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Aon Benfield France
Catherine Bourland says her commitment to building strong relationships has helped her reach the position she is now in and to “reveal my own strengths.”
A highly respected figure in the French reinsurance market, Ms. Bourland is CEO of Aon Benfield France. With almost 40 years of experience, including some time in the United States, working with people of different backgrounds and experiences has been key to building her career, she said.
“Access to high-quality people of different origins, training and nationalities enables you to better define and understand your own qualities, while identifying how to complement colleagues and cultivating skills to adapt to the business sector in which you evolve,” she said.
The most important factor in the insurance and reinsurance business is understanding risk — “its definition, its evolution, its complexity, its control and the solutions to master it,” Ms. Bourland said.
To do this, she said, brokers need to be “in the heart of our market, getting proximity with all its actors and being open-minded enough to accept that the risk evolves constantly.”
Ms. Bourland organizes and supports many networking and charitable events within Aon Benfield and the wider market in France.
Women do not need to be mentored specifically on the grounds of their gender, she said. “They just need to know that they have the talent for any type of job in our business and feel confident that they will be recognized as much as any other person for their work,” she said.
To anyone thinking of entering the insurance industry, Ms. Bourland says it is a creative, challenging and interesting environment in which to work. “Don’t be shy, and ensure that your specific qualities help the insurance world to progress,” she said.
Outside of reinsurance, Ms. Bourland has a keen interest in architecture and how it can improve people’s living conditions.
“Catherine justly deserves this position as one of the reinsurance industry’s most senior figures. She is a popular leader and client advocate,” said Dominic Christian, CEO of Aon UK Ltd. and Aon Benfield and international executive chairman.
The Women to Watch awards program has been significantly expanded this year.