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Chief Financial Officer
Magdalena Nawloka assumed the position of chief financial officer at Generali Poland, a unit of Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali, S.p.A., at the beginning of 2011. Her responsibilities include managing the financial risk of the organization, overseeing the accounting department, implementing financial control procedures, and financial planning. She also is responsible for the insurer’s risk management functions and Solvency II implementation. Ms. Nawloka reports directly to the Generali Poland board of directors. Her career in the insurance industry began in 2002 when she joined Polish insurer PZU Group and quickly moved up the corporate ladder to become a vice president and member of the board of the largest life insurer in central Eastern Europe with 16,000 employees. Ms. Nawloka gained international experience working as a strategic adviser for Eureko Insurance Group in Romania and Russia from 2009-2011 and as a member of the nonexecutive board of PZU Ukraine. A graduate of Cracow University of Economics, Ms. Nawloka holds a master’s degree in foreign trade and a law degree.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
Insurance is a part of the financial sector. To understand risk assessment and complicated financial investment products, you have to think in a structured and logical way and have strong analytical skills. So, in short, my advice would be to learn math.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR LIFE?
Whenever you make any business decision on behalf of the company for which you are working, always try to do it as if you were that company’s only shareholder.
WHAT’S THE BEST-KEPT SECRET ABOUT WORKING IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
It can be extremely boring for someone who doesn’t like working with numbers.
WHAT’S THE NEXT MAJOR CHALLENGE IN YOUR BUSINESS SECTOR?
There are a couple of them. It depends on the line of business. In both the life and property/casualty sectors, implementation of new capital requirements under the Solvency II rules will be a challenge. In life business, there is growing pressure to balance the demand for payment of higher commissions with the need for more transparency and ensuring that clients have adequate financial protection. In nonlife business, the impact of climate change will be a challenge. The devastation left by Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast of the United States is a recent example. Over the long term, challenges will be posed by the aging of society and the decreasing efficiency of pension and health care systems.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELIEVE STRESS?
I won’t be original, but it is mainly sports. I like to play tennis and go skiing, biking, running and horseback riding. However, I have found that the more experience you have in your job, the less stress it creates.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET VICE?
Sometimes I think that only I can do the job good enough. I focus too much on details and try to control the work of my people. But I am aware of this tendency, and I try not to micromanage too much.
WHAT SKILL HAS BEEN AN UNEXPECTED AID TO YOUR CAREER?
I have always relied on my analytical skills and opinions. Moreover, my decision-making ability has been an important skill. But my tendency to be competitive has also helped me throughout my career.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
To achieve true work/life balance. While I have achieved a lot in the pension and insurance sectors, I’m still career building. Maybe there will be a time for me to work in the banking industry? Or maybe I will take responsibility for a business in a group of countries? At the same time, I would like to spend more time with my family, maybe take a long trip with my husband and sons to explore the United States from coast to coast.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature recognizes women doing outstanding work in insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.