Jun 15 • 3 min read
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Jimmy Guardino, BBA ’10 | Associate Director of Facultative Reinsurance, Aon Benfield

All fun and games: One of Guardino’s newest pastimes is mahjong, a Chinese tile-based game. “Most of my fiancé’s friends are both shocked and delighted to hear that I’ve learned the game, mostly because they think I will be an easy target.”

Jimmy Guardino, BBA ’10, has lived and worked in Singapore since 2012, when he joined Aon Benfield. There, in one of the world’s leading hubs for the facultative reinsurance industry, Guardino oversees the brokering of reinsurance for insurance companies that are seeking unique facultative solutions for their property and casualty risks throughout Southeast Asia.

To stay connected, Guardino regularly consumes American programming like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The Daily Show,” and “Saturday Night Live.” “I live for shows like that. Most American expats here do,” he says. “In those first few months away from home, anytime I could catch an American show on TV or even just hearing Taylor Swift over the radio in a taxi, those moments were surreal. It was when I realized firsthand the sheer level of influence American pop-culture has even on the other side of the world.”

The Norristown, Penn., native took a circuitous route into his field. Guardino played in a touring band during his Temple days. The Economics major learned of an internship opportunity at Malvern-based Cevian Intermediaries, an independent reinsurance broker and intermediary. After graduation, Guardino worked with Cevian and, while on an assignment in Bermuda, began networking with an executive from Aon Benfield.

“I had returned to the Philadelphia area for about six months when I received a call in the middle of the night. That was when I found out about this opportunity in Singapore,” Guardino says. Aon Benfield offered to cover Guardino’s travel arrangements to Singapore from Philadelphia, including all moving expenses. If he didn’t care for the job, he was told he could move back at the end of his two-year contract. Guardino asked himself, “What is there to lose?”

The move has paid off. Guardino is an associate director of facultative reinsurance with Aon Benfield, assisting clients with the management and transfer of risk. He specializes in the placement and negotiation of facultative policies related to terrorism, political violence, property, power generation, and contingency.

Outside of his professional career, Guardino is a competitive cyclist on an amateur Asian tour, participating in racing events in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

He also is recently engaged to a Singaporean colleague whom he met for the first time at a work event in October 2013.

“Meeting Jacelyn was what really helped me to complete the transformation from ‘I am here on an assignment,’ to ‘Singapore could be my home for the foreseeable future,'” he says. On a personal level, as a result, Guardino considers himself fully engrained to life in Singapore. Well, at least most aspects of it.

“Singapore is located approximately 88 miles from the equator, so the temperature ranges from 70 to 95 degrees every day, with humidity,” he says. “The sun rises and the sun sets at the same time. It’s kind of like the (1993) movie ‘Groundhog Day.’

“There are days when the stress of work gets to you, and you envy friends and family back home. But I don’t regret moving here at all. It has paid off in more ways than one. I just don’t know where the time went. It feels like only last year that I was deciding whether to make the move. Now I’m here and my life has forever changed for the better.”

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