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Group Risk and Insurance Manager
NV Bekaert S.A.
Marie Gemma Dequae joined the NV Bekaert S.A. in 1985 overseeing building risk management awareness and setting up a global risk and insurance department. She is now the group risk and insurance manager at Bekaert as well as a director of Becare Ltd., the group’s reinsurance company in Dublin, Ireland. Ms. Dequae also has been president of the Federation of European Risk Management Assns. since October 2005. In addition, she is also vp of the Belgian Risk Management Assn. and was president of the association between 1994 and 2005.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "In the present changing world it is important to start with good training in the job, but education and training should be a permanent part of the job, for yourself as well as for the people you are working with. Good communication is also becoming a permanent element in risk management, as you will be dealing with a lot of different people in your company and also outside your company."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "In an earlier stage, it was my father who gave me his very good example, as a politician and top manager, and taught me how to deal with and listen to people and work hard to obtain good results. In a later stage my husband became my best supporter and helped with difficult decisions. He is always there when I need some support and he accepts with patience my very busy agenda."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "Referring to my first remark on a changing world, I think it is important that insurers follow these changes and the affect they are having on industrial and commercial organizations: Changes in processes, like outsourcing, insourcing, just-in-time deliveries, business reprocessing, and so much more, so that they can adapt their products to the changing industrial and commercial world quicker. The result is that we need adaptable insurances. So I would like the industry to become more creative and flexible in proposing new products."
Business Insurance's report on "Women to Watch" is our attempt to identify some of the women who are leading change in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.