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79 Helle Hammer, Cefor

Managing director sees insured values and reported premiums falling fast, creating challenging market conditions

HELLE Hammer has been managing director of the Nordic Association of Marine Insurers since October 2007, a position that makes her one of the most-high profile woman in the male-dominated world of marine insurance.

Cefor, as her employers are known by their local acronym, is the main representative body for what is effectively the largest single marine market outside London.

It is best known for the statistics it produces each year, and the latest figures clearly illustrate the current benign claims trend, with no claims above $30m for the first time in a decade.

But insured values and reported premiums are also falling fast, creating the challenging market conditions Ms Hammer highlighted when the latest annual edition was released last April.

Her other responsibilities include chairing of political forum at the International Union of Marine Insurance, giving her a formidable degree of influence in the niche.

After studying at Oslo Business School, Ms Hammer commenced her career working for Oslo city council, including a spell as a political advisor for councillors affiliated with Høyre, Norway’s main centre-right party.

Her CV also includes stints with her country’s trade and finance ministries, and two years based in Houston, Texas, where she represented Innovation Norway, the state-owned national development bank.

Shipping posts have included various roles at the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Det Norske Veritas and Oslo’s prestigious Shippingklubben shipping club.

A divorced mother of two student-age daughters, Ms Hammer hails from the provincial town of Hamar, where her father worked in a brewery. Her mother was a former school teacher turned local politician, who is still active and holds a seat in Oslo’s imposing town hall.

But despite her subsequent career trajectory, she had no connections with either the shipping or insurance worlds while growing up, beyond a gap year pre-university job in car insurance.

In her leisure time she shares the Norwegian national obsession with downhill ski-ing, and works out at the gym. She also plays golf, while her choice in music includes Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and whatever is in the charts.

Ms Hammer also appeared in the Top 100 in 2016.

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