
Re/insurance (2014 and 2015).

Is there still a shortage of female risk professionals in the Bermuda
re/insurance market?

The short answer is yes. Women are underrepresented in our industry in general, particularly at the mid to senior management levels. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is the manner in which unconscious bias in recruiting, promotion and succession planning continues to impact personnel decisions.

Is enough being done to encourage local talent on Bermuda to join
the market? Have you seen initiatives and momentum on this in recent years?

I’m very impressed with the manner in which the Bermuda market is employing strategies to encourage Bermudians to consider re/insurance as a career. Individual companies have internship programmes and award scholarships, and organisations like the Bermuda Insurance Institute, the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies, the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers and the Association of Bermuda International Companies all have initiatives designed to reach Bermuda’s young people with a message of welcome.

Many companies and associations are members of the Insurance Careers Movement which seeks to inform high school and college students about the many opportunities this industry offers.

How else can any such shortage be addressed?

Regarding the shortage of female representation, companies can ensure that the manner in which they recruit, develop and promote is as equitable and as free from bias as possible. This requires a diligent, data-based strategy.

It’s important to establish a baseline of information, decide what the goal for representation is, and determine an action plan for achieving that goal. This plan should include diversity and inclusion training for managers involved in the hiring process as well as for those responsible for performance reviews and decisions related to promotion.

What is your view of the current state of the re/insurance market in Bermuda?

Over the decades, the Bermuda market has proved itself to be a resilient one. No-one denies that we’re in a prolonged challenging cycle where rates, terms and conditions continue to remain unresponsive to catastrophic events like last year’s devastating storms.

However, the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) that we’re seeing reflect the market’s ability to shape itself to the needs of a global client base. Companies are making strategic decisions based on portfolio optimisation as well as core competencies. I’d say the current state is energetically fluid.

How well is Bermuda positioned to continue to prosper?

I’d say well-positioned. While the global recession had a dramatic effect on Bermuda’s economy, there’s a sense of optimism in the current government’s embrace of technology and the potential for attracting foreign investment through initiatives such as blockchain and insurtech. Couple this with the maturity of the re/insurance market, and you have an exciting dynamic of sophisticated innovation permeating the Island.

 


AnnCharlotte Lindgren

Company: Sirius Bermuda Insurance Company
 Job title: Executive vice president, underwriting

Timeline

AnnCharlotte Lindgren has overseen the day-to-day management of property business written by Sirius Bermuda since 2017. Her other responsibilities include oversight of the cat modelling team and being the point person for procedures, guidelines, systems and projects relating to the underwriting operation.

She joined Sirius in 1984 and held several key underwriting positions, including business unit/area manager for UK and Ireland, North America, Caribbean, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.

Lindgren relocated to Bermuda in 2006 to join White Mountains Underwriting Services. She is an integral member of subsequent group establishments in Bermuda, including White Mountains Re Bermuda, Sirius International Bermuda branch office and Sirius Bermuda Insurance Company.

Is there still a shortage of female risk professionals in the Bermuda
re/insurance market?

At Sirius Bermuda women occupy three of the five leadership positions. Unfortunately, this is the exception and not the rule. I believe the industry is aware of this and has made significant strides in attracting more women.

So far, few have accelerated into senior management positions, but a pipeline has been put into place that we hope will result in a more appropriate representation of women in top positions in the future.

Is enough being done to encourage local talent on Bermuda to join the market? Have you seen new initiatives and momentum on this?

At a high level, our industry has done a good job of encouraging local talent. There are organisations in Bermuda, for example the ABIR, BII and BFIS, which provide students interested in careers in the re/insurance industry with opportunities for education, training, scholarship funding, networking, mentoring and career advice.

In addition, the summer internship programmes have been fabulous opportunities for young talented Bermudians to experience the inner workings of a re/insurance company.

How else can any such shortage be addressed?

This requires a two-pronged approach. Companies must create an environment that encourages continued education, mentorship, a clear pathway for future growth and success, and appreciates the value of diversity and equal opportunity—not just for women, but for everyone.

In a perfect world the person most qualified/deserving gets the position. Women must also do their part and do what is necessary to put themselves in a position so that when opportunities present themselves they are ready to capitalise.

This includes, but is not limited to, establishing goals, planning to achieve these goals, having a great attitude and work ethic, being a team player and having the determination to be the best that you can be.

What is your view of the current state of the re/insurance market on Bermuda?

From a financial perspective the industry is in great shape. Continued mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity has led to bigger, financially stronger, more efficient and diversified companies. All positive. Clearly the industry weathered the 2017 cat events well.

On the other hand, it is challenging on the business side. Simply, there is too much capacity. The supply:demand equation is out of balance, especially on the property side.

