9 April 2024NewsFeature

Rising Star Hannah Greenwood

Fidelis chief of staff and former broker Hannah Greenwood's willingness to seek out new opportunities has helped her progress through the industry. 

Hannah Greenwood’s career started as a Lloyd’s of London graduate before becoming a broker. She is  now chief of staff at Fidelis Insurance Group in Bermuda. The 33-year-old credits her willingness to seek out development opportunities for her success in the industry.  

Give us a snapshot of your career to date.

I started in the industry on the Lloyd’s graduate scheme after participating in the graduate internship programme. The graduate scheme provided a great view of underwriting process, exposure management and specialty insurance and opened up a world of future opportunity. 

Having always thought I would end up being an underwriter, during the graduate programme, I chose to challenge myself with a broking market secondment. I spent six months at small independent broker NMB placing political risk and trade credit business where I was encouraged to master both technical, and placing capabilities. After six months, I transitioned into the upstream energy team focusing on placing large, complex risks. I loved the negotiations, relationship management and the satisfaction that came from winning a piece of new business or placing something which came down to the wire. I spent six years at NMB, which later became Ed, progressing to divisional director.

I’ve always been conscious of my career trajectory and determined to look and ask for development opportunities. Following the acquisition of Ed by BGC, I was chosen as part of a small select team of employees to participate in a strategic project with the senior management. This opened my eyes to how businesses are run, the role of executive management and strategy. This really interested me and I wanted to know more – I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to take on the role of business manager for CEO Steve Hearn. This was an incredible learning curve, where I was exposed to M&A, business planning, operations, budgeting, technology, sales planning, recruitment, stakeholder management, across a multinational specialty broking business. During this time, I also completed my MBA with University of Warwick Business School.

Looking to use my experience and a new challenge - I joined the leadership team at Fidelis Insurance Group as Chief of Staff in June, 2023 prior to the company’s IPO launch on the NYSE. This involved a move to Bermuda to work alongside CEO Dan Burrows across strategy and execution and a transfer from broking to a risk bearing entity.  I’m now coming up to a year with the business and love how varied my role is. I’m excited to build my future with the company and the team we have here in Bermuda!  

How did you come to choose a career in re/insurance?

A little bit of luck and chance – unlike most people I didn’t know anyone who worked in the industry. Having attended university from 2009 to 2012, the employment market was still recovering from the aftermath of the financial crisis. I knew that I wanted to work in financial services, but was put off by more volatile industries like banking, During some research, I came across Lloyd’s of London – I applied for an internship and the rest is history! 

What makes the re/insurance industry attractive to young professionals?

Firstly, the industry is incredibly interesting and dynamic! Risk transfer helps the world go round, underpinning major transactions, companies and assets down to small businesses and individual livelihoods. It has to evolve and develop and react as new and unexpected risks develop. 

Secondly, the industry offers incredible versatility - there is so much opportunity across the industry with its multitude of roles to suit every skillset and no one set path forward. 

What are the opportunities and challenges you’ve faced?

I have had the chance to meet amazing people, from clients to industry veterans to contemporaries and colleagues and to travel to various places across the world with work. I have also had constant opportunities to learn and develop – which means I have never had the chance to get bored!

In terms of challenges, in what still, at many levels is a male dominated industry, I have struggled to find strong female role models in the positions I would one day like to be in – although I think this is beginning to change.

I also recently gave birth to a baby girl so I’m sure my challenge now is how to juggle career ambitions and motherhood – all with a lot less sleep!

Was there someone who inspired you or acted as a mentor in your career?

I’ve been very lucky throughout my career and have always had incredible managers who were interested in my development. 

As a broker, my line manager taught me the value of fostering a culture of loyalty by building a great and motivated team, operating as a team player, working hard but remembering to have fun doing it and a culture of meritocracy.  As I moved into more of a strategic role, our CEO gave an enormous amount of his own time to mentor me, involve me,  encourage and commit to my professional development - whilst teaching me that I was only limited by the scope of my own ambition. I wouldn’t have been able to take on the role I have now without that.  

What differences does your generation bring to the industry?

I think every industry benefits from diversity whether it is through age, gender, race etc. An older generation brings experience, insight and knowledge whilst allowing a younger generations thoughts to be heard which can challenge the status quo, and bring insights from their different experiences. Some companies are using this balance to their advantage and to inform their strategy –through initiatives such as shadow boards! 

Is the industry welcoming to younger people?

While the new flexible work environment post COVID has many benefits, I think being in the office on a more full-time basis offers young professionals opportunities it is difficult to replicate over zoom. So much of your experience at work is feeling part of a team and being able to learn and develop from your superiors and build your network and relationships.

I also think we need to be better at promoting the career opportunities available in  our industry to attract the best talent!

What are your career goals?

Keep learning, feeling challenged and saying yes to opportunities!

Build my leadership profile – and set an example of the opportunities available for women within our industry.

If you had chosen a different career, what would it have been?

A doctor – I imagine every day to be like an episode of ER!

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More on this story

20 March 2024   The company will be rebranding at the end of March.
9 April 2024   Premia Re's Courtney Fisher says re/insurance offers the opportunity to blend technical and interpersonal skills.
12 April 2024   The RenaissanceRe senior accountant says his generation are problem-solvers.