Triple-I Blog | Captain of His Own Ship: Anne Marie the Great

By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I

In celebration of the International Day of Women in the Maritimes – seen every May 18 – Triple-I interviews the women who have made the biggest difference in the maritime industry. Last year, Triple-I looked at Isabelle TherrienSVP-Canada, Falvey Cargo Underwriting.

For as long as Anne Marie Elder can remember, she has loved the ocean. Being the nephew of a Merchant Marine, he heard stories from his uncle about Merchant Marine service during World War II. He could only imagine what it would be like to stand on the deck and watch the sun rise above the water, breathe in the salty air, and listen to the ocean waves. When she was in the 6th grade, her aunt Margaret told her about the first class of women who graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA or Kings Point) and encouraged her to consider USMMA as a way to go to college.

Kings Point Midshipman Anne Marie Senior

It was only the Senior of the college who applied. He entered in 1984, in a class of about 211 men and 28 women. When he graduated, there were only 16 women – a 43 percent dropout.

As part of his training, he had to work for six months as a US Merchant Marine. A 20-year-old woman aboard a Merchant ship with 25 men was not always well received. During her first few hours on a train, the captain bluntly told her that women do not belong at sea and that they do not want her on board.

He said: “They ordered me to leave the bridge whenever the pilot arrived. “I was also not allowed to eat in the dining hall at the same time as he eats his food.” This continued throughout the time I worked on the ship.”

He said: “What the captain did was funny and unprofessional, I decided to start a trip to the highway and I refused to let him ruin my education and life.”

The elder said that the first month in the ship would be difficult. “Some men harassed me, but when they realized I was there to work and study, they became like brothers, taking care of me, making sure I was safe and watching over the ship and when I was at the port.” For the first six months, Mkulu was the only woman on the ship.

He said: “I went there to study, and nothing can stop me.” “I was very tight, straight and narrow.”

By the time he was 21, he had seen more of the world than anyone he knew.

He said: “These were the best times of my life.

And the captain? He gave him the best information he had gained during his year at sea.

He didn’t want me on his ship, but he respected the work I did.

Swallowing the Anchor

The old man thought that he would spend a few years at sea, but there were not many sea jobs at the time he was graduating. He decided to go to law school. But he had a great coach and mentor at Kings Point: Rich Roenbeck, also a Kings Pointer who taught him about marine insurance.

“He was a very good, great teacher, and it was a lot of fun, so I decided to drop anchor – give up the sea life – and try marine insurance,” he said.

Mkulu’s aunt was also an inspiration. “A teacher in NYC and a nurse at the VA hospital, he inspired me,” Elder said. “He was the main reason why I went to Kings Point and progressed. When I started working, he took me out and bought me all the clothes, so that I would look good and feel confident going to my new job.”

His first job was with Continental Insurance / MOAC, which hired six mariners in their office in New York – five men and a Chief – where they started writing hull and cargo insurance. He also became involved with the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU).

Anne Marie Elder, Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Marine at AXA XL

“AIMU is an important part of marine insurance,” he said. They are a great team that has been around for 125 years this year! They provide training in our industry and participate in our industry initiatives. ”

He also works with the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) and focuses on how digitization can transform marine insurance.

The elder follows the words of King Point which he learned years ago – Acta Non Verba! – Actions, Not Words! Today, as a result of his work, he is the Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Marine at AXA XL, part of AXA, where his role is to develop policies and manage the portfolio of the company’s $1.1 billion marine business, one of the companies the world’s leading marine insurers.

One of his biggest concerns is the talent gap that companies face. Not just in the United States, but around the world.

“Companies need to be smart enough to bring people into this industry,” he said. “They need to think differently, evaluate skills, not just knowledge of insurance, but overall skills. Companies need to pay for those skills and develop them quickly as underwriters.”

What brings the Elder the greatest joy is the development of people.

“You have to be the pilot of your own ship,” he said. “You can take the train wherever you want, but you have to have a plan and develop the skills you need to know where you are going. If you are not going to your dream, you have to change the course of your train.”

She also said that sometimes women are less vocal about what they want.

“Women think that if they work hard they will be given the right salary and the opportunity to advance, but that is not the case. “Women need to work hard and develop skills to get ahead, but they also need to make sure their managers know what they want to do in the short and long term,” she said.

“I spent three years in London in Marine Treasure Reinsurance and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I hadn’t said it. It put me on people’s radar,” he said. It’s a mentor. A mentor directs and helps you create a strategy, but a mentor encourages you to other people to help you advance your career. You need everything. I had someone who looked up to me early on. He was a man. There were few female leaders when I started,” she said. “There aren’t many women. who are in senior positions in marine insurance, but men are doing very well in realizing women’s wealth.”

The elder said that women and men can have very different leadership styles.

He said: “We don’t always think alike or act alike. “Having diverse opinions makes a company stronger. Research has shown that diverse companies have greater value.”

“It is a very good time for women to be involved in this work because of the opportunities available,” he said. “I tell women, ‘Take the lead and be a leader.’ I tell them, ‘Women, the future is great!’ “

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