On a priced risk-adjusted basis going forward, returns are marginal, especially given the inherent volatility of the business. As an industry, quality underwriting has taken a back seat.

How well is Bermuda positioned to continue to prosper?

Bermuda is well positioned to continue to prosper given its tax, political and regulatory environments—all in a welcoming, sophisticated and beautiful island with access to high quality local talent and one of the international financial centres of the world, especially for reinsurance. As long as complacency does not set in, Bermuda will continue to be a centre of excellence for years to come.

 


Kimberly Morgan

Company: Sompo International 
Job title: Senior vice president, healthcare insurance practice leader, Bermuda

Timeline

Kim Morgan is a senior vice president and Bermuda healthcare practice leader for Sompo International (formerly Endurance Insurance). She has more than 20 years of industry experience, including 12 years as an underwriter with Endurance. Prior to joining Endurance in January 2003, she was a broker with Johnson & Higgins Intermediaries and subsequently Marsh in Bermuda, as well as London. 

Morgan is past president of the Bermuda chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM).

Have the dynamics for women in Bermuda changed?

Opportunities for women in the insurance industry have always existed and remain strong today. During my almost 30-year career including three years in London, I have worked within multiple organisations as a business analyst, a broker, an underwriter and today, as the leader of Sompo International’s Bermuda healthcare practice. I believe that companies seek out candidates who not only have the requisite education and technical skill but are strong communicators with initiative, irrespective of whether they are male or female.

Some could argue that some lines of insurance may naturally be more male dominated, but I have covered energy, D&O and healthcare liability and would say my experience holds true throughout. When I was a healthcare broker with Marsh in London, as a woman, I was a minority but I was never treated differently. Like anywhere, I had to prove myself and ultimately attribute my strong work ethic to the opportunities that I have been afforded.

Additionally, I am fortunate to have worked with exceptional leaders throughout my career, each imposing a strong culture that demands accountability but also respect for an equitable work/life balance.

Is there a shortage of opportunities for women in insurance?

Quite the contrary! While there is no question that the recent M&A activity has reduced the number of insurance positions available in Bermuda, opportunities do remain for those with a solid education, initiative, and a relevant skillset. At Sompo International, there is an even split among the four Bermuda insurance practice leaders and most of our underwriters and support staff are women. As Sompo International grows and meets potential candidates, we focus on ensuring that we have the most qualified individual in each role.

Can more be done to encourage women into risk and insurance?

Most definitely. I think we can do better at promoting the opportunities that exist by de-mystifying the many facets of our jobs to candidates. For example, within the healthcare space, while much of what we do is technical and analytical, we also get to meet with hospital CEOs, CFOs, CMOs. We have the opportunity to hear first-hand how they are dealing with the changing US healthcare environment as a result of healthcare reform and then work with them to tailor specific coverages to their respective needs. It is all very interesting and couldn’t be more topical.

For students who are interested in insurance, I would encourage them to pursue a degree in insurance and risk management to help differentiate themselves in this competitive hiring market. Yes, companies are looking closely at expense ratios and with that, hiring practices, but with an aging workforce, having a strong, well trained bench is imperative to successive planning and the bottom line.

Are you positive about Bermuda’s future?

Yes, I’m very positive. In my opinion Bermuda remains a relevant market and is very well positioned to continue offering significant capacity and creative products to our clients worldwide. A perfect example of this is the recent Bermuda Healthcare Forum, where over 200 clients and brokers came to Bermuda to attend.

Thought-provoking sessions on emerging risks as well as the ability to network with peers were noted as some of the highlights, with many attendees requesting to make this an annual event instead of hosting every other year. As long as we continue to be innovative, Bermuda’s future will remain strong.

 


Stacey Pimentel

Company: Ariel Re Bermuda (member of the Argo Group)
 Job title: Senior vice president–portfolio management

Timeline

Stacey Pimentel has 18 years of experience in the re/insurance industry. She holds a Master’s degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts. Pimentel began her career at ACE Tempest Re (which has been part of the recent M&A activity and is now branded as Chubb).

She started out building exposure management modules within underwriting systems. In 2004, she moved on to PXRE where she had the opportunity to design and build a new underwriting risk management system. Since 2009, Pimentel has been part of the Ariel Re team.

Is there still a shortage of female risk professionals in the Bermuda
re/insurance market?

There definitely has been an increase over the last five to 10 years of female risk professionals. There is undeniable improvement and women are now starting to feel comfortable with being more outspoken and contributing ideas in the workplace.

However, there is still a shortage of women in the executive upper management roles. In addition, and closer to my heart, is the gross underrepresentation of women in the software engineering sector of the re/insurance industry. It is an excellent field to be in and there is a shortage of good local talent in this space as a whole, both men and women.

