Pursuing Better Together with Vicky Carter
Vicky Carter talks about her drive to succeed in the (re)insurance arena, the importance of empowering the next generation of talent, and why collaboration will be key for Lloyd’s and the wider insurance industry to remain relevant.
There can be few people in the (re)insurance sector who have broken more new ground or helped overcome more barriers than Guy Carpenter’s Vicky Carter. A true market pioneer, she was the first female founder of a Lloyd’s intermediary, has led numerous market-advancing initiatives, and recently became the first female Deputy Chair of Lloyd’s.
“It was never my plan to come into the market and achieve all of those things,” Vicky explains. “What I love about this industry is that there are so many potential avenues to go down and opportunities to pursue. I’ve always taken those opportunities that have come my way and have never been frightened to do so.”
“I never planned to become the first female founder of a Lloyd’s business,” she continues, “it was simply something that happened by circumstance. I saw it as a chance to jump further up the ladder. It was an opportunity to try and succeed, do well and build my market reputation.”
However, building that reputation in the very much male-dominated marketplace that existed in Lloyd’s in 1992 was no small feat.
“There was no doubt that I had to be fiercely protective of my reputation at that time,” Vicky says. “It was essential to prove to people that I was there because I can do the job, as opposed to being there because I was female. That continues to be the most important thing for me – that people value me for the work that I do.”
However, when the subject of breaking perceived market boundaries arises, Vicky is quick to point out that what some categorise as boundaries she often views as obstacles that people need to be overcome.
“If you are faced with an obstacle of any sort, the way to get around it is to prove you are better,” she says. “If a person is trying to obstruct your career in any way, then try to go around them by proving them wrong or showing that your solution or approach is the better one.”
The industry Vicky believes provides an extremely fertile environment for those building their career to thrive, with the rapidly expanding risk horizon providing a huge opportunity for developing new approaches and solutions to the exposure challenges.
“If you look at the environment we are in today, it’s clear that we are on an incredible learning curve,” she says. “We’re moving into an extremely volatile time with climate change, inflation, political instability, economic crises and pandemics all creating opportunities to learn as we work our way through a very complex and complicated world.”
For the industry to meet these increasing exposure demands, the ability of companies to attract and nurture the sharpest talent will be critical. As the creator and driver behind the Marsh McLennan Rising Professionals’ Forum and Gala, Vicky fully believes that being able to bring out the best in future industry leaders is key.
“If companies aren’t empowering these rising professionals, they’re not going to succeed,” she says. “They have such a voracious appetite for learning, and they look at things very differently and maybe they have a better way of approaching something or doing something. I regularly meet some amazingly talented young people – as an industry we need to encourage them, because if we don’t, we’ll stagnate.”
Turning the conversation to developments within the Lloyd’s market and how it is shaping itself to address the more complex world she highlighted earlier in the conversation, Vicky talks about the market’s clarity of vision and the need for collaboration to ensure that, in line with the theme of the conversation, the market is in a position to pursue better together.
“Lloyd’s represents the most amazing concentration of intellectual capital,” she says, “and is the last true face-to-face marketplace. It’s imperative that the market remains relevant, and I think that the vision that the executive has created is absolutely spot on – but we need to ensure that we are collaborating to make sure that vision succeeds.”
Aligning her comments with the subject of Pursuing Better Together, Vicky believes that if not only Lloyd’s, but the insurance market as a whole is to succeed in managing an increasingly diverse and severe scope of risks, it must do so through collaboration.
“This is an industry built on teamwork,” she concludes. “When you collaborate with other people and bring the best knowledge and the best brains together, you can create amazing things. It’s that ability to tap into the information, the data, the intellectual capital across our industry, working together to create the products to navigate a world that is only going to become more volatile.”
About Arch Insurance International Podcasts
During our Pursuing Better Together series, we’ll hear from luminaries both inside and outside of the insurance industry about how they have “pursued better” within their chosen professions.