“Dynamic and exciting” are two words that are rarely used to describe the insurance and risk management industries. But those words ring true for Luke Ware (pictured above) and his career, which has spanned multiple global regions.
Ware, who was named Asia head of corporate risk and broking at WTW in October, took a path different from many others, who say they fell into the industry. He joined insurance broking deliberately after meeting an insurance professional.
“My father was the CFO for a large primary industry conglomerate and had a strong relationship with his broker,” Ware told Corporate Risk and Insurance. “His broker shared how his company was seeking applications for their graduate programme and expressed what a dynamic and exciting industry insurance broking was. My father relayed this to me and encouraged me to meet with the broker to learn more about the insurance industry. That meeting went well, and I was attracted to the industry off the back of that conversation.”
According to Ware, what brought him to the industry was working with a diverse range of companies and industries, the constantly evolving landscape of risk, and the opportunities for travel
“These sparked a desire in me to submit my application. It was accepted and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Before holding a series of leadership roles for WTW in Asia, Ware gained experience in Australia and the UK with JLT. Having worked across vastly varying regions, Ware said he picked up several important lessons from each, starting in Australia in 2001.
“The Australian market is extremely competitive with high insurance penetration, mature buyers of risk and a highly broker saturated environment,” he said. “Capacity for larger complex risks often required the support of global markets such as London and Singapore. This drove me to want to explore insurance beyond Australia.”
From 2007 to 2009, Ware was assigned to the UK.
“One of the major differences is that the UK market is a true global marketplace,” he said. “The size of the market and the industry as a whole is very ’visible’. It provided me with a real tangible sense of how large the insurance sector was, including the sheer size of premium volumes being traded. As an insurance broker, one can access non-company market capital and the varying structures of insurance placements to deliver optimum solutions to clients.”
Ware returned to Australia in 2009 to join WTW. Since 2016, he has been based in Asia, first in Thailand, followed by Indonesia and now Singapore.
“As for Asia, the insurance market is dynamic, fast-paced and heavily under-penetrated in many countries,” Ware said. “The maturity of buyers varies enormously. Although it is fair to say it is hyper-competitive and price-sensitive, the market offers enormous opportunity, given the size of both the population and economies within the region. The innovation and diversity of the markets brings a unique character to the region.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ware noted the rapid adoption of digital technology, changing the way people work.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption and migration to digital platforms, and that has positively impacted the growth of fintech and e-commerce,” Ware said. “Southeast Asia, for instance, is hosting more unicorns as the internet economy takes off, side by side with India. All these companies have expanded so quickly. Due to rapid digitalisation and change in business models, large and small companies all need to have a robust risk management framework and risk transfer solutions to help them effectively manage their risks in the increasingly disruptive and complex environment.”
Outside of work, Ware also likes to keep things dynamic and exciting. He is a music and fitness enthusiast, saying that he would’ve been a rock musician had he not met with the insurance broker many years ago.
“Throughout high school, university and during the first few years of my insurance career, I played in various bands and was fortunate enough to record a few albums, as well as touring and performing extensively,” Ware said. “However, my dreams of being a rock star are all but fleeting memories now since I gave all that up. Despite that, I still enjoy playing the guitar and DJing occasionally.”
Ware is also a triathlete, having competed in multiple ironman events.
“One particularly memorable race was a half ironman held in the Golden Triangle, which transverses three countries,” he said. “I started in Laos, swam down the Mekong River, exited the water in Thailand, followed by a 90km bike ride and a 21km run, which took me across the Thai border into Myanmar. That was a unique and incredible experience.”
With many formerly office-based employees now working from home, constant exercise can be a struggle, mostly due to lack of motivation. Ware shared tips on how he keeps fit in the new normal.
“What I have found works best is to have allocated days and time which I set aside for exercise,” he said. “Everyone is busy, so it’s important to have a dedicated and structured fitness and regime which we can be accountable for. It is also much more motivating if you set fitness goals as it helps you to work towards achieving them. That could be an upcoming local race, a certain distance to run or time spent exercising per week or day. And finally, find something you love to do – fitness should be fun and enjoyable.”