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Covington & Burling L.L.P.
Anna Engh has worked to assist companies of all sizes in negotiating insurance policies and resolving coverage disputes, helping clients to recover hundreds of millions of dollars from their insurers. Ms. Engh worked as the lead litigation counsel for Geneva-based Foster Wheeler A.G., helping the engineering and construction firm to resolve asbestos coverage litigation with its insurers this year. She also served as the lead litigation counsel for Midland, Mich.-based Dow Corning Corp. as the chemical manufacturer resolved an insurance dispute last year concerning breast implant claims against the company. Outside of work, Ms. Engh has helped represent defendants in death penalty cases, provided free legal advice to people in need at a Washington nonprofit organization, and served on the board of trustees for the William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Va.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
The first is for women to reach out and develop mentors. I think mentoring relationships are extremely important in, of course, many fields. But in particular, I think … in the insurance area, it's very helpful to find mentors who women can reach out with and work with, and who take an interest in that individual's success. And (something) kind of related, I think, is really learning the business, taking every opportunity to learn something new. … It will certainly be a huge step forward to develop success in the area.
WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE RECEIVED IN YOUR LIFE?
I think it was Voltaire that came up with this originally: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. … I think there's a tendency particularly for women to strive for complete perfection. … I think it's (about) getting a bit over the tendency to strive for complete perfection and really (focusing) on practicalities and getting something done.
WHAT'S THE BEST-KEPT SECRET ABOUT WORKING IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
It's fascinating. … The whole dynamic of what the insurance industry does in terms of spreading risks is very interesting.
WHAT'S THE NEXT MAJOR CHALLENGE IN YOUR BUSINESS SECTOR?
I think there are a number of emerging issues. One is … hydrofracking. I think as that develops, that will become an issue on the … environmental coverage front. I think climate change and global warming is another area where we'll see emerging issues and challenges. And another area that I would consider hot and producing major challenges is the areas of cyber security, data breach and the liability risks associated with that.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELIEVE STRESS?
I love yoga, and I also play the piano. I'd say those are my two top stress relievers. And my daughter just got certified to teach yoga. … She lives in New York, but I'm hoping maybe she'll teach me a little bit, too.
WHAT'S YOUR SECRET VICE?
Scrabble online. I have Scrabble on my iPad. Sometimes (when) you're too tired to read and you just don't feel like doing anything, I … relax (by) doing that.
WHAT SKILL HAS BEEN AN UNEXPECTED AID TO YOUR CAREER?
Math skills. I think you … go to law school thinking that the key skills are writing and reading and … research skills. But in this area … analytical math skills have really served me very well, and I would say that's very unexpected for a law career. … My cases often come with very complex types of allocation of insurance costs to different policies. You don't have to be a math genius, but you have to be pretty sharp to get a good sense of the math aspects of it.
WHAT'S AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I would love to go to the Galapagos Islands.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature recognizes women doing outstanding work in insurance, risk management, employee benefits and related fields.