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Senior Vice President, Professional Risk Group
Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc.
Meredith Schnur established Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc.’s technology, privacy and network risk practice in 2007, growing it to more than $2 million in commissions and fees in just four years. She also helped organize the first NetDiligence Conference in 2010, co-chaired it during its second year and co-authored a network security and privacy claims study sponsored by the organization in 2012. Ms. Schnur came to Wells Fargo as a result of its acquisition of Wachovia in 2009. Before that, she worked for Palmer & Cay L.L.C., which Wachovia acquired in 2003. Before joining the brokerage side of the insurance business, Ms. Schnur worked as an underwriter, first at American International Group Inc., then at Chubb Corp. and later at Royal Insurance Co. Her underwriting responsibilities included such lines as professional liability, directors and officers liability, fiduciary liability, employment practices liability, technology errors and omissions liability and media liability.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
Persistence: Don’t be afraid to raise your hand. Find a mentor, and find a mentor early. There is a lot of opportunity for women, and you can’t be afraid to raise your hand for something and you’ve got to be persistent. I wish I had a mentor early on.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR LIFE?
Career best advice: When faced with challenging decision, take a step back and do not respond immediately. Your initial response may not be the best response. Best personal advice: Get to know yourself. If you don’t know yourself, you won’t persevere in personal life or in business.
WHAT’S THE BEST-KEPT SECRET ABOUT WORKING IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
We’re a very tight-knit community. It’s a very supportive environment. The people in your niche pretty much know everybody.
WHAT’S THE NEXT MAJOR CHALLENGE IN YOUR BUSINESS SECTOR?
Technology, network and privacy are evolving every day. Nobody knows what the future brings. Therefore, litigation is changing and evolving. The major challenge is we don’t have a crystal ball. Unlike with property insurance, you can’t forecast out. We’re starting to get statistical analysis, but it’s current, and it could change tomorrow.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELIEVE STRESS?
I exercise. I like to run and ski. In fact, I ran around the neighborhood after Superstorm Sandy. I don’t need an hour in the gym. That would be nice, but I’ve got two little kids. But if I get 30 or 40 minutes in, it helps my mood and it helps me think clearer. I just like to be outside.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET VICE?
It’s (an exercise routine) called “the Bar Method.” I’m addicted to it. I’m in the middle of a hurricane with no power, and I had to take a class this morning.
WHAT SKILL HAS BEEN AN UNEXPECTED AID TO YOUR CAREER?
My social skills. I was always very organized and scholastic. But that’s so expected. My social skills helped because insurance is such a people business. I’m a work-hard, play-hard personality. It was a very unexpected aid.
WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I don’t have time for it right now, but once my kids are raised and they don’t need me as much, I would like to be some kind of certified teacher of exercise or a personal trainer.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature recognizes women doing outstanding work in insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.