Rising Stars 2023

Future insurance leaders of the UK

All of Insurance Business UK’s Rising Stars are committed and display a passion for the industry. However, there’s no uniform way to demonstrate that.

Using her expert insight, Deepti Vohra, partner at PwC, lists the ways in which younger insurance professionals can stand out as being among the best in the UK:

  • Maintain flexibility in their approach and opportunities to learn.  

  • Seek out the right environments and opportunities to shine. 

  • Engage in internal and external networking, such as iCAN, Women in Finance and Link. 

  • Remain open to getting involved and pushing outside their comfort zones. 

  • Act as thoughtful challengers to the status quo. 

  • Keep resilient in the face of change and uncertainty.

  • Constantly learn new skills and ways of working. 

  • Possess strong listening skills. 

  • Have a committed and diligent approach. 


Liisa Antola, policy adviser, diversity, equity and inclusion for the Association of British Insurers (ABI), adds, “Any rising star of the future must be ready to take on the responsibility of driving transformation and being willing to adapt in the process.”

Alicia Rodriguez Fernandez, Liberty Specialty Markets
“I still make sure I am well prepared for any meeting, presentation, but [I’ve realised] that nobody is expected to have all the answers”
Alicia Rodriguez FernandezLiberty Specialty Markets


What does it take for young insurance professionals to excel?

During the 2023 Rising Stars awards nomination process, IBUK queried some of the best young insurance professionals in the country.

One question was: What traits are important to generate rapid advancement in your career?


Regarding the rankings, winner Alicia Rodriguez Fernandez, 33, says, “I would agree that hard work, emotional intelligence, and specific management training play an essential part in professional growth.”

And she adds, “I would rank ‘long career at the same employer’ as the least relevant of this list, purely because it entirely depends on your company’s culture.”

In addition, Rodriguez points out that – at many companies other than her firm, Liberty Specialty Markets – external hiring practices continue to drive high attrition rates.

For fellow winner Tendai Msipa, 24, the number one spot is a “no brainer.”

“When you join the insurance industry, you don’t quite realise the amount of work that happens in such short time spans – the typical renewal periods,” he says. “Hence, I see hard work as the quality that holds the utmost importance and one that I have exhibited throughout my working life.

“The British industry of insurance is heavily based upon networking and having your own personal network that you can lean on, and emotional intelligence plays a very big role in that. Understanding how the law works and how to read the contract is also very important.”


Immigrant winners with advanced degrees

Rodriguez grew up in Spain, is multilingual and has an MBA. She began underwriting at Chubb Spain over 10 years ago. After emigrating to London, she worked as a broker and underwriter in international business.

“Deciding to move abroad to gain international experience has been the most difficult challenge of my career, but also the most rewarding,” she says. “It’s been challenging not only because of the language barrier and cultural differences or clashes, but also because learning a new role in a language that is not your own requires additional effort and it can be exhausting.”

Detailing how she dealt with the change in environment, Rodriguez explains, “I still make sure I am well prepared for any meeting or presentation, but I’ve realised that nobody is expected to have all the answers. We all make mistakes, and that’s fine as long as we learn from them.”

She had a spell at Probitas Syndicate 1492 in directors’ and officers’ and general liability underwriting positions and moved to Liberty Specialty Markets in 2019. As of May 2021, she has been the crime product lead for Liberty’s UK and Ireland team.

What’s the secret to Rodriguez’s success? “First of all, pushing myself to leave my comfort zone and not letting fear or uncertainty hold me back,” she says. “Equally, persistence and resilience have also played an important part in my career as facing challenges or having to adapt quickly to different or new situations is something we all face at some point.

“I strongly believe caring for what you do and trying to do your best in every situation is crucial to high performance. And treating people with respect and trying to be fair and empathetic is vital since every decision and action you take will have an impact on someone else.”

In the late 2000s, Msipa’s parents emigrated from Zimbabwe to the UK as political refugees. He studied law as an undergrad and earned a master’s degree in computer science.

At Satinwood Underwriting, he’s an underwriting data assistant.

“At the start of my career, I didn’t want to lean on anyone and didn’t want to ‘network,’” he says. “So, I signed up for a mentorship program and found that through reaching out to my mentor and asking them more nuanced questions about difficult topics within work about my diversity, about responsibilities outside of work, [I was able] to articulate myself much better in those instances.”

Msipa offers an insight into his mindset.

“I’ve always been one who says I’ll try something new, and I’ll continuously try my best at any given moment,” he says. “I’m trying to perpetuate my career, but it’s more about immersing myself in the learning of the insurance industry, other cultures, and the importance of diversity and inclusion.”


Key insight from UK Rising Stars

In becoming one of the best young insurance professionals in the UK, Rodriguez explains that building a successful career takes time and dedication.

“Working in insurance can also be really fun and rewarding,” she says. “It can give you the chance to travel around the world and work with people from different cultures and learn from them. It’s enriching.

“There are many opportunities and roles available, which will give you the chance to explore which one better suits your strengths and further develops your career.”

And Msipa touches on his ‘golden rule’ of getting involved.

“There is an open secret about the insurance industry: you are the most valuable asset because of your network,” he says. “They want someone who can go out and meet brokers and who can do the technical pricing or work behind the scenes. But ultimately, it’s about how you manage yourself under stress and are you able to communicate effectively?

“Those relationships will last forever because everyone in the insurance industry is in the so-called ‘square mile’. Everyone moves around in the square mile, and one of the things I’ve learned is the industry never forgets.”

PwC’s Vohra highlights the building blocks for young professionals keen to make an impact in the UK insurance industry:

  • Be curious and open to new projects and ideas.  

