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Executive Vp and Chief Operating Officer
Endurance Specialty Insurance Ltd.
Susan J. Patschak became an actuary before joining Tillinghast-Towers Perrin in 1985, where she worked for the next 17 years, holding several senior management positions. She then joined ACE Ltd. in 2002, where she served as global chief actuary and led a team of more than 100 actuaries. Ms. Patschak joined Endurance in 2004 and was responsible for the property-catastrophe unit. Earlier this year, she was promoted to executive vp and chief operating officer. In addition to the responsibilities of her new position, she is a member of the executive team of Endurance Specialty Holdings Ltd., and serves on the Loss Reserve Committee overseeing the liability levels for all of the Endurance Specialty Holdings companies.
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I think as far as the industry as a whole, I would love to see less regulation. But if you are looking at people in the industry, we need to raise the bar on the level of talent we select and hire. By taking a more proactive role and identifying the skill sets we need to succeed, we could then hire the best and brightest young people and raise the overall talent in our industry to a higher level."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Start with building a foundation and building a network. Pay attention to detail and prove that you can keep confidences. Be sure to have fun, because life is too short not to have fun."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "I would have to say my paternal grandmother, particularly as I was going through actuarial exams and working. She was always of the opinion that you should do whatever you can do so you do not have to rely on someone else. She always said not to settle for less than you are capable of doing. Strive for excellence."
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.