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2017 Women to Watch: Simona Fumagalli

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Simona Fumagalli
Country manager, Italy; chief underwriting officer for professional indemnity, international financial lines
XL Group Ltd.
Milan
Age: 42

As a female head of a multinational insurer’s operations for Italy, Simona Fumagalli is in a high-profile and rarefied space.

“When I started in my role as country manager in March of last year, I received a lot of good wishes from the local market because I am, I believe, one of the first women to be appointed into a country manager role in Italy,” said Ms. Fumagalli, country manager of Italy and chief underwriting officer for professional indemnity, international financial lines for XL Group Ltd., which does business as XL Catlin.

She first joined the industry at age 18 when she had an internship with Swiss Re Ltd. working on pollution and environmental insurance. “It was part of my studies,” Ms. Fumagalli said. “I liked it and decided to stay in the business.” 

Early in her career, she worked as both a broker, for a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., and an underwriter, but decided she wanted to be on the risk-taking side of the insurance business.

“I like taking the risk and making the decision,” Ms. Fumagalli said.

As country manager for Italy, she has overseen the development of a new environmental policy wording, and is working toward bringing new products to the Italian market before the end of this year.

She also values the people around her. “It’s a job based not only on numbers but also on relationships. It’s your team, it’s the people that you work with, your clients, your stakeholders outside the company,” she said.

Ms. Fumagalli used her broad skill set when bringing in changes to XL Catlin’s Italian operations, said Bruno Laval, regional director of Southern Europeinsurance at XL Catlin.

“Simona has shown great leadership, demonstrating an exceptional combination of determination and soft skills that has delivered superior execution and results in reshaping our Italian operation,” he said.

“Simona is a very strong woman, with great focus on objectives. In our insurance profession she can stand with a high profile and with sound experience despite her young age,” said Lucio Barbati, placement leader for Marsh S.p.A. in Milan.

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