2019 Women to Watch EMEA: Alexandra PatonPosted On: Dec. 2, 2019 12:00 AM CST
Head of Continental Europe, financial risk solutions
Liberty Specialty Markets, a unit of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
An entrepreneurial mindset has been key to Alexandra Paton’s career success.
Having begun her career in New York after getting a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Paris-born Ms. Paton has worked in London, Europe and the United States.
After working at established insurers, in 2009 she and two business partners spotted a gap in the market and set up a managing general agent — Equinox Global Ltd. in London — and ran it successfully for several years before selling it in 2017.
That same year, she joined Liberty Specialty Markets and has grown the insurer’s financial risk solutions presence in Europe, employing the experience she gained at Equinox on a larger scale.
“My specialism is credit and political risk, and my role is to support companies that want to invest in infrastructure and asset creation and to assist emerging market projects to secure investment,” she said. “What I love about the industry is that it offers the promise of protection to people, businesses and communities — helping them to prepare for and manage the unexpected. Philosophically, you can’t better that.”
The insurance industry is becoming more diverse, she said.
“The industry is changing fast and becoming better balanced from a gender perspective, with women playing much more prominent roles,” she said. “My advice to women entering the profession would be to know where you want to be in 10 years’ time and then to invest in yourself, develop a network and identify a mentor — that is crucial — to ensure that you achieve your aim.”
Peter Sprent, global head of financial risk solutions at Liberty Specialty Markets, said Ms. Paton’s contribution to the business has been significant. “Alex has a constant focus on self-development and learning, which she encourages her team and the wider business to share,” he said.
Ms. Paton lives in London with her husband and two daughters and commutes to Paris, where her team is based.
“Even though my job takes me to Paris every week, I think it is important to balance work, family and some personal time, too,” she said.