Congratulations to Kirsty Owens who has been recognised on the Insurance Business Elite Women in Insurance for 2021. Kirsty Owens has over 20 years’ experience in PI, D&O and PL having worked for both Underwriters and Insurance Brokers in Australia and London.  Kirsty is the State Manager for South Australia leading a team of accomplished Underwriters servicing the insurance needs of Adelaide brokers and insured’s. 

We caught up with Kirsty to find out what inspires her and how female leadership is developing in the Insurance industry.

What energises you about working with brokers and in the insurance sector in general?

What energises me about working in the insurance sector is that that it a consistently evolving industry, change is constant and there is just so much to learn.  I think also that we are going through a really interesting time with regards to innovative technology in insurance and so I am excited to see where that will take us.  What I really enjoy most about working with brokers is some of the very strong friendships I have made with some wonderful people, and… I love a good debate!

Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most?

Maybe it is corny but I would have to say my Mum!  Growing up I can always remember Mum being an incredibly hard worker.  No doubt about it she is was, and still is, the woman who “gets the job done” and I think that strong work ethic has really shaped who I am in my career also.

What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?

Women tend to be more in tune with their intuition whereas typically male leaders are more inclined to rely on logic and analysis when making important decisions in the workplace.  I would say that instead of trying to model male leaders, instead trust your gut!  In fact even modern Leadership Theory is now exploring the idea of Intuitive Intelligence as being a critical factor in in leadership and especially decision making.

What’s the best work-related advice you’ve ever received? 

I went to a public speaking course and everyone was sharing how terrified they were when standing at the lecturn.  One of the attendees was the CEO of an ASX company and I thought, “If he’s scared, it’s ok for me to be scared”.  So my advice would be to say yes to the scary stuff.  Be scared – but do it anyway!

How do you unplug from work?

I’ll be honest – I do find that a challenge!  I miss overseas travel because for me that was really a fantastic opportunity to completely switch off from the email and from work, and because I don’t mind a Mimosa by the pool!

How has working at Berkley Insurance Australia impacted your work?

Berkley has really provided me an environment where I can be the best version of myself.  It’s a place where everyone’s input is respectfully received and encouraged.  It really is a collaborative team environment and I honestly feel so blessed to be a part of such a great team and, of course, Insurer of the Year!

What does being recognised as a winner of the Elite Women in Insurance mean to you?

I feel incredibly honoured because there are so many incredible leaders in this industry, both male and female.  Many have shaped me into who I am today so I hope that I can do the same for others.