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2020 Women to Watch: Preeti Asthana

Preeti Asthana

Preeti Asthana
Director, head of global programs, innovation and partnerships
Age: 42

As director and head of global programs, innovation and partnerships at Aon PLC, Preeti Asthana is tasked with finding emerging technologies and identifying their applications to the insurance industry. 

“I think of myself as a matchmaker between the incumbent space and the emerging technologies,” Ms. Asthana said. Extremely satisfying to her is understanding her clients’ challenges, making recommendations “and continuing to be part of that trusted adviser network.”

Before joining Aon in 2010, Ms. Asthana
worked as a technology marketing manager for Bharti Airtel Ltd. in India and as a consultant supporting client development at Bain & Co., also in India.

Key to her job at Aon is problem-solving for clients. “Clients are looking to people like me and my colleagues,” Ms. Asthana said. She kicked off a program earlier this year to support minority enterprises and look for partnership opportunities with Aon or clients. This involves mentoring emerging technology startups, “so they can get to the right investors,” she said. 

Part of the mentoring program involves finding ways to engage “with minority communities, organizations and startups so that they can attract capital and grow within their space,” she said.

Sumeet Bhatia, vice president, head of innovation at Zurich North America, who has worked as a client with Ms. Asthana, observed, “She’s analytical, a good problem solver, a strategic thinker, and she is passionate about driving innovation.”

At her core is a desire to elevate women. “I grew up in India in a family of three girls, and my dad was in the U.N.,” Ms. Asthana said. “He spent his entire life working for the girl child.” 

For the past 10 years, she has mentored women both inside and outside of Aon. When she started in the industry, she noted, “There were fewer women on the insurance side.”

To help rectify the situation, she is working on an initiative to bring more diversity into the insurtech sector, where there are even fewer women, “and in particular, very few women of color,” Ms. Asthana said.

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    The Business Insurance Women to Watch awards program highlights the achievements of female leaders in the insurance sector to celebrate their success and promote gender diversity in the industry.