Although it has improved over the past decade, the marine insurance world has historically been male dominated. And yet, Falvey Insurance Group has been the exception since the first day it opened its doors in 1995. “Having an even split of women and men is the way it’s always been at Falvey,” says Mike Falvey, CEO and president. “It’s the way it should be. If you’re good at what you do, that’s what matters.”
Falvey is proud to report that there are currently four women executives and four women managers, composing 50 percent of the senior leadership team. In overall staff, there are more women (51%) than men employed at Falvey.
Offering women career opportunities in the insurance industry has paid off. Falvey has attracted and developed strong female leaders that been instrumental in the company’s success. Here are three of the female leaders at Falvey Cargo:
Catherine Hughes-Fury – Senior Vice President, Falvey Cargo Underwriting
Catherine Hughes-Fury joined Falvey in 1996 as the second employee, just after the company’s inception in 1995. Originally hired as an underwriting and claims manager, Catherine was promoted to vice president in 1999, a position she held until 2003 when she was promoted to senior vice president. Catherine obtained her AMIM license in 1999, AIS in 1994, Producer’s License in 2002 and is currently working on attaining her CPCU certification.
Today, Catherine holds the second-highest underwriting authority in the company, behind CEO and President Mike Falvey, and has been a crucial part of Falvey’s growth over the past 20+ years. She has been a leader in policy form and wording development, effectively streamlining and perfecting the way Falvey conducts business. She has also been a crucial figure in fostering business relationships with Lloyd’s of London, with whom Falvey is the largest marine cargo covernote holder.
As Falvey’s third staff member, and second female staff member, Catherine forged her own path by becoming the first female underwriter, the first female manager, and now serves as the only female senior vice president at Falvey Cargo. Catherine has also acted as a mentor for other female employees and helped them to advance their careers within the company.
Working largely with a female support team in the office, it is certain that Catherine has set the precedent for female leadership and success in insurance.
Isabelle Therrien – Senior Vice President - Canada, Falvey Cargo Underwriting
Isabelle Therrien has been in the insurance industry for over 20 years. She joined Falvey Cargo Underwriting in 2007 as a senior cargo underwriter, becoming the second female marine underwriter at the company. She was promoted to assistant vice president in 2009 and full vice president in 2011, opening Canadian operations for Falvey in Toronto as of 2012.
Fluent in both French and English, Isabelle has been able to expand Falvey’s network of brokers across Canada and increase the footprint of the company. She presents at marine conferences, serves as a resource for Transport Canada in marine insurance matters, and is an active member of both the American Institute of Marine Underwriters’ (AIMU) and International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI).
In her role as senior vice president at Falvey Cargo, Isabelle heads an all-female team, is one of three female underwriters, and one of eight women in management. In addition to leading the professional development of her female underwriting staff, she is currently president of the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters (CBMU)—only the second female president in CBMU’s 100 years of history. She has advocated for the involvement of younger talent, particularly women, which has resulted in 50 percent of CBMU’s committee chairs currently being held by women. Isabelle has left a significant mark for women in the niche of cargo insurance, while helping position Falvey as a leader in the industry.
Kristen Schultz – Vice President, Falvey Cargo Underwriting
Kristen began her tenure at Falvey in 2004 as a team leader for underwriting technical assistants. While she had no prior underwriting experience, Kristen had an extensive background in various lines of commercial insurance, technical writing, and regulatory compliance.
Her strong performance over the next few years led to impressive career growth—Kristen was promoted to account executive in 2007, production underwriter in 2008, and to her current position as vice president in 2012. She is Falvey’s highest ranked producer and manages the largest U.S. business territory for Falvey Cargo Underwriting.
Throughout her different roles at Falvey, Kristen has been a strong leader of the cargo department and role model for female employees. From 2004-2008, she was one of just three female team leaders at Falvey, and her current support team is almost entirely composed of women.
Today, Kristen is one of Falvey’s three female underwriters. In addition to being a way-paver for other women in the insurance industry, Kristen’s work ethic and superior leadership has been integral in Falvey Cargo’s development of profitable business in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, and now the Northwest areas of the country.