Ashley Hunter Is Trailblazing a New, Transparent Approach to Risk Management
According to an S&P Global Market Intelligence report published last year, the percentage of Black employees in the insurance industry is up from 9 percent in 2009 to 12.4 percent in 2019. While, yes, it’s an improvement, the numbers are still quite abysmal. But Ashley Hunter, founder and managing director of HM Risk Group, hasn’t let the lack of representation stop her from turning her boutique insurance and risk management firm into a leader in the development of niche insurance products.
“We take a more proactive approach to underwriting, and we look to insure risks that are emerging and not traditional risks,” Hunter explains. “This allows us to see recent innovations and how to best respond to risk management issues.” The Black female founder recently spoke to Worth about how HM Risk Group is changing the insurance game and what type of impact she hopes to have on the world.
Q: What led you to start HM Risk Group, and what differentiates it from the other players in the insurance and risk management space?
A: The insurance and risk management industry has historically been founded and led by men. I found that many female founders wanted to work with someone who was able to discuss coverage options with women in this space. When I founded HM Risk Group, I wanted to offer bespoke insurance coverage and advisory services that went beyond just trying to close the deal. Many companies are driven by the bottom line, I founded HM Risk Group because I was passionate about risk management and wanted to make sure that business owners truly understood the insurance coverage that they were purchasing. We spend time learning about our clients’ businesses, and since we specialize in unique risks, it is important for us to understand every detail, which usually takes more time than many of our competitors are willing to do. We want to be an extension of our clients’ businesses; we want to be the first call our clients make when things are bad or great!
As a member of Austin’s Platinum Green Business Leaders, sustainability is clearly front of mind for you. Can you tell me more about any sustainability initiatives HM Risk Group has undertaken? Have sustainable business practices always been important to you?
I am sure this comes as no surprise to you, but we use a TON of paper in the insurance industry. It isn’t lost on me the ways that we create waste from printed paper applications to policies. We have a “no” print policy at HM Risk Group—meaning we will accept e-signatures and will send policies forms by email.
Ultimately, what kind of impact do you hope to have with HM Risk Group?
I want to show other women of color that the only limits that you have are the ones that you place on yourself. If you stay focused, anything is possible.