Product Family

A look at the opportunities and challenges facing women in our industry.

We spoke to some of the women leading our Canadian operations to learn about their career paths, the challenges they faced, and what advice they may have for others thinking about entering this industry. In this installment, we talk with Sarah Tung, Senior Underwriter in Casualty.

How long have you been working in insurance?
ST: I’ve been working in the insurance industry for 17 years in various roles including management as well as technician.

What attracted you to the insurance industry?
ST: As a young person, I knew little about insurance when I started. I took a gamble on a job that didn’t exactly fit with my finance background, and I was pleasantly surprised. My colleagues were from all walks of life, and my eyes were opened to industries and businesses that I otherwise, never would have gotten to learn about. I knew that should I decide to stay and build a career, there were many opportunities to move into management or to specialize as a technician. That the industry is “recession proof” was also a nice perk.

What has surprised you most about the insurance industry during your career?
ST: What has surprised me the most is how ever-changing the industry is, and must continue to be, to meet the demands of our customers as the world evolves. Insurance is so much more than what its reputation portrays. As insurance professionals, we have the ability to work with cutting edge organizations that are disrupting their respective sectors, as well as create insurance products for exposures that never before existed.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How have you dealt with/ conquered those challenges?
ST: As a female minority, I have certainly felt pressure to prove to myself and to others that I deserve the roles that I’ve earned. I do not fit the mold of those who walked before me, and I’m fortunate to have an opportunity to represent a different perspective. While the workplace has come a long way in the last few decades in terms of opportunities, pay, and corporate culture for women, we are still living in a time where very few females ascend to the highest-level roles. To deal with these challenges, I make an effort to be visible in the industry and to be the mentor I would have liked to have, as a younger person. I’ve learned to be proud of my achievements and stand by my successes, while at the same time, advocate for and celebrate the accomplishments of other women. We can all have success if we lift each other up.

What advice would you give your younger self as she enters the industry?
ST: To my younger self, I’d say that the decision you make now is just one of many you’re going to make along your professional journey. Don’t be scared to make a mistake because those will be some of the most meaningful lessons in your career. Also, get outside of your comfort zone. Getting involved in organizations external to your company will allow you to see outside of your regular day-to-day experience and give you a broader perspective, which will take your career to the next level.


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US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.