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2018 Women to Watch EMEA: Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin
Managing director, Pen international and financial lines
Pen Underwriting Ltd., a unit of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
London
Age: 52

Like many insurance professionals, Jennifer Martin didn’t initially see insurance as a career. Instead, she said she considered a variety of other callings, including being an actress or a journalist.

“I didn’t have a strong sense of what I wanted to do,” she said. But when she was offered a place in a graduate program in insurance, she decided to give it a try.

“It seemed interesting at the time, and that’s proven to be the case,” she said.

Her career has taken her from an underwriter at Sun Alliance, which is now RSA, to her current position as managing director of Pen international and financial lines at Pen Underwriting Ltd., a unit of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Ms. Martin said that when she entered the insurance business in 1988, she became “part of an exceptionally male-dominated industry.” She “overlooked sexism” along the way, she said, adding, “I believed in myself.”

Ms. Martin said it’s easier now for women in insurance than it was 30 years ago, but her advice to others remains the same.

“Always be proud of yourself,” work hard and focus on being professional, she said. “Don’t play on being a woman, be yourself.”

When she joined Pen in 2015, she became the company’s first female executive.

In her current position, she is responsible for profit and loss in a variety of areas, including professional indemnity, medical malpractice, a specific account for solicitors’ professional indemnity, international cyber accounts and U.S. property accounts.

“It’s quite wide and diverse,” she said. “It makes life interesting.”

While at Pen, Ms. Martin was involved in uncovering fraud that emerged when Pen acquired another company. A whistleblower spoke to her about concerns, and she advised the whistleblower to “write down all you have witnessed” but not jump to conclusions. The whistleblower’s information and an internal audit caught the fraud, which resulted in a criminal conviction.

Ms. Martin leads by example and is both energetic and enthusiastic, according to Pen Underwriting CEO Jonathan Turner.

“She delivers results when often other organizations require second or third opinions prior to commitment.”

“If you want to forge a career, then never expect others to forge it for you,” Ms. Martin said. “Take charge of your own destiny.”

NEXT: Sima Ruparelia
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