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St. John's University, School of Risk Management
Ellen Thrower is a professor and the executive director of the School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science at St. John’s University's Peter J. Tobin College of Business. The School of Risk Management was formed following a merger with The College of Insurance, of which Ms. Thrower was president. Before joining The College of Insurance, she was a professor and director of the Insurance Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Ms. Thrower was the Assn. of Professional Insurance Women Inc.’s Insurance Woman of the Year in 1993.
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: Improving the image and understanding of the industry is one thing she said would like to change. “There’s a negative image that gets in the way of attracting talent.”
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: There are great opportunities in the insurance industry and young women interested in insurance should do thorough research on companies they are interviewing with to learn as much as they can about the companies, including whether they have demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of women in the industry by placing women on their boards or in senior leadership positions. “Do your homework and be selective.”
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: Joe Johnson and George Flanigan, two insurance professors at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where Ms. Thrower earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, helped guide her toward a career as an insurance professor. Robert Clements, co-founder of broker Integro Ltd., was another huge influence later during her career when they worked together during a period of “remarkable transformation” for the College of Insurance.
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.