  • Build networks internally and externally. 

  • Have a continuous learning mindset and try to gain experience across various areas to find where their skill set really shines.  

  • Seek out mentors who inspire and challenge.   

Alicia Rodriguez Fernandez, Liberty Specialty Markets
“There is an open secret about the insurance industry: you are the most valuable asset because of your network”
Tendai MsipaSatinwood Underwriting


Rising Stars’ thoughts on the UK insurance market

Rodriguez says the insurance market in the UK has undergone significant changes over the past year. She says it is characterised by:

  • An increasing focus on digital transformation  

  • The rising importance of sustainability and climate risk management 

  • The recognition of the need for diversity and inclusion, in gender and ethnicity but also skill sets and backgrounds  

However, Vohra says, “There is greater representation in terms of diversity between the Rising Stars of today and a decade ago. This brings diversity of abilities and thinking. Young talent entering the workforce today are also digitally native, have been through a COVID environment, and are used to hybrid ways of working and utilising digital tools to collaborate and build relationships.”

Msipa says the insurance employment market offers plenty of opportunity for young people.

He adds, “I do believe that going on forward in the next year, there will be a massive amount of opportunity for young people within the insurance industry.”

The ABI’s Antola echoes this. “Our sector has made great strides on improving diversity, but there’s always more that can be done. The leaders of tomorrow will need to continue this work and also look to where we can learn from other industries.”

Meet the judges


Rising Stars 2023

  • Adobea Atsrefi
    Senior Claims Operations Lead
  • Alexander Gowing
    Vice President, FINPRO Specialty
  • Alicia Rodriguez Fernandez
    Senior Underwriter, D&O
    Liberty Specialty Markets
  • Alina Jipa
    Chief of Staff to the CEO
  • Alpesh Tosar
    Chief Operating Officer, Marsh Specialty & Placement UK
  • Alvertos Fiorantis
    Lead Data Scientist
    MS Amlin Corporate Services
  • Alycia Thomson
    Director, London Region
    PIB Insurance Brokers
  • Amie Studholme
    HR Operations and Reward Coordinator
    The Jensten Group
  • Andrew Corbin
  • Benji Avro
    Cyber Client Director
  • Cameron Wallace
    Commercial Property Adjuster
  • Chiku Tambala
    Senior Claims Consultant
    Marsh McLennan
  • Dan Pirozzolo
    Casualty Broker
  • Daniel Wells
    Partner, Marine and Cargo
    McGill and Partners
  • Echaunti Swan
    Operations Manager
  • Ed Ventham
  • Eilidh Green
    AR Specialist
  • Elena Lobacheva
    Head of Corporate Finance
  • Elliott Wallis
    Senior Marketing Manager
    Arch Insurance
  • Emma Chapman
    Head of Conference
    British Insurance Brokers’ Association
  • Ethan Godlieb
    Cyber and Tech E&O Broker
  • Fadwa Aboulhorma
    Risk Manager
    MS Amlin
  • Fatima Rehman
    Investment Specialist
  • Gaia Corbetta
    Senior Actuarial Analyst
    Arch Insurance International
  • Himesh Patel
    Mantra Insurance Brokers
  • Jake Nunn
    Employee Benefits Consultant
  • Jasmine Shell
    Innovation and Engagement Manager
  • Jason Cohen
    Head of Business Development
    Hamilton Leigh
  • Jon Marsh
    Managing Director, Partnerships and Transformation
  • Katie Mackie
    Digital Communications Coordinator
    British Insurance Brokers’ Association
  • Ken Kittoe
    Diversity and Inclusion Manager
  • Komal Quintieri
    Technical Team Leader
  • Layal AlHarahsha
    Commercial Property Loss Adjuster
  • Leah Church
    Distribution Strategy Manager
  • Lorraine Ekong
    Senior Cyber Claims Adjuster
  • Louis van der Lande
    Assistant Vice President
  • Markus Mohr
    Strategic Business Development Manager
    Pen Underwriting
  • Maxim Cook
    Link (LGBTQ+ Insurance Network)
  • Megan Brett
    Client Service Executive
  • Midhin Joy
    Risk and Compliance Director
  • Morgan Davidson
    Account Manager
    Ki Insurance
  • Pelumi Ojo
    Business Analyst
  • Philip Robertson
    Team Leader
  • Sebastian Prosser
    Head of Account Management
  • Shannon Adams
    Head of Service Delivery
  • Tendai Msipa
    Underwriting Data Assistant
    Satinwood Underwriting
  • Tharshika Sivanesan
    Manager, Deal Operations
  • Thomas Pereira
    Underwriting Assistant (Energy)
    Sompo International
  • Tom Murray
    Senior Partner
    NFU Mutual Yorkshire Central (Murray, Morrison & Knowles)
  • William Hone
    Development Executive
    Higos Insurance Services


As part of our editorial process, Key Media’s researchers interviewed the subject matter experts below for an independent analysis of this report and its findings.

Deepti Vohra

Liisa Antola
Policy Adviser, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Association of British Insurers (ABI)


In February, Insurance Business UK invited insurance professionals across the country to nominate exceptional young talent for the annual Rising Stars list.   
Nominees had to be aged 35 or under as of June 30, 2023, be committed to a career in insurance, and must have a clear passion for the industry. Nominees were asked about their current role, key achievements, career goals, and the contributions they have made to shaping the industry.
The final list of 52 Rising Stars was determined by an independent panel of industry leaders, namely, Ajay Mistry of iCAN, Michael Keating of Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), Steve White of British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), Kishan Mangat of iCAN, Amy Green of The Insurance Institute of Sussex and Maxine Goddard of Sompo International.

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