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2017 Women to Watch: Barbara Luck

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Barbara Luck
President of global excess casualty
XL Group Ltd.
New York
Age: 51

Barbara Luck doesn’t mind being called an “insurance geek” — in fact, that’s what she calls herself.

“I call myself a proud insurance geek partly because I love insurance and I’ve always enjoyed the coverage aspect and the real technical side of insurance,” she said. “I enjoy a good coverage discussion.” 

That’s coming from someone who initially thought she would pursue a career in law. Now president of excess casualty at XL Group Ltd., which does business as XL Catlin, she started her career at American International Group Inc. as a paralegal.

“Once I started working with the underwriters, I realized that was the direction I wanted to go in,” said Ms. Luck.

Named to her current New York-based role of president of global excess casualty in December 2016, Ms. Luck in less than a year has overseen the reorganization of the unit to five U.S. regions from three, which is intended to better serve brokers’ and policyholders’ excess and umbrella liability needs and prepare for future growth. She has added more than 400 new accounts and improved the retention rate to almost 92%.

“Quite honestly, Barbara’s the one you go to when you need to get stuff done,” Joe Tocco, chief executive of North America insurance at XL Catlin, said in an email. “She’s kept that business on a steep path of profitable growth and pushed for more regional resources to put underwriters closer to our clients.”

Ms. Luck said the most challenging part of the job is pushing herself and her team “to think differently about the business, to question what we’ve done for years and look at it with a fresh set of eyes.” 

Young women should seriously consider insurance as a career, she said. “If you want to be in an industry where you are always learning about clients, changing risks or emerging issues, where you have an opportunity to challenge yourself to find solutions ... I would recommend this industry. There are so many opportunities for them to find their passion,” whether with an insurer or brokerage, or as a risk manager.

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