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UP CLOSE: Sara Benolken



Willis Group Holdings P.L.C.

PREVIOUS POSITION: Austin-based North American leader for technology, media and telecommunications for Willis North America Inc.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Creating new solutions that address more significant risks that (technology, media and telecommunications) clients are facing today.

CHALLENGES FACING INDUSTRY: Managing the rapidly changing risk profiles. Just this morning, I was reading about 3-D printers. We're been covering printers forever, and now there is a whole new level of complexity.

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: That is the fun part of what I do. We are looking to turn the industry's dial to adapt to focus on protecting the risks. Instead of looking at traditional lines of coverage, we are looking at other protections in a new way. We want to focus on what's important for our customers.

WHAT I WOULD CHANGE: The underwriting paradigm of “Well, we always do it that way.” It needs to be more nimble and focused in a new way.

FIRST INDUSTRY JOB: I was a broker program intern for a division of Sedgwick that has undergone mergers and was purchased by Marsh.

WHAT SURPRISED ME: I was quite naïve. I was surprised at how vast and diverse the industry was.

OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY, A DREAM JOB: A think-tank director. It's a fascinating place. They sit around and say, let's solve this problem.

THING MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME: Every year I challenge myself to learn something completely outside of my scope and study it. For instance, one year as an intellectual journey I challenged myself to read the Dead Sea Scrolls. It wasn't religious, it was just to learn.

FAVORITE MEAL: Anything my mother cooks.