Lockton’s Melanie Harding and Jessica Schade named Elite Women: 2023 Insurance Business List

For the second year, Insurance Business New Zealand has honoured female leaders who are breaking down barriers in the insurance industry.

And in 2023, Lockton’s New Zealand Head of Captives and Alternative Risk Transfer, Jessica Schade and our Chief Operating Officer, Melanie Harding, were among the 33 winners named as New Zealand’s Elite Women.

The list acknowledges these women as exceptional female insurance leaders who stood out as beacons of resilience.

Leading with their hearts and with empowerment for other women in the insurance industry, Jessica and Melanie have pursued initiatives such as mentorship and volunteered their time to help charities over the past 12 months.

They have also served as role models for women looking to launch a career in the insurance industry.

Commenting on all of the winners, Emma Gabor principal at Gabor Law who founded the Women in Insurance network and serves as its co-president stated, “Across the board, they are all doing different things and extraordinary work in their own way.”

Meet Jessica Schade

Jessica is a Chartered Accountant with a background in Finance and Economics. She has been forming and managing Captive Insurance Companies for major New Zealand and Australian clients since 2007. Widely considered the foremost expert in New Zealand in this space, her advisory services on Alternative Risk Transfer solutions are sought after by boards, management teams and external advisors representing a variety of international corporates, financial institutions, and membership bodies.

In addition to working with clients on ART solutions to optimise their individual short- and long-term risk financing strategies, Jessica has worked alongside organisations such as the World Bank on global initiatives to develop risk financing and insurance products which support human well-being and improve the financial resiliency of developing nations.
A founding member of the New Zealand Captive Insurance Association, Jessica is heavily involved in lobbying legislators in New Zealand and the Cook Islands to ensure legislation remains fit for purpose and relevant to Captive Insurance Companies.

This deep knowledge of the legislation and the fostering of excellent relationships with regulators has ensured Jessica’s reputation as the leading advocate for all Captive Insurance Companies in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Meet Melanie Harding

With 25+ years of industry experience, Melanie has a wide diversity of insurance experience as she has held roles in life insurance, captive management, corporate client management and operations. Her career path has taken her to Paris, Dublin, New York and Auckland. Through her international experience, Melanie has developed a deep and broad understanding of the insurance market and insurance processes which she brings to her current role as Chief Operating Officer.

Melanie's role at Lockton drew on her previous operational excellence and her strong technical and broking experiences to establish an effective framework for a start-up business. This now includes responsibilities for both the operational function as well as the risk and compliance requirements associated with the new licencing regime in particular. Her involvement is also central to process improvement and change initiatives to improve both the client and employee experiences. 

Melanie also volunteers her time for one of Lockton’s Associate Resource Groups that focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, raising awareness of support for certain corporate social responsibility causes and consideration of the ESG impact of Lockton’s business decisions.

Congratulations to all women who continue to inspire and lead the way

Lockton wishes to congratulate all of the winners and thanks Melanie and Jessica for their achievements, leadership, and meaningful contributions to the insurance industry.

Peter Lowe, CEO, of Lockton New Zealand said: “Jessica and Melanie are remarkable insurance leaders who are leading the way for others in the industry.”

The full article published by Insurance Business is available here. (opens a new window)