For the Sept/Oct edition of Carrier Management, we welcome Karen Morris as a guest editor of our features about Future Trends and Emerging Risks.
Morris is a strategic adviser specializing in all aspects of innovation strategy and execution. She is uniquely qualified to advise property/casualty insurance carriers and reinsurers, having held C-suite and advisory roles for several major global insurers over the course of a 25-year career—among them, W.R. Berkley, American International Group and Chubb.
An English barrister, Morris began her career in 1983 as a multilingual, multijurisdictional tax and M&A lawyer with the international law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Before entering financial services, she was European General Counsel for Kimberly Clark, a Fortune 500 company, following private practice as a lawyer for high-net-worth clients in media and entertainment.
While her CV is filled with impressive details (more of which we will list below), those who experience Morris’ teaching first-hand, read her articles and hear her speak at global forums become truly inspired and moved to engage her services, as Carrier Management was five years ago when we first reached out to her to write one of the more than a dozen articles she has authored for us.
Focusing on topics that include barriers to innovation in the insurance industry, the social and commercial impact of emerging technology, and diversity and inclusion, her most popular Carrier Management articles include those listed below:
- Racing With Machines: Technology Is Not Destiny
- Lessons on Value and Innovation From the Other Hank Greenberg
- Innovation Lessons From the Flock
- Why Insurance Execs Should Stop Seeking ‘Big Splash’ Ideas
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Knitting and Gender Bias in the Insurance Industry
- Fish ‘n’ Shoes’ Thinking and the Disruptive Power of ‘Just One Change’
During a 2013 speech at the IICF Women in Global Insurance Conference about innovation and feminism, you could hear a pin drop as 400 attendees listened to her read aloud a poem called “Scaffolding,” weaving connections between Seamus Haney’s ode to love written as a newlywed to his wife and the lessons to be learned from the poem and from the discipline of poetry, about the challenges and the human elements of innovation—namely impulses of optimism, trust, networks and relationships, communication and collaboration.
In her speaking and her writing, Morris routinely does exactly what she prescribed as a formula for innovation in a 2012 TED Talk titled “Cloudmaking, Curiosity and Love“—”allowing [her] curiosity and creativity to meet experience and expertise,” bringing her full self to her life’s work, sharing experiences of a wife, a mother and innovation adviser all at once.
Returning to career highlights from her CV:
- Most recently, Morris held long-term strategic consultancy roles for W.R. Berkley Inc. and the Hyperion Group.
- Prior to that, she was Chief Innovation Officer at American International Group.
- She also held the roles of International Underwriting Counsel and Head of Product and Service Development and SVP for Southern Europe at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
- Morris also has years of experience as an independent non-Executive Director and a board member for not-for-profit organizations.
- In late June, The Nexus Group, a specialty MGA, announced that Morris had joined the board as an independent non-Executive Director of underwriting operations.
- Morris is also a co-founder and Director of The Global Sourcing Council, a not-for-profit committed to sustainable sourcing, micro-entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, particularly for women in developing countries.
- During her career, Morris has also mentored technology startups through programs coordinated by Columbia University, PowerBridge N.Y. and CleanTech Open, the world’s largest clean technology accelerator.
- She also served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York, as well as a visiting lecturer at universities in France and Spain, and a member of the faculty of the Institute for Innovation in Large Organizations (ILO) founded by Dr. Peter Temes.
- Morris has an MA with honors, an MA in law, a Dip Laws degree, and is a Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority approved person.
What Does a Guest Editor Do?
Working as guest editor for Carrier Management, Morris was responsible for providing more than 20 pages of content—a combination of articles she wrote and co-authored, as well as articles contributed by outside authors she engaged from within and outside the insurance industry to offer new perspectives and to spark innovative thinking about future trends and emerging risks that will impact insurers and reinsurers.
Because Morris overdelivered on her assignment, one of her articles, “Invisible Risks in Plain Sight”—a Q&A with Wanda Lopuch, president and chair of the Global Sourcing Council—didn’t fit in this edition and will be published separately on our website. Also invisible to readers of this edition is the fact that Morris performed her role as guest editor as she recovered from surgery following a nasty fall—immobile but armed with a computer and a phone and with the rare strength of purpose that has helped her compile the extraordinary credentials described here.