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To the editor: Although I applaud Business Insurance's attempt to give attention to women leaders in the insurance industry in the Oct. 9 "Women to Watch" issue, these "people to watch" lists appear to be nothing more than popularity contests and marketing opportunities by the dominant players in the industry. From what I read, there appears to be very little substance in the criteria used to select these leaders.
These contests leave me wondering "why" these women should be watched. I don't see any basis for suggesting they will "change" the industry. Most will likely protect their company's market share and avoid change so that they keep the entrenched positions intact. The changes that many of these companies promote are incremental. These women may likely be the next women promoted up the corporate ladder, so perhaps this list can be called a "women on the fast-track" list, but I don't buy that many of them will change the industry in any meaningful way.
I would like to see BI do a more thorough examination of the marketplace and identify a handful of women (or men) who are truly doing things to improve the industry in dramatic ways. This would give more substance to such cherry picking. My pick for the person who most changed the industry over the past year: New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Now there's a change agent who altered the industry for the better in one big swoop!
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pelto Group Inc.