Insurance is about sharing risk and taking care of one another: a work-life balance interview with Meghan Gardner

"Insurance by its very nature builds a sense of community and support, which is important to me."

How did you get into insurance?

I got into insurance because of a unique job opportunity to practise regulatory law, live in St. John’s and be close to my family.

When are you at your happiest?

I’m watching my kids play sports, hiking, camping, doing anything outdoors really, or travelling to new places.

What are you working on at the moment

Leadership development. It’s a top priority for us in Canada this year. I’m designing and delivering programmes and interventions.

What new skill would you most like to learn?

I want to learn to play the cello. My 10 year-old son plays and I am envious!

What’s surprised you the most about working in the insurance industry?

How interesting it is! As a consumer it seems boring but it’s really fascinating and there is always so much to learn.

What’s your go-to dinner party recipe?

I make a goat cheese and balsamic appetiser that has become my trademark–total crowd pleaser!

Your first role at RSA was in the legal department. How did you end up in operational excellence?

My first mandate was to build a compliance framework for a wholly owned subsidiary. But off the side of my desk, I ended up providing a lot of advice to the HR team on their policy development, their risk management and employer liability practices. I was becoming a bit of an unofficial member of the HR team and in time a leadership position came open. It felt really natural, even though it is slightly unorthodox.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

My immediate reaction is this slightly unknown Canadian actress Sarah Polley, who is incredible by the way!

What change would you like to see our insurance industry?

I’d like to see the industry play an even bigger role in fighting climate change.

How do you describe your job to people at parties?

My Mom told me the other day that she has no idea what I do, so I probably don’t do a good job describing it!

The label HR gives some frame of reference for people. I would describe it as using data to understand the workforce, I wouldn’t go farther than that. My job does not lend itself to party talk!

How is insurance making the world a better place?

Insurance gives people peace of mind. It’s about sharing risk and taking care of one another. By its very nature, insurance builds a sense of community and support which is important to me.

What are you currently binge-watching, listening or reading?

I don’t watch a lot of TV. I prefer to read and I love non-fiction. I’m currently listening to a podcast called Thunder Bay about a remote Canadian community. The last good book I read was Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance.