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2018 Women to Watch EMEA: Ewa Machlarz

Ewa Machlarz
Senior vice president and chief actuary and head of business engagement

Travelers Insurance Co.'s Lloyd's of London syndicate and Travelers Europe Insurance Co. Ltd.

London
Age: 40

Ewa Machlarz urges other women in the insurance industry to not be afraid of speaking their minds.

“Share your thoughts and ideas,” she said. “Diversity of thought has been proven to positively impact” revenues, “so it is important for women to speak up.”

As chief actuary for Travelers Cos. Inc.’s Lloyd’s of London syndicate as well as head of business engagement across the company's European operations, Ms. Machlarz said she is excited to be in the industry at a time when it is ripe for technological transformation and to see what path her career might take as that technology shapes and transforms the future — and how her ideas can help to shape and transform the industry.

Ms. Machlarz worked at Hannover Re SE in South Africa while she was a student, alongside her studies in mathematics and statistics, and enjoyed the challenge of dealing with a variety of people, with differing opinions and the debates that ensued, leading her to choose a career in the insurance industry.

Ms. Machlarz has two small children and is a firm believer in flexible workplaces. But when returning from maternity leave and seeking to find a work-life balance, Ms. Machlarz realized that for many women this can be a difficult time. Those returning from maternity leave may feel a lack of confidence or be unsure how they now fit into their role, she said. Ms. Machlarz said that in her own experience returning to work four days a week, with a very supportive manager, she learned the importance of delegation and being efficient.

“I try to ensure that people are not sidelined if they work part time and encourage them,” she said. For example, employees working flexible hours might sometimes be overlooked for particular projects because of their schedules, she explained. “I try to build the work around them so that they do not get sidelined.”

Matthew Wilson, CEO of Travelers Europe in London, praised her “incredible drive and ability to gracefully challenge the status quo.”

NEXT: Delphine Traoré Maïdou
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