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2017 Women to Watch: Alice Underwood

Posted On: Dec. 4, 2017 12:00 AM CST

Alice Underwood
Global leader, insurance consulting and technology
Willis Towers Watson P.L.C.
New York
Age: 50

Having decided that continuing to be a math professor was no longer her priority, Alice Underwood had a decision to make.

“Well, I’ve got all this math, what can I do?” Ms. Underwood said she asked herself. “This actuarial thing sounds like something maybe I could do.” 

It was not a choice that had occurred to her when she was originally planning her career.

“Like a lot of people, I wound up in the insurance industry by accident,” said Ms. Underwood, who is now global leader, insurance consulting and technology at Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. in New York. “I had originally thought I was going to be a mathematics professor,” said Ms. Underwood, who was on the faculty of the University of North Texas from 1993-1996.

Having joined the industry, she sees insurance as vital and integral to global business and people’s lives.

“The insurance industry is there to help people do all the other things they want to do,” Ms. Underwood said. “You really couldn’t have a modern economy without insurance. I’ve been very fortunate in that it’s been a terrific career for me.” A career which has taken her to many places and meet different people.

“It’s given me the opportunity to see businesses in different parts of the world, to live overseas, and to connect with a lot of people in businesses that I had never thought about when I was a college student planning my career.”

Colleagues and business associates note her technical abilities and the breadth of her accomplishments.

“Alice Underwood is exceptional in her ability to respectfully translate complex concepts into the understandable,” said Amy Stern, chief ceded reinsurance officer, global reinsurance, at American International Group Inc.’s property/casualty business in New York.

“Alice has an absolutely unbelievable aptitude to accomplish a broad and varied range of corporate objectives,” said Lindsey Frase, executive vice president for Willis Re Inc. in San Francisco, and a 2015 Women to Watch honoree.

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