from the publisher of reinsurance and fac magazines

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But you could have been a merchant banker

Dear Friend,

Do you think that (re)insurance is still seen as a second-class career choice?

The other day at lunch I was being quizzed by an experienced and very switched on public relations consultant about my slightly strange career path from reinsurance broker via financial journalist to editor of Reinsurance magazine.

I’m used to telling this story, so I launched into the standard potted history of how I drifted into the London Market after graduating because it was a place where I could use my languages etc…

When I was briskly interrupted

“So, you had a good degree from a decent university and you went into insurance? You sold yourself short — you could have been a merchant banker”. The conversation then turned to how in the old days in the London market having a university degree used to be the exception rather than the rule. Back then those with degrees were often put on something of an untouchable intellectual pedestal.

My generation — the one that graduated in the late eighties and early nineties — was probably the first intake to see the balance swing in favour of having had a university education.

Well, I never wanted to become a merchant banker and if I were motivated to a greater extent by money I would probably have been a better (and happier) broker, and would almost certainly still be doing reinsurance rather than writing about it!

But what I find curious is that the attitude still seems to persist that a career in (re)insurance is somehow an also-ran choice a long way behind asset management, private equity, options/derivative/bond trading and M&A. Even accountants seem to pack more pulling power.

But you and I know that specialty and pure treaty (re)insurance is a far more interesting prospect than any of the other careers listed above.

All of human endeavour, vanity, fear, folly, misfortune and failure is here (just open any claims file). It might not be in the book, but we’ll do it anyway:

“You want to insure your football team against relegation to the little leagues? Come on down!"

“You’re worried about getting two hurricanes and a quake in the same year? — don’t worry, I know just the guy to help”.

“You use your helicopters for fish spotting in the Pacific? — step this way, please”

“You’ve got an Albino gorilla worth $20m in a Spanish zoo? Does he smoke?”

“You’re worried your supermodel might die of an overdose before your $50m ad campaign airs? Well, this could be tricky, but let’s see what we can do…

There is nothing remotely dull about any of this — so let’s stop putting up with our bad press and get out there and tell people what we do. I love writing about such an all-encompassing subject so much that I jumped at the chance of becoming editor here.

There is no reason why the brightest graduates shouldn’t be hammering down our doors begging to come and work for us, so let’s get to work.

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