Padmaja Sharma provides comprehensive risk solutions to mid-size and large Canadian organizations to support their growth, innovation and impact in Canada while helping to mitigate their risk.
She began her career in India, then worked in Kuwait, before joining the Canadian insurance market in 2006, underwriting various lines of business. With 31 years’ experience, an MBA and CIP designation, Padmaja today specializes in underwriting general liability and other commercial lines, often serving as mentor and referral point for her colleagues.
Winning a Canadian Broker Network (CBN) underwriter award has left her feeling “overwhelmed with delight and gratitude for the brokers that chose to recognize me,” she says. “The enormity of this award is not lost on me, and this has been a great moment for me to stop and celebrate in my everyday work.”
Q: What’s the biggest challenge for underwriters, and one thing that underwriters/insurers can do to overcome this? “We need to change the perception of our industry to the public by doing a better job of informing and educating them about how our industry works, and how insurance is a necessary and key component of a healthy economy. There are a lot of misconceptions about the insurance industry, and a general lack of understanding from the public about the causes behind increasing claims costs that are fuelling these misconceptions.”
Q: What’s one opportunity underwriters should focus more on? “Relationships. No amount of data can replace the effectiveness of a person-to-person discussion when trying to provide creative underwriting solutions for businesses across Canada, and sometimes around the world.”
Q: What makes for a great underwriter/broker working relationship? “Brokers need to find a risk-transfer solution that satisfies the needs of their client, while underwriters need to manage their company’s capital. Both brokers and underwriters need to have an honest line of communication to do this, which can be maintained by having a strong relationship and mutual feelings of trust and respect.”