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CLAIRE TORKINGTON Senior vice president and team leader


San Francisco

Born in Mexico City to a Mexican mother and English father, Claire Torkington traveled widely as her father’s job took the family around the world. She continued the international theme with her education, gaining a master’s at Edinburgh University before taking an underwriting job in London. She moved back to the U.S., gained an MBA and in 2017 moved over to the brokerage side with Aon, where many of her clients are in life sciences and technology.


What’s your advice on navigating the current insurance market?

Focus on both the hard skills and the soft skills. Build as much knowledge as you can, whether it’s just listening to conversations with senior individuals within your firm or externally, and getting those hard knowledge skills. But, with the reduction in travel, building relationships is more important than ever. We are still a very relationship-focused industry and, even if you can’t meet someone in person, being able to pick up the phone and have a conversation becomes very important.


What’s a problem that needs fixing in your sector?

The industry has done a lot in terms of diversity and inclusion, but it’s an area that needs to be focused on and highlighted. Aon, for example, has a wonderful apprenticeship program, which is incredible in terms of building that pipeline, but I think one of the problems that our industry continues to have is there’s a lack of diversity within middle management. I’ve been incredibly fortunate and privileged to have wonderful mentors, but how do we continue to bring other diverse candidates into those positions?


What is something about you that would surprise people?

That I’m Hispanic, given my last name. Another little fun fact is that I have three passports: British, Mexican and American.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

A marine biologist.