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Rocío Leal Pasarán
Deputy Director of Property/Casualty Operations
Ace Seguros S.A.
Rocío Leal Pasarán leads property/casualty area operations in Mexico and Panama for Ace Seguros S.A., a unit of Ace Ltd., in Mexico City. Leading an operations team of 20, her responsibilities include the production operations of policy issuance, monitoring and managing systems for accounting, operational activities, generation of reports and billing in Mexico and Panama. Ms. Leal began her career at Ace in 1987 as an executive assistant. In 1988, she was appointed coordinator of insurance, and in 2002 she was promoted to her current role. Among her noticeable achievements, Ms. Leal in 2010 developed and implemented the overall business continuity plan program that ensures the personal security of all employees. She also heads the development of the e-learning courses that raise awareness for all members of Ace in Latin America during a catastrophe. She also in 2011 implemented Ace Green in Mexico, a corporate initiative where employees actively help environmental and conservation activities by recycling paper.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
In an older, conservative industry such as insurance, it can be easy to continue activities simply because “they have always been done that way.” Women can use this opportunity to bring a fresh perspective and challenge the reasons behind these activities and processes. We should not be afraid to create and innovate and to reinvent processes, especially with technology, which has become widespread and accessible for insurers, customers and distribution partners alike.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR LIFE?
The best advice that I received was from co-workers in my first job. They told me I was not different from anyone else, that I have the same capabilities as others to get things accomplished and that if I wasn’t able to accomplish something, it was because of my own limitations. We are the ones who set our own limits. Opportunities are given to everyone; it is just a matter of how you take advantage of them. This advice totally changed my perspective on how I approach things in life and at work and has helped me achieve excellent results. I encourage women to dare to achieve their potential.
WHAT’S THE BEST-KEPT SECRET ABOUT WORKING IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
The insurance industry is in constant evolution. We are given the liberty to create, innovate and implement in our field without limits. The value and understanding of insurance has not been very developed in Latin America. This is a very big market, which can keep expanding through new product coverages, marketing, claims management and constant innovation. People entering the insurance industry in Latin America are very prepared individuals representing a generation that is looking to enrich the business.
WHAT’S THE NEXT MAJOR CHALLENGE IN YOUR BUSINESS SECTOR?
I think the next major challenge will be to go paperless by delivering all the policies and endorsements electronically to eliminate the impact on the environment. This represents a challenge, because currently in Mexico there are many processes that are still dependent on having a paper record. Apart from the environmental benefit, better customer service — including faster response to clients and brokers — is a clear advantage of this effort.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELIEVE STRESS?
Exercise is my best way to relieve stress. On weekends I swim 2,000 meters, and during the week I do a lot of cardio and Pilates after work. As a pastime, I enjoy going to the movies and to the theater with my children. These activities help me add value to my personal time. I believe that people are divided into four equal parts: work, health, extracurricular activities and studies. These four parts must always be in balance — no one should place more priority on one than the others. It’s the only way to have a balance in life.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET VICE?
Eating Mexican food on Thursdays. For some reason my body has become accustomed to be rewarded on that day with this specific type of food. My favorite dishes are quesadillas, enchiladas, sopes and tortas. I am aware that this makes for a very high-calorie dinner, but it is the delight that it generates which makes the experience worthwhile.
WHAT SKILL HAS BEEN AN UNEXPECTED AID TO YOUR CAREER?
Being a multitasker has helped me excel in both my personal and professional lives. Being a single parent to my children, while juggling various activities and giving things the attention they need, I have had to learn to do more than one thing at a time. This efficiency applied to my work style has led me to be able to cruise through various activities at the same time and be successful at them, achieving the expected results.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far in my life, and there are two things that I would have in my bucket list. Traveling is one of my passions, but due to time and money I have not been able to accomplish (it); the places I would love to visit are Europe, Jerusalem, Japan and Egypt. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes when I am on holiday; having time to read books would be really rewarding.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature recognizes women doing outstanding work in insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.