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Vp, Western Division Claims Manager
Factory Mutual Insurance Co.
Maxine Walker joined Factory Mutual Engineering & Research in 1981 as a loss prevention consultant, and later joined Arkwright Mutual Insurance Co. where she was assistant claims manger of southern operations. After Arkwright joined the other two Factory Mutual companies to form Factory Mutual Insurance Co., Ms. Walker became claims manager for the forest products operation. She was named operations claims manager in New York in 2003 and assumed her current position earlier this year.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Do not limit your career opportunities based on gender. Determine what your career goals are, and always strive to be the very best. Embrace the challenges and opportunities which may come your way and allow yourself to take risks. You will be amazed to discover what you can accomplish through your hard work and commitment."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "It would be difficult for me to name one individual that has had the most influence on my career. I have been so fortunate to have several key mentors at various points during the course of my career, and each one played a pivotal role in my development. Many people are lucky if they have one key mentor over the span of their careers. My work ethic was instilled in me many years ago by my grandparents while growing up and working with them on their farm. That early influence has had a significant impact on my approach to my career over the years."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "If I could change one thing it would be to improve the public perception of the industry. There is so much more good will prevalent within the industry than is perceived by the general public. For example, once a major loss or catastrophe occurs, there is a tremendous amount of effort shared by the insurers with their clients to repair damaged property and restore business operations, which all have an impact on the overall economy. I would like to see more of this type of information/results shared with the public."
Business Insurance's report on "Women to Watch" is our attempt to identify some of the women who are leading change in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.