7 Questions for 2022 CPCU Society International Ambassador Edward Shen

Director, head of casualty product underwriting at Peak Re, Edward Shen shares insight on his career and goals during his term as CPCU Society International Ambassador.
By: | August 30, 2022

The CPCU Society has a goal of being an inclusive global community that welcomes and empowers all individuals, ideas and voices. One way to reach this goal includes expanding its global community through outreach and initiatives designed to retain and grow membership around the world.

Since 2012, the CPCU Society International Ambassadorship has represented these global outreach efforts.

Every year, a volunteer committee of CPCU members selects the International Ambassador through a rigorous judging process. CPCU Society members living outside the US may apply for the program. The winner is awarded a scholarship to attend In2Risk, the CPCU Society’s annual conference.

The CPCU Society International Ambassador holds an important role in representing CPCUs globally. This individual commits to meeting with industry leaders in their country to advance knowledge and goodwill of the CPCU designation. The Ambassador also writes an article for Insights, the CPCU Society’s quarterly publication, about their experience as ambassador and the insurance market in their region, helping to educate others while expanding their own network.

Outgoing CPCU Society International Ambassador, Anant Borole, CPCU, spoke about his experience during his ambassadorship: “As International Ambassador, it has been an honor to be the chief representative of a large, vibrant CPCU community extending outside of the US. Not only do the CPCU, and related certifications, have a large number of awardees overseas, these awardees actively participate in the 3IG interest group. The 3IG interest group is open to all members, in and outside the USA. It represents the best of the CPCU Society’s diversity, in my opinion, being easy to join, participate in, and open to discussion for a wide range of topics.”

The 2022 CPCU Society International Ambassador is Edward Shen, CPCU. Shen is based in Hong Kong and is the director, head of casualty product underwriting at Peak Re. Shen joins a distinguished list of past Ambassadors from the UK, Bermuda, India, Japan, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Guam, Saudi Arabia and France.

Shen spoke with Risk & Insurance about his career and goals during his term as CPCU Society International Ambassador.

Risk & Insurance: What is your background and current role?

Edward Shen: My name is Shen Lin. In the insurance professional world, people know me as Edward Shen. This is my 14th year as a CPCU member, and I am a casualty underwriter with 18 years’ experience at AIG, Chubb, Munich Re, and Peak Re.

I was born and grew up in Shanghai, during the Era of Reform and Open Up of China. My high school is the ex-French Concession which forged a connection with the University of Lyon. We had exchange student visits from the US and France and enjoyed the multicultural communication. I grew up playing the guitar, singing songs of the Beatles, American folk music, and watching Disney movies.

I studied Insurance and Risk Management in SUFE University, one of the top universities of finance in China. During that period, Chubb provided scholarships for CPCU courses, and I was one of the students winning the support. I finished all the exams during the university and gain the CPCU qualification once the working experience requirement was fulfilled.

I graduated in 2005, the year China further opened to foreign insurance companies according to the WTO Agreement. I started my career with AIG as a casualty underwriting trainee and became the team head of casualty underwriting at Chubb China in 2010.

In 2011, I decided to join the reinsurance industry and joined Munich Re in Hong Kong. I pursued my passion into treaty underwriting. Besides traditional reinsurance, I also devoted myself into the innovation areas, such as Internet-based insurance, Insurtech, and Cyber Insurance.

My current role is Director, Head of casualty product underwriting in Peak Re, a Hong Kong-based modern and dynamic reinsurer with 10 years of history. Peak Re is a Sino-America joint venture with a global reinsurance portfolio, head office in Hong Kong and with operations in Zurich and Bermuda.

Dealing with business partners in London, New York, Bermuda, Singapore, etc., I experienced the charm of the dynamic international reinsurance market.

R&I: Your background is interesting, with roles in Shanghai and Hong Kong. How has earning your CPCU designation and becoming involved with the CPCU Society affected your career trajectory?

