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2015 40 Under 40 Broker Awards: Casey Petersen

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Executive vice president and chief broking officer

Willis of Illinois, a unit of Willis of North America Inc.

Age: 39

Casey Petersen credits a diverse career in insurance brokerage that led him to where he is today: leading Willis of Illinois Inc.'s Chicago broking team of about 20 brokers, writing over $500 million in premium.

“In my relatively short career, I have done some different things: underwriting broking leader, an office leader and then back to a broking leader in a different area.” he said. “Each one built on the success of the other. Every job I have had in the industry has prepared me for the next level.”

An accounting major in college, Mr. Petersen started his career with two college internships with Chubb Corp.

Before this introduction to the insurance industry, he saw himself becoming a math teacher and, maybe, also a soccer coach.

“It wasn't until I had the opportunity to work in the professional environment to see that it is an exciting world,” he said.

Mr. Petersen said he liked that he could do anything, go anywhere within the realm of insurance. “I really enjoyed the diversity of the industry,” he said. “Each day you never know what will come up in regard to great projects.”

He calls the environment at Willis “very entrepreneurial.”

“They promote people to come up with ideas to enhance the work experience,” he said.

Paty Daves, managing partner at Willis of Illinois, calls Mr. Petersen a standout professional.

“Casey excels at understanding the unique characteristics of his clients, and applies that knowledge in delivering market-beating outcomes regardless of the soft/hard dynamics,” Mr. Daves wrote. “He is fair in negotiations with underwriters, but also tenacious, and he consistently delivers.”