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President and CEO
Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Pamela E. Davis entered the insurance business in 1989 when she launched the Nonprofits’ Insurance Alliance of California. Since then, NIAC has grown to be a significant player in the nonprofit insurance market in California with well over 5,000 policyholders and $50 million in annual premium volume. In 2000, she launched, with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates and David and the Lucile Packard foundations, the Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance Risk Retention Group, which began writing business in 2001 and now provides coverage to about 2,000 nonprofit organizations outside of California. She also started an offshore association captive, which reinsures the two insurance programs.
Q: If you had the ability to change one thing about the industry what would it be?
A: "I’d like to attend an event with senior executives of this industry and not have others automatically assume that I’m one of the spouses and not a peer."
Q: What advice would you give young women entering the industry today?
A: "Be honest with yourself and what motivates you. Find a role that is consistent with your values. Work hard. Learn from everyone. Don’t let yourself be defined by others’ expectations. Build a life that you have time to enjoy."
Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your career and why?
A: "It was a California state legislator who derided me in 1988 when I said nonprofits are being ill-treated by the commercial insurance industry. I remember thinking, before I left the hearing room that I was going to show—even if I had to prove it by creating an insurance company—that nonprofits were well-managed and desirable risks to insure. That is what goaded me to do it."
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.