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Working overseas first a smart career move

Legal eaglet: Young lawyer David Amaro of Hamilton Re tells Rotarians that the insurance industry is a good bet for millennials.

Young Bermudians who want to storm the ramparts of island international business should start their campaign overseas, a top reinsurance lawyer said yesterday.

David Amaro, assistant vice-president and associate legal counsel at reinsurance firm Hamilton Re, said that gaining overseas experience in the workplace before starting a career at home was vital to career prospects for young professionals.

Mr Amaro said that it used to be possible to graduate, return home and land a good job.

But he added: “That was the case a few years ago, but I think times have changed. The labour market here isn’t as intensive and more people are competing for these jobs.

“I am a big proponent of going overseas, getting that experience, because it does give a different mindset in terms of technical knowledge and your general view of things.

“I’m a big fan and whenever I talk to students, that’s what I promote — living and working overseas.

“It’s more experience — it’s exposure. From a legal perspective, I was exposed to different deals and a wider pool of talent.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say you’re exposed to more intelligent professionals, because Bermuda professionals are sophisticated and intelligent, but I think you become more mature as a result of it.”

Mr Amaro, 30, was speaking after he delivered a talk to Hamilton Rotary Club on Insurance Careers Month and the broader Insurance Careers Movement, both designed to attract youngsters from the millennial generation into the industry.

The drive is a collaboration of more than 600 insurance-related companies and organisations, sparked in part by the upcoming drain of resources in the US as the postwar baby boomer generation begins to retire in large numbers.

Mr Amaro, who studied in England and worked in the legal field at Lloyd’s of London for three years before returning home, said a virtual “town hall” meeting in December designed to drum up interest in the industry had attracted large numbers.

He added: “That shows the movement is gaining traction. And, particularly in the US, jobs are opening up every year. There is lots of interest.”

Mr Amaro said that — despite a looming threat to white-collar professionals from artificial intelligence — insurance and reinsurance would continue to rely on human input.

He added: “As processes become more intelligent, people become more intelligent and they make themselves indispensable. They are very complementary, in fact.”

Earlier, Mr Amaro told the Rotarians lunch at Coco Reefs Hotel in Paget that the industry was viewed among the young as “boring, conservative and without much purpose — this has contributed to a lack of interest among millennials”.

But he said the industry offered “the career trifecta — stable, rewarding and limitless”.

He added that three of the prime movers behind the insurance careers movement, Brian Duperreault of Hamilton Insurance Group, Mike McGavick of XL and Mark Watson of Argo Group, were all based in Bermuda.

He said: “Bermuda should be proud of the fact that three of the five people leading the movement are headquartered in Bermuda.”

Mr Amaro added that, in addition to traditional careers like underwriting and actuarial science, the industry needed hi-tech experts like data scientists and software developers.

And he said that island-based companies would much rather hire Bermudians than go overseas for qualified staff.

Mr Amaro added: “If you return home with some experience under your belt, you increase your chances of being hired.”