Within the intricate landscape of the Lloyd’s market, global specialty (re)insurer, Canopius combines many roles and functions, including being a Managing Agent in the UK, a Syndicate Member and a Service Company.
Wearing many hats
Located in Sydney, Jeanene Hill, Head of Delegated Authority and Coverholders for the APAC region also wears many hats.
She has oversight of Canopius’s delegated business for all classes, plus she underwrites the property delegated authority portfolio for the group’s Service company.
“I’m required to have a detailed knowledge of Lloyd’s compliance guidelines and a good understanding of local regulations and jurisdictions in which we do business, as well as being across areas such as claims and risk,” Hill explains.
The second part of her role involves managing all aspects of Canopius’s delegated authority property portfolio, including a team of underwriters.
“I have responsibility for all aspects of underwriting such as profitability, new business growth, renewal strategy, distribution, contractual obligations, and both product and business development,” she says.
In addition, Hill is a director on the Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) board, a role she relishes.
Syndicate member and coverholder
To explain how the different elements of her role intersect within the Lloyds ecosystem, Hill describes Canopius in Australia as first and foremost, a Lloyd’s Syndicate Service Company — a market facing business unit operating on a binding agreement, supported by one or more other Lloyd’s members (insurers).
As an approved Lloyd’s coverholder, the company is authorised to enter insurance contracts, usually on a co-insurance arrangement with other Lloyd’s syndicate members in either Lead or Follow positions.
“Canopius is essentially an insurer for its share of any risk written alongside other syndicate members (separately not jointly),” Hill confirms.
All Lloyd’s coverholders must underwrite insurance through their agent known as a “Managing Agent”.
“In Lloyds, Managing Agents employ underwriters to bind contracts of insurance and reinsurance on behalf of Lloyd’s Members, the insurers,” Hill says.
Managing Agents are responsible for various insurance business activities and are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and Lloyd's.”
In Australia, Canopius’s Managing Agent is Canopius based in London.
Hill loves the fact that Lloyd’s is a globally recognised brand and the oldest continuously active insurance marketplace in the world.
“The corporation has a long and proud history and Australia is Lloyd’s fourth largest market,” she enthuses.
Creating a portfolio
Hill asserts that the depth of player expertise and breadth of products sets the Lloyd’s market apart, with customers given access to the combined scale, knowledge and capacity of an entire market, rather than just a single insurance company.
“For me personally, the tradition of underwriting at Lloyd’s is exciting,” she says. “There are so many moving parts to the job, including risk and compliance, client management, leadership and strategy. It certainly keeps me on my toes.”
In addition, working at Canopius has provided her with the ability to build and create her own portfolio.
“Working in this field is never dull. I love the fact that I get to use my technical skills, and still have the opportunity to meet amazing people and create relationships with clients.”
She is particularly proud of the opportunity to mentor many young underwriters. “It is always a rewarding experience to see them learn, grow and then spread their wings.
“Similarly, I have seen first-hand over the years how the insurance industry plays a huge part in society, particularly after catastrophic events.
“Being able to step in and support insureds during a time when they need help and assistance is an immensely rewarding feeling and one that very few people get to do in their working lives.”
First step, underwriting
Prior to joining Canopius, Hill held the role of Delegated Authorities manager at underwriter Talbot, which was her first step into the Lloyd’s ecosystem.
After finishing school, she studied business before applying for a data entry job at reinsurance company Mercantile and General, where she started working in the property division processing closings for premiums and claims.
“I wasn’t satisfied, so after six months, I moved into underwriting,” she relates. “Luckily for me, a colleague in the treaty team resigned and I was given her job covering property, marine and casualty reinsurance lines.”
Hill remembers the opportunity as "a wonderful step forward", as it gave her exposure to a number of different classes at an early age.
“Three decades later I am still in underwriting, and I couldn’t be happier,” she says.
Seize opportunities, learn from peers
For aspiring insurance professionals at Lloyd's, Hill’s advice is to embrace the historic marketplace, seize opportunities, learn from peers, and recognise that underwriting is a collaborative effort, relying on diverse skills and experiences.
“To excel as an underwriter in the modern insurance landscape, technical skills are paramount,” she says.
“Effective risk assessment with limited information is also key along with understanding the geographical location you are currently assessing.
“Likewise, you need a robust understanding of market dynamics, and the ability to collaborate with specialists are key attributes.”
Negotiation skills, relationship-building, and confident decision-making are equally crucial for success.
“The ever-evolving industry ensures continuous learning and growth, making the career of an underwriter a fulfilling and dynamic journey.
“Likewise, you need to know the cycle of current markets as well as have an understanding of the implications of what writing one individual risk can have on the entire portfolio.”
A collaborative effort
Hill adds that underwriting today is a team event, so you need to be able to work closely with other specialists such as actuaries, cat modelers and capital modelers, depending on the size of the deal.
“Importantly, you need to have good negotiation skills, be able to develop and maintain great relationships and have confidence in your decision making,” she says.
“My career as an underwriter is constantly evolving as the environment is always changing. I am still learning after many decades.
Hill feels fortunate to have chosen an underwriting career for Lloyd’s and to be involved in an “inspirational” organisation like Canopius.
“I am surrounded by great people who are all passionate about what they do and driven by how they can support their clients,” she says.