We are inspired by people who are passionate about technology that solves pressing global challenges. Scaling and commercializing those solutions requires serious knowledge, courage, perseverance, and support systems like those who work in the insurance industry. In this interview series, our chief actuary, Sherry Huang, talks with friends of NER whose work makes a difference, and whose journeys will inspire you, too.

 

A Conversation with Erin Lynch, president of Beecher Carlson’s Global Energy Practice

By Sherry Huang, Chief Actuary
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity

 

Beecher Carlson is a large account risk management insurance broker. Erin Lynch is the president of their Global Energy Practice, leading a team of experienced brokers and risk management specialists. I first met Erin at a client visit and was impressed by her professionalism and down-to-earth demeanor. I wanted to learn more about what it takes to be a successful insurance broker and practice leader, and her view on how diversity and inclusion helps Beecher build a successful team.

Erin Lynch [Photo credit: Beecher Carlson]

Erin, let’s start with how you got to where you are today. Tell us more about your journey to become an insurance broker and leader in the energy insurance space.

I started my career as a sports journalist, having studied journalism at the University of Oregon. I pursued sports journalism because it combines my passion for sports and writing. A few years after my career as a broadcast journalist, I started looking for a new opportunity that didn’t involve getting up at 3:00 in the morning. A friend of mine introduced me to a senior leader at the local Willis Towers Watson office. I interviewed and was given the opportunity to become a producer. That senior leader was my earliest mentor in the insurance industry – he encouraged me to specialize and to look beyond the regional market. After a year and a half, that Willis office closed and I joined Beecher Carlson. At Beecher, I aligned myself with the west coast energy practice, became more technical, and created a niche expertise for myself. The senior leadership at Beecher Carlson has been incredibly supportive, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to develop and lead our energy practice and work with a team of brilliant colleagues.

For an audience unfamiliar with the broker’s role in the insurance industry, can you describe what you do? What’s the best and worst part of your job? 

Brokers handle both traditional insurance policy transactions as well as provide risk-advisory services. Over the years, the risk-advisory consultative service portion has become a significant part of our business. We partner with clients to identify, quantify, mitigate, and transfer risk. Some of our work involves diligence and helping renewable projects get built.

The best part of my job is working with a bright, dedicated team and having a supportive executive team. We have a common motivation to serve clients in this changing environment. The double-edged sword of my job is that I am on an airplane all the time.

Beecher Carlson’s energy practice has grown over the years and has a diverse team in terms of capability, backgrounds, and gender. How have you seen the role of women change in the industry during your tenure? Are there any unique advantages or challenges to being a woman insurance broker in the energy space? 

In my tenure in the industry, I have observed the tide shifting towards a more diverse set of candidates entering and excelling in the industry. I remember when I first moved from journalism to insurance, I was surprised to find how few women were on the senior team. I am especially grateful for Beecher’s CEO and executive team for creating an incredibly inclusive environment. I think men and women bring different strengths and perspectives and having a diverse team challenges us to be more successful. In addition to our experience in the energy market space, I like to think our diverse team is also attractive to our buyers.

As a woman leader, I can easily relate to and appreciate the challenges of being a young mom and a professional, having experienced that journey myself. It’s a priority for me to build long-term partnerships with my teammates and create a flexible, supportive environment.

But we still have a lot of work to do. I am part of the Young Presidents’ Organization and in our regional chapter only 10% of the participants are women. I am involved in various forums to brainstorm ideas on how to support more women leaders.

On a more personal note, are you still passionate about sports? What is your favorite weekend activity?

I am passionate about the outdoors; with my free time I love to go hiking, running, golfing or camping with my family. Every year, a group of girlfriends and I hike a new section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Thank you, Erin!