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UP CLOSE: Walter Grote

UP CLOSE: Walter Grote


QBE North America

PREVIOUS POSITION: Chicago-based senior vice president and Midwest zone leader for Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty S.E.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Getting to know my new team and our producers and customers, to execute our vision of being a specialist-focused company in underwriting excellence.

GOALS FOR NEW POSITION: Take QBE deeper into the middle- and small-market spaces.

CHALLENGES FACING INDUSTRY: Right now, risk is forever changing. Technology is giving and taking relative to risk. From drones to cyber, there are many challenges ahead of us.

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK: The rate environment being so difficult ... companies need to rely more on underwriting and portfolio management to manage through.

FIRST INDUSTRY JOB: A surety and management liability underwriter at Aetna Inc.

WHAT SURPRISED ME: That QBE has launched 30 new products in the last 18 months.

ADVICE: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes the greatest challenges present the greatest rewards.

OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY, A DREAM JOB: To own an auto-detailing business.

HOBBIES: Coaching lacrosse, skiing, water sports, boating and hiking.

THING MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME: I've completed a Tough Mudder (race).

WHEN I RETIRE: Volunteer more with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations, travel with my wife and spend time with my two girls.

FAVORITE MEAL: Any meal at Simon Pearce in Quechee, Vermont.

FAVORITE BOOK: “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell.

CAN'T-MISS TELEVISION SHOW: Any televised Buffalo Bills game.

BEST CITY: Florence, Italy. The history and culture are fabulous.

ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Spending time with my family — I have two teenage daughters — and walking the dog to the dog beach to toss the ball for him.

THOUGHTS ON SMARTPHONES: I call them a blessing and a curse; so much information at your fingertips, but so hard to unplug and be in the now.

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