Women in Hamilton

Mentorship, networking and speaking up: the way forward for women

For the 2021 Women in Hamilton special report we profile eight women who are making their mark in Bermuda’s risk transfer landscape.

“Few now dispute that more diverse teams are better at solving problems and setting strategy.”

Bermuda:Re+ILS compiled its first Women in Hamilton special report in 2015. The industry has long recognised it has an issue related to the lack of gender balance, especially among the upper echelons of management.

Kerri Harkins of Aeolus says: “There is more work to be done by our industry in terms of active planning to progress women, addressing hiring biases, and providing access to networking opportunities and increased flexibility around how and when people work.”

In some ways, things look worse in 2021 than they did just two years ago. Alison Purvey Adams of AXIS Re notes that COVID-19 “compounded the issue as it drove quite a few women out of the industry”, undoing some of the progress that has been made in recent years.

Things are still trending in the right direction, however, and individual insurers have worked hard to improve their record. Victoria Cunningham of Allied World Re, says: “I believe we are more advanced than many other jurisdictions around the world. I see more women moving into senior roles in Bermuda and I think the nature of the Bermuda business environment provides a great opportunity for junior women seeking mentorship from more experienced women.”

A pipeline of talent

The boards and senior management teams of Bermuda’s re/insurers are constantly evolving to better reflect the communities they serve, with a more equitable balance of representation.

Women may be making more progress in that respect than some other under-represented groups. Jennifer Collier-Souza of SiriusPoint says: “While there is progress and momentum in the industry to build a more diverse workforce, there is still work to be done to attract other under-represented groups.

“It takes time to build a pipeline of diverse talent and for them to reach the top of their organisations.”

It is not only a question of fairness: engaging with a plurality of ideas and perspectives stimulates creativity and innovation. Few now dispute that more diverse teams are better at solving problems and setting strategy, which only reinforces the incentive to push for more progress in diversifying management teams.

The eight women profiled here represent a small sample of the many women with influential roles in Bermuda who are helping to set the agenda and influence the future of the industry.

You can read interviews with all of them by clicking on the links.


Rachael Afford

Specialty re underwriter Formerly of Allied World, Third Point Re and SiriusPoint


Jennifer Collier-Souza

Chief financial officer SiriusPoint Bermuda


Victoria Cunningham

Vice president, specialty underwriting Allied World Re


Brittany de Frias

Assistant underwriter MS Amlin


Kerri Harkins

Assistant general counsel, underwriting Aeolus Capital Management


Mandy Kisala

Senior vice president, underwriter (subject to Bermuda immigration approval) SiriusPoint


Catherine Mello

Partner, head of retro analytics TigerRisk Partners, Bermuda


Alison Purvey Adams

Head of property claims and claims manager, Bermuda and Singapore AXIS Re

Image: Shutterstock.com / Mary Long

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