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Senior Vp and Chief Counsel for Professional Risk
New York
Age: 51


After joining ACE USA in 2003, Carol A.N. Zacharias established a dynamic model of delivering legal services that is designed to benefit underwriting needs as well as offer value to policyholders. Based on a concept she adopted from an early role model, Ms. Zacharias has forged an integrated team of lawyers, regulatory compliance and state filings experts who work closely with marketing and actuarial experts to brainstorm problems, solutions, cutting-edge ideas and marketplace innovations. Ms. Zacharias has participated in leadership roles on several American Bar Assn. committees and subcommittees in an effort to promote the advancement of her profession in the areas of litigation, business insurance and executive management liability. She currently is the co-chair of the Insurance Coverage Subcommittee of the ABA’s Committee on Corporate Counsel.


Greatest influence: "Two people. Terry Van Gilder, who started Chubb’s D&O; underwriting practice, and Ralph Jones, who managed it later. They were visionaries. They took chances. They had a vision of a team—not a typical underwriting team. Terry wanted a talented, hungry, hard-working dream team. He gave it to us to run. Early in our careers, we could do what we want, make mistakes, take charge and responsibility. We all were in the same boat and relied on each other as well as Terry. I really learned how to take risks and take chances and take charge in our little world. Ralph moved me away from being a technical lawyer. I’d bring in all of this work, and he’d push it aside and ask, 'Carol, what do you think we should do?' He moved me toward being a counselor, a general counsel, an adviser."


Advice to young women: "This would be advice to anybody. Find a leader to guide you and let you take risks you need to take to contribute to your field. To do that, you have to master two things: The technical. You have to become a technical expert to contribute. Two, counsel. Don’t try to win. In law school, you’re trained to win. But as a business lawyer, you have to blend insurers’, insureds’ and brokers’ business solutions and make it all work. If you have a winner, you need a loser. And you have to work very hard as a team player. You have to understand that everybody puts something into the equation. You have to understand those people are all good people working very, very hard."


Early aspirations: "I wanted to be an architect and had applied to 12 colleges. But given my math skills, I decided that wasn’t the best choice after all. So I went to a liberal arts college and then decided on law…. I wanted to be a medical malpractice defense litigator; I wanted to work with people who were bright and brilliant."

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  • 2007 Women to Watch

    Business Insurance's "Women to Watch" feature is our attempt to identify some of the women who are doing outstanding work in commercial insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.