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International commercial director
Arthur J. Gallagher
The variety offered by a career in insurance and the power to help improve people’s lives are two of the reasons Vyvienne Wade, international commercial director at Arthur J. Gallagher, which is Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s international broking and underwriting division in London, enjoys her role.
Ms. Wade, who also is managing director of Gallagher’s operations in Latin America, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean, first came across the industry while studying commercial law at university and discovered it to be a fascinating discipline that does “not exist in a vacuum.” “Everything from peoples’ pets to oil rigs to national pension liabilities are insured, so the canvas for an insurance professional to paint on is almost without boundaries,” Ms. Wade said.
Ms. Wade began her career as a barrister specializing in insurance law before joining an international brokerage and then moving to another international brokerage, London-based Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C.
In 2002, she was appointed an executive director at JLT, then ranked No. 5 in Business Insurance’s ranking of top brokerages — making her the only female board member of one of the world’s largest brokerages at that time.
Since joining Arthur J. Gallagher in 2013, Ms. Wade has led investments in Norway, Peru and Canada and helped spearhead Gallagher’s drive to expand in South America, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Central Europe, among other things.
Ms. Wade said that among the best advice she has been given is that when you become responsible for a new area of business, steep yourself in that for at least 60 days before making any decisions.
“Write down on Day One what your thoughts are about the business and how you would like to change it and revisit that on Day 60, and almost certainly the answer will be different,” she said.
For women considering entering the industry, Ms. Wade said “it seems to me that the requisite skill sets are being bright and quick on the uptake; having an open and generally sunny disposition; being a good listener and a good advocate for your client’s position.”
“These skills can be found in the right people irrespective of gender or race, and there is no reason at all that women cannot have a fulfilling and interesting career in the insurance industry if they turn their minds to it,” she said.
Now in its 11th year, the Business Insurance Women to Watch awards program recognizes outstanding women in the insurance and risk management sectors, highlighting what they’ve achieved and examining the personal traits that have helped them attain professional success.