2019 Rising Stars Kate Friday

“I have had several close mentors over the years who have been instrumental in my career development.”

How did you choose the re/insurance industry?

While pursuing my undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College, I worked on a several projects that involved developing mathematical models. With Minneapolis being a reinsurance hub, I stumbled upon catastrophe modelling, and was excited by the similarities in the models that I was working to develop and the sophisticated models that are used in the reinsurance industry. After interviewing at several broking firms, I chose a catastrophe modelling position on the analytics team at Collins.

My focus in the past had been research and development of models, but I soon realised that the value a broking firm brings is more focused on using the catastrophe models to develop and implement a wholistic risk management strategy for our clients.

Is the industry attractive to young professionals?

Yes and no. When someone asks what I do for a living and I respond with “I work in reinsurance” I often get a blank stare.
This is somewhat surprising when you think about all the people who are involved in insurance in some shape or form. The reinsurance industry has an expansive footprint offering a range of opportunities for young professionals.

The reinsurance industry also has the stigma of being traditional in practice and lacking diversity. In the 10 years I have been in the industry, I’ve seen fascinating changes, with the influx of alternative capital, the impact of severe catastrophic events, and the influence of technology in how we understand and do business. It’s promising to see what fresh perspectives and new ideas will bring to the industry.