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Executive Vp, North American Retail National Partner
Willis Group Holdings Ltd.
Leslie Nylund's career spans the insurance and brokerage sides of the industry. She worked for American International Group Inc. in the large lines casualty/captive group and has been a senior production underwriter at Continental Insurance Co. She then moved on to Marsh Inc., where she was a managing director in charge of the global broking multilines and global broking environmental national practices at Marsh Global Broking. She then became managing director at Guy Carpenter & Co. Inc., where her responsibilities included overseeing several specialty practices. Ms. Nylund joined Willis in 2004 and now is responsible for Willis' sales performance, client service, administration, acquisition and recruiting in New York. She is a senior executive member on Willis' Employer of Choice committee, and she created the Willis Associate Client Advocate program and currently is mentoring two women associates.
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I want the industry to finally have the courage to make the information technology investments needed to become efficient and effective so we can deliver quality service to our clients. We need a collaborative effort between insurers and brokers to focus on the back-office administration and service side of the business, so we can deliver to the clients what they demand and require from the post-binding process. We need sets of uniform policy standards so we can more efficiently deliver policies that are accurate the first time, and we need systems to expedite claims payments. If we are more efficient with the paperwork, we can be more proactively consultative and creative."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Become a student of the business. Learn as many aspects of the business as possible and gain technical knowledge about products and contracts through formal training. Rotate around departments. Take on challenging new assignments. You’ll be valuable to the organization, to your clients and to yourself. Always seek out a mentor or multiple mentors and a coach that you can chat with."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "There have really been several accomplished executives, both men and women, who have been mentors, coaches and associates over the years."
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.