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2019 Women to Watch: Sarah Robson

Sarah Robson

Sarah Robson
President and CEO
Marsh Canada Ltd., a unit of Marsh LLC
Age: 55

Born in the U.K. but raised in Canada, Sarah Robson said being asked to take on the position of president and CEO for Marsh Canada Ltd. after spending three years working for Marsh USA Inc. in New York felt like a homecoming.

“I have a huge passion for this colleague group,” said Ms. Robson of the staff at Marsh Canada in Toronto, where she worked from 2001 to 2015. “To be given the opportunity to come back and into this role was just an incredible dream.”

Like many others her age, said Ms. Robson, she “fell into” the industry after receiving her undergraduate degree when she couldn’t decide between law school or business school, and took a job with Chubb Canada as a trainee underwriting directors and officers liability insurance.

She embraced the industry and D&O, and had a significant impact on that line of insurance in the early 2000s, when capacity wasn’t available in Canada. Ms. Robson and her colleagues flew to London to educate insurers on the difference in risk profiles between the U.S. and Canada — leading the London syndicates to increase their appetite for underwriting D&O in Canada.

“She is absolutely exceptional in terms of her understanding of the business,” said Jamie Sokalsky, chairman of the board of Probe Metals Inc., who met Ms. Robson when he was an executive at a gold mining company that retained her to handle its D&O business.

Prior to taking the helm at Marsh Canada, Ms. Robson managed global relationships in Marsh USA’s consulting group, which afforded her the opportunity to travel and meet with women in insurance from different countries and backgrounds.

In one country, an informal mentoring situation might involve one-on-one meetings with female professionals; in another, it might consist of a large all-female luncheon where women felt they could discuss the stresses they faced as working women managing multigenerational families.

“I realized that I learned more from those sessions than they probably did,” she said, “and realized the huge power of diversity of people and backgrounds and how that translates into diversity of thought as well.” 

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