A Leap of Faith Headshot

Ian Henderson

MA (Hons) Business Studies 2004

Bermuda Reinsurance Controller and Assistant Head of Finance (Property Segment), RenaissanceRe

Graduating in 2004, Ian took the opportunity to take a year out and combine some casual work and travel. As that year came to a close he was still no further forward in knowing what he wanted to do or where he wanted to be.

"For most, I expect that there's a stark contrast between the ambitions of where they see their post-university life going and the reality of where it goes. I certainly fell into that bucket."

Needing to take the first step in his career, Ian took the opportunity to enrol with a small accountancy firm in Edinburgh for their Chartered Accountant (CA) training programme. He secured the role through a network of friends from University and rugby, something to this day that he is entirely grateful for.

"Either knowingly or unknowingly, going to Edinburgh opens doors. There's a vast network out there of alumni that I've met throughout my career and we share that common experience."

Ian completed his CA designation in 2008 and taking a leap of faith he moved to Bermuda for a two-year work placement with PwC. Having planned on returning to the UK after two years, Ian instead joined RenaissanceRe and has been in Bermuda ever since.

Whether it be at school, university, or his CA exams, Ian always worked hard and explains that this mindset allowed him to come away with the best results, keeping as many doors open for his career as possible.

"I'm a believer that if you want something, work hard and go get it. My mum would always tell me 'what's for you won't go past you'. Having gone through a couple of disappointments along the way, this has always resonated with me and I wouldn't change a thing now. Don't dwell on the past or worry about things you can't control—there are better ways to spend time and energy."

Not only did Ian win the Robert McArthur prize for meritorious distinction in his CA exams, he has also played international rugby for Bermuda, gaining 4 caps as part of their 2015 World Cup qualification process.

Looking ahead, Ian sees the (re)insurance industry going through considerable change through a combination of an abundance of capital, technological change, and M&A activity, embracing that change is going to shape the industry for years to come. On a broader level, Ian has an eye on climate change and hopes that government and industry develop large-scale projects that make a difference.

I had no idea of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. But I did have a great degree from a great institution behind me.