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Nicola Parton

Nicola Parton

Nicola Parton
Managing director and global head of claims
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd.
Age: 41

New Zealand-born Nicola Parton says interpersonal relationships have been key to her success and are vital to the insurance and reinsurance business.

Ms. Parton, who trained as a lawyer in New Zealand and then worked for a law firm specializing in insurance law, says she was attracted to the industry by the variety of the work.

In 2000, she joined an underwriting business at Lloyd's of London, which gave her an “end to end” understanding of the insurance business, she said. She then joined Swiss Re Ltd. in 2003 and became head of claims for its Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd. unit in 2011.

Ms. Parton now leads a team of more than 200 claims professionals across the world and has global oversight for claims. In addition, she supports the business as a director, which has seen her become involved in acquisitions.

Ms. Parton said she has “the best job in the company, because every claim that comes across my desk is an opportunity to learn” about a product or type of business.

And her role as a director of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions means she is involved when teams are looking to underwrite new business in new territories.

“It is super-interesting, and the very joined-up approach we have at Swiss Re means I am absolutely engaged all the way through” the insurance process, she said.

Ms. Parton says the most important lesson she has learned is that “business at its best is about human connections.”

“You should enjoy the people you meet and really connect with them,” she said.

Showing some vulnerability can result in reciprocal benefits and help get problems solved, she said. “That is what makes work life, not life work,” she said. “If you take the time to share something of yourself, to be authentic, you actually become more powerful in the process.”

By Sarah Veysey