Laura Pepper, RenaissanceRe Syndicate Management

Paura Pepper.jpg

wccccWhat is your role?
Claims Adjuster

Where do you work?
RenaissanceRe Syndicate Management

Laura's Story
Working at RenaissanceRe was my first job in the (re)insurance market, initially starting as a claims assistant and then progressing onto trainee adjuster and then adjuster. I’ve been here for 3 and a half years and am very much in the early stages of my career. I’m one of those that just fell into the (re)insurance market, finding out about the industry after graduating from Exeter with a Law degree and attending a graduate ‘meet the market’ hosted by the then Catlin. It was surprising to hear so many people about their work and the industry they worked in so excitedly, and I realised then I wanted to join. I again ended up in claims by accident, but the correlation it has with my legal education and background means that it feels like a perfect fit.

What factors allow you to bring your full self to work? 
a. How does your environment make you feel involved and included?

RenaissanceRe has an excellent culture which is great to be a part of but I think it helps that it is a small company which means there is a big focus on making sure there are the right people in the organisation. I have always felt very comfortable in the work environment and been able to relax and be myself. I think there is still much improvement needed in the (re)insurance market in general, however I believe there are ‘pockets’ of leading examples which enable people to be themselves at work.

What was your first motivation to be out at work and how has being out most positively influenced your experience?
I have never really had to ‘come out’ before until I started working full time so it wasn’t really a big decision for me, I just continued to be myself. I also realised that if I wasn’t then I’d never be able to fully relax and actually focus on my work and career. Besides, it would be hard work keeping up with the different things you’ve told different people about your weekend plans on a Monday morning if you weren’t fully ‘out’ or yourself.

How has the business has been improved by LGBT+ people bringing the best of themselves to work?
People are more inclined to come to work and give it their all, if their whole self is fully accepted and they be who they are, or want to be. You’re also more likely to be able to identify an LGBT role model or executive that you want to emulate or can at least look up to if everyone brings their best self to work.

Do you have any advice for someone who isn't out at work yet?
Find an ally that you can trust, and that you already have a reasonably close relationship with. If it feels unnatural to just ‘come out’ and say it in a work environment, or you’re worried about someone other than this particular person overhearing, suggest a coffee or a drink in a place where you feel more comfortable and can relax.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Remember how long your career is going to be, be prepared to play the long game and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Can you describe the moment you realised you were a role model?
It was when I realised how lucky I was being able to be myself and conformable with who I am as a person, and the realisation that not everyone is as fortunate to have had the experiences of being ‘out’ as I have. Realising that I then wanted to share these experiences and show that being open and honest to everyone really is the best thing you can do.

What do you do on a day to day basis to be a positive role model?
Try to make myself as open and honest about myself as possible for anyone that wants to talk, and make sure I fully listen to people’s responses. I also think back to the role models I’ve looked up to in the past, and try to take some of their best qualities and make them my own.

What advice would you give to someone who wishes to be a good role model?
Listen, not only to what someone is saying, but what they may be trying to say between the lines, if they appear uncomfortable, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand where they are coming from. Not everyone is a natural communicator or confident speaker so bear this mind. Also remember that you do not know their background or what they may have been through, so be compassionate.

What are you doing outside of your organisation to be a good role model?
Again, I am open and honest about who I am and try to articulate my experiences in a positive fashion. I am not part of any other LGBT networks but it something I will look to actively engage with in the future given my positive experiences with Link to date.

How did you feel coming to your first Link event?
Excited, and a little nervous. I’ve never really been involved in LGBT networks or events before so it was something completely new to me.

How has the Link network helped you?
It’s helped me realise that as fortunate as I have been in being ‘out’, this isn’t the case for everyone, and that there are a lot of different experiences in the (re)insurance market. It’s helped me understand that there is a long way to go to ensure that everyone can have the experiences they deserve and be as comfortable as possible in their work environments.

What do you think Link can do in the future to best serve the new generations?
I think Link needs to try to engage more widely with the reinsurance market. There seems to be a big focus on the insurance sector which should be built on to ensure that their reinsurers, and others in the market feel included in their mission.