Is enough being done to encourage local talent on Bermuda to join the market? Have you seen new initiatives and momentum on this?

There are some wonderful programmes that are helping to build local talent but there is always room for more in my view. The under-40s programme has always been a huge success but this is for individuals who are already in the market.

More recently, programmes such as hosting university visits within companies where each department can give an overview of their duties has provided a lot of insight to students who are not aware of all the different operational areas needed to run a successful re/insurance company.

The Technology Leadership Forum Internship Programme is also a great way for local information technology students to be exposed to the various career paths available in the industry.

How else can any such shortage be addressed?

I do believe as a country we need to target high-schools with more awareness of the various paths that students can take within the industry. This is starting to happen more as we’ve recently had a new employee start fresh out of college and he did take the time to go back to the high school he graduated from to chat with the students.

It is great practice for young talent to grow as public speakers and helpful for students to hear from someone they perceive as a peer.

What is your view of the current state of the re/insurance market on Bermuda?

I view the current market as part of a cycle. It is reminiscent of the 1990s when there was a great deal of M&A activity similar to today’s.

After last year’s events there was hope that there would be a shake-up in the market creating improvement but there is still a decline in pricing and M&A continues. I don’t think it’s over yet and I believe the market is still fairly stagnant at the moment.

However, I hope that the next re/insurance boom in Bermuda is coming. It will most likely look a little different from the class of 2005/06 startups. There will, I hope, be new and improved business models making better use of the evolution of technology in this digital era. We will need new young talent to take us through the next wave.

How well is Bermuda positioned to continue to prosper?

I am an optimist at heart. As a fifth generation Bermudian I will always believe in Bermuda and do think we are resilient as a country. Bermuda is in a very unique position and there is opportunity for continued prosperity, but a lot of work needs to be done in many areas.

We cannot do it by ourselves. We need to change with the world, pump new life and passion into our education system, get rid of outdated laws/processes and allow equal rights to all. This will have a positive domino effect to the re/insurance industry. If we don’t catch up to the rest of the world we will be left behind.

 


Lindsay Roos

Company: Marsh
Job title: Bermuda Healthcare Practice leader

Timeline

Lindsay Roos began her career 14 years ago working as an intern within Marsh’s Morristown, New Jersey office. She spent the next nine years working between Marsh’s New Jersey, and New York City offices, doing casualty client advisory and placement work for large, global risk management clients. During this time, she concentrated on working with clients in the life science industry.

Five years ago, she relocated to Marsh’s Bermuda office where she has been responsible for placing and managing excess liability programmes with Bermuda insurers on behalf of Marsh clients. Her portfolio is based on clients within the healthcare and life science industries. She also acts as Marsh Bermuda’s Healthcare Practice leader, servicing clients within the US healthcare industry and managing a team of Bermuda healthcare brokers.

Is there still a shortage of female risk professionals in the Bermuda re/insurance market?

I don’t see a shortage of female risk professionals within the Bermuda insurance marketplace. Looking around the Bermuda marketplace, there is a strong concentration of female professionals at all levels. Many Bermuda insurers have a strong female presence within their C-suite/executive leadership teams.

In specific industries, such as healthcare, it is not uncommon to host a client meeting and have a room full of female underwriters in the room. Compared to other markets, I feel that Bermuda is ahead of the curve regarding female talent.

Is enough being done to encourage local talent on Bermuda to join the market? Have you seen new initiatives and momentum on this?

Bermuda is very supportive in encouraging local talent to join the insurance industry. There are a number of different internship programmes and professional associations geared towards attracting talent, including the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies, which grants scholarship opportunities for local talent to enter the insurance industry, and the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII).

The BII has recently announced a 12-month series of events to promote the professional development of women in the insurance and reinsurance sectors. This programme will also showcase female industry veterans, who will discuss solutions to some of the obstacles that are preventing more women rising to the top of the ranks in the industry.

What is your view of the current state of the re/insurance market in Bermuda?

M&A activity is prevalent for many of our clients, but also prevalent within the Bermuda re/insurance marketplace itself. The Bermuda market has shown itself to be attractive to many global insurance companies as a mechanism to grow their North American portfolios.

Given the nature of many recent insurer acquisitions, there hasn’t been a significant change to appetite. This M&A activity has strengthened the Bermuda marketplace through greater capital investment.   

How well is Bermuda positioned to continue to prosper?

Bermuda has a history of innovation with new products, new forms, flexibility, and superior talent. Bermuda is well positioned to provide clients with a suite of products, ranging from captive solutions, reinsurance, direct insurance, and insurance-linked securities.

While Bermuda is considered to be a mature marketplace bringing stability to clients, it also is forward-thinking and continues to promote innovation, which I believe will enable Bermuda to continue to prosper in the future.

Bermuda, women in Hamilton, influential, 2018

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