Meet Siobhan Hogge, Senior Vice President Regional/Multiline Reinsurance, Sompo International
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
As with many in our industry, starting a career in reinsurance was purely by accident! I was on track to get my doctorate in Politics and French; however, after completing my master’s and a year of PhD coursework, I decided to look for a job instead. My sister-in-law was an underwriter with a global carrier, so I knew a little bit about the insurance industry but had no knowledge of reinsurance – and certainly didn’t know the difference between treaty and facultative reinsurance! One day, while reading the New York Times Help Wanted section, I noticed an Underwriter Trainee position with Gerling Global, now Global Reinsurance, and was fortunate enough to be offered the job. I worked my way up to Treaty Underwriter and remained with the company from 2002, when they went into run-off, until 2014, when an opportunity to work at Sompo International (then Endurance) presented itself. I jumped at the chance to work with former colleagues on the Regional/Multiline Reinsurance team as an Underwriter. Today I am Senior Vice President, Regional/Multiline Reinsurance and fortunate to be working with the not just the same great group but new team members.
Give us three words to describe Sompo International.
Collaborative, Innovative and Flexible.
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry and more specifically, your role at the moment?
One of the biggest trends impacting the industry is the increase in the frequency and magnitude of severe weather events such as wildfires, hurricanes, and convective storms including straight-line wind damage. Last year marked the sixth consecutive year with more than 10 “billion dollar” weather events. As a multi-line underwriter, factoring in the cost of increased Cats coupled with the increase in attritional fire losses can be challenging. To manage expectations in this environment and to build/maintain long term relationships, we continue to work closely with our brokers and clients to discuss the impact on reinsurance rates from these events.
What advice do you have for prospective Sompo International candidates?
When I meet with prospective candidates, I like to highlight our corporate culture and how it recognizes the need to “grow” our own talent. I am also a big supporter of Sompo International’s Intern Program; it is a great vehicle to introduce college students to our industry as a potential career path. When speaking with intern candidates, I talk about the amazing opportunities for experiential learning with a mix of working in a specific department, completing special projects, collaboration with peers and inter-departmental relationships and lunch and learn sessions. I recommend that a prospective Sompo International candidate take every opportunity to reach out to colleagues across the organization and share their experiences and lessons learned with other interns. I also encourage them to ask questions and remember that every task is a learning opportunity.
Think back to your college graduation day. What is one thing you would tell yourself then?
I would emphasize the importance of being flexible in both career and life plans. To be willing to take on new opportunities; even though it might be somewhat outside of your comfort zone. I also think that having a strong liberal arts education is very useful – it gave me strong critical thinking and communication skills that I had no idea could be applied to a career in reinsurance and/or insurance.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?
I would probably be teaching either high school French or elementary school. I love working with younger people and instilling a lifelong love of learning. Some of my favorite teachers were those that tied the art, music, history and literature of a culture together. I think to study a language you also must have a love and understanding for the culture.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
In college, I minored in Asian Studies and studied Japanese for 2 years. Unfortunately, my Japanese is very rusty and I only remember very limited vocabulary.