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Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
Barbara Haugen has represented commercial brokers since 1981, when she joined the National Assn. of Insurance Brokers as vp-government affairs. Ms. Haugen was NAIB’s senior vp government in 1998 when that organization merged with the CIAB. She assumed her current position after the merger. In this role, Ms. Haugen was a driving force in the 2001 creation of the Council of Employee Benefit Executives, a board within the CIAB. Prior to entering the insurance industry, Ms. Haugen was a director of communications in the Carter Administration.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "When I worked in the Carter White House, Sarah Weddington (assistant to the president) used to say ‘It’s fine to plan your career path and stay focused, but also stay open to new opportunities.’ So I would advise young women entering the industry to take a chance when your gut tells you an opportunity would be fun, challenging and fulfilling."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "Ten years ago I would have answered this question differently. But today, I would have to say my mom. She was dynamic and had courage. She was active in politics, the community and took over my dad’s contracting business when he died. She taught me independence and the value of hard work. Teaching independence by example is a huge gift."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I would like to see stronger ties and cooperation between property/casualty and the benefits side of the industry. It would better serve our members. There’s ongoing friction between benefits and property/casualty. The two sides don’t understand each other’s businesses and are hesitant to cooperate. Cooperation strengthens both sides. Within a company, cooperation creates internal harmony that builds a stronger overall team."
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.