Argo Group’s top global brokers are well looked after – Ewelina Kudla sees to it.
“We have businesses in London, continental Europe and the Middle East that are all very different,” says Kudla, the company’s head of international marketing & producer management.
“When it comes to what Argo stands for as a group, the branding is consistent across all businesses,” she says. “Yet, [all have] their individual characteristics – geography, cultural differences, time differences – so managing all of those relationships at a global level can be quite challenging, but there are a lot of opportunities.”
Learning relationship-management skills
Kudla, who is originally from Poland, got a taste of many European cultures when she participated in an exchange program in Belgium during her third year of university. After graduating, she moved to London to begin a career … but in what?
“I had no idea what I’d be doing,” she says. “I decided to get a master’s in marketing and management, which is something I was always interested in. I had no idea I’d be working in insurance. I didn’t even know what Lloyd’s was.”
A position at a marketing agency led to an opportunity with a syndicate, where she worked on the broker and producer management side. While in that role, Kudla was approached by Argo, and her new boss saw the potential in her education and experience.
“He said, ‘You’ve got a marketing background. You should do both,’” Kudla says. “I was quite hesitant at first, because I wanted to focus on one area. In hindsight, it’s the best decision I could have made.”
At first, she was responsible for managing relationships and marketing within Argo Group’s Syndicate 1200 at Lloyd’s. As the company grew, her role expanded. Now, Kudla oversees a team of five reports, two of whom are outside of London (in Bermuda and Italy).
“I want to be as good a leader and manager as I can,” she says. “I want to make sure they feel that even though we’re in separate locations, we’re still part of the same team. My biggest responsibility is to help them develop and grow professionally.”
The right people in the right roles
Kudla says she expected the insurance industry to be hugely male dominated, and one of the first things she noticed when she walked into Lloyd’s for the first time was how few women were there.
That has changed over time, but she says where the entire industry can improve is to have more women in the “C-suite,” a company’s chief-level positions.
“Employers should ensure that women get the same treatment and opportunities to advance their careers,” Kudla says. “But the most important thing is to have the right people fostering sustainable relationships with brokers and clients.
“We must not forget that building relationships is about personalities, not about gender.”
Meet more women leading Argo at https://www.argolimited.com/women-in-insurance/.