Leila Madeiros, ABIR senior vice president, deputy director and corporate secretary is a Bermudian who has worked in the insurance industry for more than 25 years. Here she answers some of your questions.
Who and what is ABIR?
“ABIR (Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers) is a professional trade association representing 22 Class Four Bermuda insurance and reinsurance companies.
“This class is the category with the most stringent solvency and capital regulatory requirements.
“ABIR’s mission is to represent the public policy interests of these companies around the world, giving special priority to regulatory action in Bermuda, Europe, US, and international regulatory forums; and to promote Bermuda’s Class Four reinsurers as the best in the business.”
How many people do the ABIR member companies employ?
“Our members in Bermuda have operating subsidiaries in the US and Europe and these carriers derive business income from nearly 150 countries around the world.
“At the end of 2010, the ABIR membership had 1,700 employees in Bermuda of which two-thirds were Bermudian.”
What kinds of jobs are there in your industry?
“There is a wide array of careers represented in the insurance industry, such as catastrophe modeling (predicting weather-related and natural disaster probabilities and outcomes) and meteorology, to information technology, accounting, claims, legal, financial management, human resources, marketing and communications, and of course underwriting, which is at the core of the products which insurance and reinsurance companies sell.
“Most of these careers require an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and preferably from a well recognized institution.
“Bermuda is fortunate to have the Bermuda Insurance Institute (BII), which offers professional insurance and reinsurance-related designations such as the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU).
“Most of our companies offer summer employment for students where they can gain work experience and learn more about our industry.
“Some companies offer formal intern programmes both in Bermuda and at their offices overseas.
“College graduates accepted on these internships spend time in the companies gaining insight into the workings of a global organization and hands-on experience in a particular discipline such as underwriting or actuarial science.
“A solid education and work experience can only serve to help prepare one for the demanding and high standard of productivity that our industry requires in order to meet the needs of its customers, the policyholders.”
How do your members get involved in education, scholarships, etc?
“Many ABIR companies offer scholarships directly or financially contribute to support the many scholarships awarded annually by the Bermuda Foundation for Insurance Studies (BFIS).
“Qualified students are invited to apply for these scholarships, some of which cover full tuition, living expenses and air travel between Bermuda and university.
“Some scholarships also include summer employment opportunities.
“In addition, BFIS provides scholarship advice and coordinates internships both in Bermuda and overseas for those wishing to pursue a career in the insurance and reinsurance industry.”
Does ABIR reach out to students in any other ways?
“We recognize that it is extremely important for students to engage and network with those in our industry.
“ABIR member companies’ employees participate in the Annual Careers Fair at the ABIR booth, providing guidance and advice and answering questions about courses of study and sharing their work experiences.
“ABIR has also hosted an interactive local radio programme showcasing Bermuda’s best and brightest in our industry, allowing them to share how they started and answering questions from the audience.
“When called upon, ABIR companies recognize the value of networking and participate in other locally related career activities.”
What is one important thing you would share with those interested in a career in your industry?
“A quality education and a dedication to hard work will serve you well.
“Our industry is a dynamic one.
“And with the advent of changes both in the global financial services and natural environment, that will shape the future of our industry, we will continue to be able to respond to those changes in a way that meets our customers’ needs.”
For more information on ABIR visit the booth at this year’s Careers Fair or go to www.abir.bm.