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Chief Operating Officer for U.K. and Ireland Region
XL Insurance Co. Ltd.
Eileen McCusker started her career in insurance as an engineering underwriter in Glasgow, Scotland. She joined XL Capital Ltd. when the Bermudian company acquired Winterthur International from Credit Suisse Group in 2001. Ms. McCusker is one of the most senior women at XL Capital Ltd. Between 2004 and 2006, she was responsible for the reorganization of XL Insurance’s Nordic operations under one management structure based in Sweden.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "I’d say the most important qualities you can develop are self-belief, determination and integrity. We’re very lucky—there are tremendous opportunities in our industry. Self-belief and determination will help you make the most of them. Integrity, in terms of delivering what you commit to, will get you noticed for all the right reasons. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, you’ll get noticed anyway, but you’ll be remembered by your integrity."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "Since moving to London over 20 years ago I’ve been very fortunate to have had the support of some superb managers, who have consistently encouraged me to develop my career and backed my decisions. They enabled me to try new things without any fear of failure. I really don't want to single out any one person, but I'll always be grateful to one who was very generous with sharing his contacts and knowledge. It was both a boost to my career and an inspiring example."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "“I’d love to speed up the rate of change within the insurance industry. Insurance has evolved over centuries, which has provided a wonderful heritage but we need to combine the best of the old and the new. I’d like us all to embrace cutting edge technology, organizational agility and rapid decision-making. A modern, efficient and value-enhancing industry would benefit us all."
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.