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Omar Gemei: Preparing for the Data-Focused Future of the Insurance Industry

Omar Gemei is a Managing Director at Marsh and CEO of the global insurance and risk management firm's business in Egypt and Jordan. A recipient of the Spencer Scholarship, Omar is among the inaugural cohort of students in the new M.P.S. in Insurance Management program. He recently discussed his start in insurance and the growing role of data and analytics.

Tell me about your role at Marsh. What drew you to work in the insurance industry?

I am currently the CEO of Marsh Egypt & Jordan. My responsibilities include the management of Marsh’s operations in this territory, client management and firm’s engagement with the Egyptian and Jordanian insurance markets.

Like many people who work in the insurance industry, I never planned on working in the industry. I was recruited out of university into Marsh’s Risk Analyst Training Program, which introduces recent graduates to the industry by working in a specific product line or industry practice. What compelled me to join the firm was the collaborative culture at Marsh; and it was evident to me that being a risk and insurance professional was an opportunity to assist clients on some of their most pressing issues and the risks they face when operating their businesses.

What drew you to apply to Columbia's Insurance Management master's program? What was the deciding factor in your decision to enroll for the fall?

What drew me to apply to Columbia’s Insurance Management master’s program was the curriculum and high quality of the faculty and advisors. I found that all of the courses offered are very relevant and complementary to my current and any future role. It will also help provide more insight and perspective from outside of my firm that will help me develop my knowledge, which could lead to a positive impact to my clients, colleagues and firm.

You told me that you want to gain a deeper understanding of the new opportunities and trends through this program. Are there specific trends you've heard or read about that you're particularly interested in?

The specific trend that I’m interested in is how technology will shape the future of the industry and how operations, data and analytics will play a role in that. 

As you know, this degree is almost completely online. How do you plan to maximize the networking opportunities on the virtual platform? 

I think the past few months are proof that we live in a digital world with people successfully managing complex businesses all remotely. I believe that using Columbia’s cutting-edge virtual platform will make it easy for me to network and interact with the faculty and fellow cohort virtually, and I plan on taking advantage of that.

Based on your observations, how is this industry changing? What kinds of professionals do insurance enterprises need in the future?  

The industry is moving towards being more digital and data/analytics playing a larger role in how we operate insurance enterprises, whether you are in underwriting or broking. I believe insurance enterprises of the future will need executives who are well versed in the fundamentals of the business coupled with an understanding of how technology and people interface with one another.

Learn more about Columbia University’s M.P.S. in Insurance Management.