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2018 Break Out Awards, Northeast: Robert O’Connell

2018 Break Out Awards, Northeast: Robert O’Connell


Lead cyber underwriter

Odyssey Reinsurance Co.

New York

Age: 28

Robert O’Connell serves as lead cyber underwriter for Odyssey Reinsurance Co. Before joining OdysseyRe, Mr. O’Connell held a number of successive underwriting roles with Chubb Ltd. and its predecessor company, Ace Ltd., across North America.

Emerging risks in your specialty

My area of specialty — cyber and technology risk — is continuously being redefined by a revolving door of emerging threats and risk factors. While innumerable and constantly shifting, they currently include the explosion in consumer/industrial (“internet of things”) adoption, autonomous vehicles, systemic infrastructure vulnerabilities, increased nation-state aggression, the low-cost “democratization” of sophisticated malware, and the emerging labyrinth of global breach laws and regulations.

Job change over the next 10 years

In general, I’m bullish on the role technology will play in the development of our industry over the next 10 years. Data and analytics are rapidly becoming more sophisticated, and I believe the insurance industry is finally turning the corner in distilling relevant insights from the vast yet jumbled caches of “big data.”

Advice to someone starting in the business

Be patient, stay humble and focus on learning as much as possible about both your product line and the rest of the insurance industry.

Best-kept secret about insurance

The fact that the insurance (and reinsurance) career track remains a virtual secret on most U.S. college campuses is astonishing. I largely attribute this to the widespread, yet highly inaccurate perception that the industry is slow-adapting, technophobic and innovation-resistant.

Favorite meal

The lobster roll at Boston’s B&G Oyster.


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