Instead of just celebrating International Women’s Day, StrategicRISK has decided to celebrate the achievements of some of our best and brightest women over the next two weeks. Stay tuned for more stories to follow!

Lynda Lucas, Airmic board member, previous chairman and director International Risk Management, Global Corporate Finance, Fujitsu

“Clearly diversity is important in risk and insurance because the more diverse input you get about something, the more robust your output will be and in our line of business that equates to superior resilience. When I started work, I honestly thought that equality and diversity would have happened by now and it’s really depressing that we still find ourselves having to talk about it. I am thankful that I thought I could do anything and grateful that for the most part I have worked with colleagues who weren’t overtly discriminatory. A great piece of advice I received was to look for the men who are ambitious for their daughters. Theoretically, they should be the ones who treat women in the workplace in the same way that they would like their daughters to be treated. I can think of a number of times when I was surprised to receive support from colleagues where I think that was likely to have been the key factor.”

Women leadership

Claire Coombes, Airmic board member, chair of Airmic’s risk management steering group

What advice would you give your younger self about working in the risk and insurance industry?

The breadth of the risk and insurance profession is amazing. Take every chance to explore new opportunities and try new things. Every time you learn something new, it makes you a stronger risk manager. In my career, I have worked in so many parts of the profession and gained so much knowledge and experience, so that I will always have an idea on how to tackle a new risk, even if I have never seen it before.

Why is diversity important in risk and insurance?

Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the benefits of diversity of thinking. I have worked with teams of different ages, different backgrounds, different sexes and different experiences and there is no risk or issue we cannot tackle by working together. The risk management profession is diverse in itself; the world is full of different risks and there are so many individuals whose roles contribute to managing those risks. The Airmic membership includes risk managers from a variety of roles, including insurance, ERM, internal audit, Business Continuity, IT, Public Relations, Data Protection, Security, ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance), legal and many others. There is a natural opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and apply them to your own role. I am excited about how this diversity will enable us to tackle future risk of which we are not yet aware.

Describe what the industry looks like in 20 years-time

I have seen some real shifts in what the profession has to offer over recent years and I see so much opportunity in the future. Personally, I have been encouraging cross-functional sharing of data to create insight, which is really valuable, and I see this being the norm going forward. For example, insurers and brokers providing information on causes of risks and claims more widely, so that everyone learns and can tackle risks proactively. I believe we will become even better at capitalising on the breadth of risk management and sharing lessons across different types of risk managers and industries to improve our understanding of risks. I’m excited by the passion of the youth in our profession, who I believe will create new ways to view and solve risks of the future. I think risk managers will also start to focus on the commercial opportunities of appropriately managing risks (including increased exposure to risks that generate value). I believe that Airmic has a key role to play in shaping this future and also facilitating the sharing of insight across professionals to maximise the opportunities.