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2017 Women to Watch: Gillian Barnes

2017 Women to Watch: Gillian Barnes

Gillian Barnes
Head of claims
Ironshore International, a unit of Ironshore Inc.
Age: 54

Gillian Barnes learned the value of hard work early in her insurance career.

Ms. Barnes, London-based head of claims for Ironshore International, a unit of Ironshore Inc., came to the industry in 1986 as an accident claims correspondence clerk for Municipal Mutual Insurance Co. after having studied law at university.

“I quickly realized that I worked in a fairly male-dominated environment in London at the time,” she said. “So I felt I just had to work very hard and try and do my best and work diligently and try to deliver everything I was asked to deliver.” 

Fortunately, Ms. Barnes said, she was working with people who appreciated her hard work and who gave her opportunities to grow.

“I am a determined person, and I’m always looking to reach the ultimate and not just second best, if that can be achieved,” she said.

Ms. Barnes worked for SVB Syndicates, where the CEO was a woman — Lorraine Adlam — which was very unusual in the London market, Ms. Barnes said.

“She was an inspiration in that she treated everybody the same,” Ms. Barnes said.

She joined Lloyd’s of London syndicate 4000, managed by Pembroke Managing Agency Ltd., as a founding member and claims director in 2005. She became a member of the board in 2008 when the syndicate was bought by Ironshore, which is now owned by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., where she has been involved in the company’s mentorship program.

“When I look around the office,” she said, “there are a lot more females present, which is encouraging. I think women in managerial and senior positions have also increased.”

When she’s not in the office, Ms. Barnes said she likes to get out in the fresh air.

“I’m lucky enough to own a property in Steamboat, Colorado,” she said. “It’s in the mountains, which is great for skiing and for hiking.”

“Gillian has established her impeccable reputation at the very heart of the London specialty insurance market,” Mark Wheeler, Ironshore International’s CEO, said in an email. “She has held positions of increasing responsibility as Ironshore has emerged as a leading global specialty insurer.”

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