With her pioneering role and four decades in the industry, Ms Aruno Rajaratnam is being saluted for her ongoing contributions and thought leadership, putting Asia on the insurance world map. Her role in training and educating the newer generation of insurance professionals is commendable.
Few are those who can match the length, breadth and depth of a career like that of Ms Aruno Rajaratnam, which spans 45 years in Asia Pacific’s insurance industry. She has led diverse roles including principal office, insurance broker, loss adjuster, claims manager, underwriter and reinsurer.
Ms Rajaratnam has demonstrated outstanding leadership and is a role model for insurance executives in the region. In 2014, she was recognised for her contributions to the liability industry and conferred the PLUS 1 Award at the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) International Conference in Las Vegas, USA. She is the first Asian and only the second woman to receive the award. In 2015, she was awarded the Personality of The Year Award at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards. In her career, she has influenced the development of industry practices and actively worked towards boosting greater professionalism in the market through several pioneering milestones. In 1990, she was responsible for co-authoring the mandatory textbook for the Certificate of general Insurance in Singapore, which was reproduced later for the Hong Kong market. A year later in 1991, she developed and managed the first Compulsory Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme for lawyers in Singapore.
Ms Rajaratnam has been a trainer and mentor for the “next two” generations of the industry. From being a lecturer at the Singapore College of Insurance and then at the Malaysian Insurance Institute since the 1980s, she has run workshops in India for the Bima Gyaan series, a platform which brings like-minded people together to discuss the changing global landscape, emerging trends, product and coverage issues. Today, despite a hectic schedule of Board Meetings in Singapore and Malaysia, she continues to organise and run workshops at insurance forums and speaks about the Financial Lines market all over Asia and UK. She is a true trailblazer; whose name is familiar throughout the regional industry.
Every success story starts with humble beginnings
In her school years, Ms Rajaratnam met an American Peace Corp Teacher, Richard Johannessen, from Oregon, USA who became her mentor and opened her eyes to a world outside of the small village in North Malaysian where she was brought up. His encouragement led her to the Law School in Singapore where she obtained her qualification. Ms Rajaratnam’s career in insurance began in 1975 when she found out about a new Insurance Co-Operative called NTUC Income that was looking for a trainee for their claims division. After three rounds of interviews, she landed the job that changed her life.
After a few years of doing motor, workmens’ compensation, marine cargo and personal lines claims, Ms Rajaratnam joined an international broker, Heath Langeveldt Rollins and had her very first experience of dealing with Medical Malpractice, Lawyers, Surveyors and Construction claims. The experience was tremendous, and she started making a name for herself as a tough negotiator.
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