How to get ahead in the insurance industry

This CEO plans to motivate you

How to get ahead in the insurance industry

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

For Skye Theodorou (pictured above), the Women in Insurance Summit is her opportunity to give back to the industry.

“I am always eager to help anyone in their career, or business to get to the next step,” said the CEO and co-founder of the insurtech, Upcover. “It’s my way of trying to return the favour for all of those execs and incredible individuals that have taken the time to help me in my career.”

Theodorou said sharing advice and lessons learned with conference delegates is one way of doing that.

Developing industry skills and capabilities

Her panel at the summit, “Getting ahead – accelerating career and skill development,” will focus on how insurance professionals can reach the top of their game through self-driven learning and development. The panellists will discuss strategies to develop capabilities and skill sets for career advancement, including top leadership skills. The session will also look at how to overcome challenges like time management and career burnout.

The moderator is Drew Schnehage, managing director in Australia for Innovation Group, a firm specialising in third party claims administration. In a recent IB Talk podcast, Schnehage discussed her own career challenges, including gender discrimination and how to overcome a mid-career plateau.

Motivational tools

Theodorou said she plans to focus her panel contributions around motivating insurance professionals.

“I don’t plan on focussing on issues, more motivating ways for those attendees to plan their next career move or plan their side hustle, or next big decision,” she said. “Whether it’s a decision about family, personal life or work, these decisions interlink today more than ever before.”

Across the insurance industry, more firms are embracing this interlinking. Hybrid work arrangements and mental health schemes are examples of how companies are facilitating their employees’ career goals but in the context of a healthy work-life balance.

“Building a pathway to your goals, whether by finding a new workplace or a career that can help you fulfil all your aspirations, is a great place to start,” said Theodorou.

Insurtech investment

Earlier this year, Theodorou discussed her sector’s investment challenges with Insurance Business. As a result of arguably “crazy valuations” in the insurtech space in the United States, she said the word insurtech had become a “dirty word.”

However, she insisted there are still big opportunities in the sector for investors.

“Deals are still being done, depending on the venture fund, and where people are wanting to look at good deals for businesses that make sense,” she said.

The insurtech sector, said Theodorou, has “so much white space and, as brokers know, there’s so much to value to add.”

Career focused panel sessions

Gillian Davidson, senior commercial insurance partner with Sparke Helmore Lawyers, is taking part in another career focused panel at the Summit. “Fighting fatigue – How to remain on top of your game,” will discuss strategies to fight fatigue, boost resilience, and focus on self-care and mental wellbeing.

Apart from taking better care of current insurance professionals, Davidson’s firm is also looking at ways to bring more new talent into the industry.

“We’re trying to do a lot of things,” Davidson told IB recently. “We’re trying [to] develop relationships and sponsorship opportunities with universities and to educate students as they go through their degrees about the [insurance industry] opportunities available for them.”

She said the Sparke Helmore Insurance Academy is one of the firm’s initiatives. The program, said Davidson, provides education and training on key insurance topics, both technical and legal, for graduates, junior lawyers and clients.

“The central tenet of the program is to bust a number of those myths around insurance,” she said. “For example, we start with myth number one: insurance is boring and simple.”

Other panel topics at the Women in Insurance Summit include market trends and the future of insurance. The opening keynote address will be served up by Jelena Dokic, former top professional tennis player and now a television commentator, speaker and bestselling author.

Sparke Helmore is a Gold Sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include Innovation Group, Flynn Builders, Brooklyn Underwriting and AAMC. Marsh is the Event Partner.

The 2023 Women in Insurance Summit will take place at Sydney’s Fullerton Hotel on Aug. 23. The summit will feature a range of powerful keynote sessions, workshops, networking activities, presentations and panel discussions led by influential leaders from the industry on the industry’s top issues. You can register for the summit here.

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