ES: The CPCU courses gave me great interest into the Property & Casualty area. Otherwise, I would very likely end up in the life insurance or banking industry. My CPCU qualification was well acknowledged by my first employer (AIG) and of course by Chubb who sponsored my CPCU courses. The knowledge I acquired from CPCU made me quickly fit into the casualty underwriting job.

The Institutes is very up to date by providing new valuable courses. I further studied AIDA (Association of Insurance Data Analytic) and Cyber Risk Management to enhance my knowledge. In recent years, I joined the Europe Chapter and 3iG, the International Insurance Interest Group. (I’m) enjoying the knowledge exchange and am making good friends there.

R&I: What would you like to accomplish in your term as CPCU Society International Ambassador?

ES: I would further promote CPCU together with other courses of the Institutes in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a financial center and has a well-established insurance industry. I plan to visit with insurance industry organizations, such as HKFI (Hong Kong Federation of Insurers) and HKCIB (Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers). I’ll talk to universities in Hong Kong with insurance courses to promote the CPCU among young people.

I’ll also promote CPCU in the international market whenever I have the opportunity for client visits, seminars, and webinars.

R&I: How are the CPCU designation and CPCU Society professional membership viewed in Hong Kong?

ES: As a reputable insurance industry qualification, CPCU is well acknowledged in Hong Kong. For example, all insurance brokers and agents in Hong Kong must pass the Insurance Intermediaries Qualifying Examination. With CPCU qualification, such exams can be totally exempted.

However, the qualifications from CII (the Chartered Insurance Institute) are more popular in Hong Kong currently. CII has its historical British influence, and it also has an office in the CBD in Hong Kong.

The number of CPCU members in Hong Kong is only a few dozen. Around half of them moved to Hong Kong from other markets like the US, Korea, and Europe. For the locals, most of them either studied in the US before or worked for US insurers or brokers.

CPCU surely has great potential to grow its popularity in Hong Kong.

R&I: How can the CPCU Society grow internationally, both in HK and around the globe?

ES: In my opinion, there are a few areas that can help the further growth of the CPCU Society internationally.

  1. The CPCU courses are too much focused on the US insurance market. If the courses can include some knowledge of some other key insurance markets, they can become more popular internationally.
  2. Engage with the universities providing the insurance and risk management majors in the international market. Provide course exemptions for the selected universities.
  3. Many insurance professionals in different market needs to earn CPD (Continuous Professional Development) or CE (Continuous Education) points every year. CPCU Society are providing many high-quality webinars (sometimes recorded). If these webinars can be promoted more actively, it will be very helpful.
  4. Language. Currently,  the CPCU is only available in English and French. If the CPCU Society can consider different languages on its website (not the courses or exams), that would be helpful for international promotion.

R&I: What are some ways the CPCU Society and US-based insurance and risk management professionals can better support and collaborate with international CPCUs?

ES: To build a platform of exchange will be a great support. The International Roadshow run by 3iG is a very good example of engaging the US and international CPCUs. Sometimes, establishing a new chapter in a different country is not easy. Inviting international CPCUs to provide webinars and knowledge-sharing sessions can be a good way of engagement. The audience shall expand to non-CPCU members or students.

R&I: What inspires you?

ES: I am a curious person about different knowledges and different cultures. Curiosity inspires me all the way of my career life to a position doing international casualty underwriting to learn more about people from different cultures and understand the wonderful diversity of the world. &

Abi Potter Clough, MBA, CPCU, is a keynote speaker, author and business consultant focused on Insurtech, leadership and strategy. She has over 15 years of experience at a Fortune 500 company with expertise in P&C claims operational leadership, lean management consulting, digital communications and Insurtech. As the past chair of the International Insurance Interest Group of the CPCU Society, Abi remains involved in many international initiatives and projects. She has published two books about change management and relocation. Abi can be reached at [email protected].

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