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Vp and Chief Information Officer
Before joining RLI, Carol Denzer was a treaty accountant at E. W. Blanch Co. in Minneapolis. She began her RLI career in 1987 as a reinsurance accountant. Ms. Denzer earned several designations and was promoted to a variety of accounting and reinsurance positions, including chief property/casualty accountant as well as manager, reinsurance accounting. Ms. Denzer was named assistant vp of reinsurance in 1998; vp, reinsurance and catastrophe management in 2004; and to her current position in 2006. Ms. Denzer manages a staff of about 170 professionals across RLI's various information technology and operational departments.
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "My advice is to learn as much as you can, be true to yourself and others. Hard work will earn you respect and integrity in all that you do and will carry you wherever and to whatever you want to accomplish. In today's work environment, you will need to strive to become an expert in your field, but you should never lose sight of the big picture. Set some achievable goals, achieve them and then set others. Try not to get too comfortable. Work at building and maintaining mentoring relationships and support structures. Enjoy what you do."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "I have a very strong support system—starting with my parents, my husband, children and friends—which allows me to focus on my career. I have had numerous mentors at RLI that have allowed me the opportunity to take on new challenges and grow in my positions. My greatest influence has been my husband. He has never stopped supporting or believing in me through all of the ups and downs of my career."
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "The one item I would change, speaking as a domestic insurance carrier, is the fact that we are at a distinct expense (tax) disadvantage to offshore entities operating in the United States. Their expense advantage creates an uneven playing field and influences the natural insurance pricing market cycle…. I believe requiring offshore entities operating in the United States to pay their appropriate share of tax will help level the playing field and will ensure that insurance remains a capital market product for years to come."
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.