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2020 Women to Watch: Nilay Ozden

Nilay Ozden

Nilay Ozden
Managing director and FINPRO practice leader, Continental Europe
Marsh Ltd.
Aged: 44

Having started her career in banking, Nilay Ozden made the move to insurance some 20 years ago and has never looked back.

She originally left her native Turkey to move to the United Kingdom to complete a master of business administration degree before returning to Istanbul, where she joined Marsh.

“I didn’t know anyone in the insurance industry but a job advert from Marsh really appealed. My MBA involved setting up a firm, including managing its risks, and the Marsh advert appealed to that enterprise risk management side.”

After a few years in Turkey, she transferred to London and joined Marsh’s FINPRO team, which handles management liability and other financial risks, and which she has been leading for the past eight years.

“It is an area for which I have a lot of passion,” she said.

The banking industry, where she began her career as an analyst at BNP-AK-Dresdner Bank in 1998, is often viewed as more appealing, but Ms. Ozden said she found FINPRO a real calling and believes she has had many more opportunities than she would have had in banking. 

That passion has led her to share her experiences through mentoring colleagues all over Europe. “I find I learn as much from them as I share with them,” she said. “Women should never impose boundaries on themselves — you really can be whatever you want to be.”

Shanil Williams, global head of financial lines at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, who has worked with Ms. Ozden, said, “As someone that always likes to see diversity top of mind, Nilay is a role model to many in how she acts and what she does with integrity and high professionalism. I am sure she will continue to become an even more important figure for our industry in years to come.”

Acknowledging the difficulties of the past year, Ms. Ozden said there has been one benefit — being able to return to a summer house in Turkey where she was able to unwind and enjoy a summer by the sea while working remotely. 

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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.