A Bermudian-based reinsurance specialist has been chosen as this year’s global international ambassador of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Society.
It is the first time the island has been selected to perform the year-long role, and Rachael Afford is only the second woman to hold the position.
She will attend the CPCU society’s annual meeting in Orlando this September, and she will be joined by Bermuda student Carmela Robinson, who is three years into a risk management and insurance degree at Temple University in Philadelphia.
The selection of Ms Afford as the international ambassador for CPCU has been described as “a feather in the cap” for Bermuda and its insurance and reinsurance sector.
Ms Afford is a vice-president, speciality reinsurance, at Allied World Assurance Company, where she has worked for the past 13 years.
She was aware of the rotating ambassador role, but had not considered herself a candidate until she received a personal e-mail from the Society encouraging her to apply.
She felt more involved with the Women in Reinsurance group on the island than the CPCU branch, however her involvement with WiR was seen as a positive attribute by the Society.
The international ambassador role was created in 2012 and has previously been held by four men and one woman, representing Saudi Arabia, India, France, Guam and China.
Ms Afford was delighted to be selected. She said the four-day event in Orlando will be an opportunity to network and to highlight Bermuda’s insurance and reinsurance community.
When she returns, one of her duties as the international ambassador will be to connect with a number of people in Bermuda and promote the work and objectives of the CPCU.
Ms Afford received her CPCU designation in 2012, and also earned the associate in Commercial Underwriting and the associate in Reinsurance professional designations.
She had a background in nutrition before switching to a career in reinsurance — a decision she is glad to have made.
“It was not a career I thought about before. But now I love this industry, and it is interesting work,” she said.
Adam Adamson, president of the Bermuda chapter of the CPCU, said: “This is the first time that someone from Bermuda has been chosen ahead of candidates from other international chapters to be the ambassador. It is a feather in the cap for Bermuda.”
The CPCU branch in Bermuda has 208 members, making it the second largest outside the US.
“This is a real testament for Bermuda and for Rachael to be selected,” said Mr Adamson, who is assistant vice-president, casualty, at Aon Risk Solutions in Bermuda.
He and Ms Afford praised the Bermudian-based companies that have supported employees in their pursuit of professional designations, particularly the CPCU.
Joining Ms Afford at the CPCU event in Orlando will be Bermuda’s Carmela Robinson, who is completing the third of four years of a risk management and insurance degree at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Ms Robinson is currently doing a second summer internship at Chubb, and is a former student of Berkeley Institute.
She applied to attend the Orlando event through the CPCU Society in the US. Her university professor wrote a letter of recommendation and told her it would be a great experience.
“I’ll be able to attend the confirmation ceremony and meet up with a mentor. There is a six-month programme where we meet with a mentor in the industry,” she said.
Ms Robinson said that while at Berkeley Institute she had initially been set on pursuing a career in law until she met some underwriters and learnt about their jobs and the opportunities of the sector.
She said: “With a career in insurance you are able to travel and it is a broad industry with many opportunities. I love it and I have learnt so much.”
She is also one of the interns in this year’s overseas “intro-to-insurance” programme run by the Bermuda Foundation of Insurance Studies.