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Kim Wilkerson

Kim Wilkerson

Kim Wilkerson
Senior vice president and general counsel
XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd.
Hamilton, Bermuda
Age: 52

An insurance company's in-house counsel is often thought of as a purely defensive entity, but Kim Wilkerson views her role as the senior vice president and general counsel at XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd., a unit of XL Group P.L.C., in more constructive terms.

“Legal can be a kind of black hole from the client's perspective, where there's no face or name associated the people who are often saying "no,'” Ms. Wilkerson said. “I like to have conversations with our clients directly.”

After 15 years as a commercial insurance broker for Sedgwick Global Broking Ltd. and, later, Marsh Global Broking, Ms. Wilkerson said the time came in 1997 for her to pursue her childhood dream of practicing law. “I'd always had an interest in law, but the combining of insurance and law only came later in my career,” she said. “It wasn't until my mid-30s that I decided that I'd better get my law degree before I get to 65 and regret that I never did.”

Admitted as a barrister and attorney in England and Wales in 2002 and Bermuda in 2003, Ms. Wilkerson spent the next several years in private practice with the Hamilton, Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance specialty law firm of Attride-Stirling & Woloniecki before joining XL Insurance in 2007.

Patrick Tannock, president of XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd., said Ms. Wilkerson's aptitude for insurance law and her extensive brokerage experience are just part of what makes her a unique operational and strategic asset to the company. “She's definitely a differentiator for us,” Mr. Tannock said. “Kim's background as a broker allows her to see things from both (client and insurer) perspectives. She can relate to them and help us frame our responses to the brokerage community.”

A firm believer of “letting relationships reign,” Ms. Wilkerson dedicates substantial time and energy to advancing the careers of XL Insurance's young professionals, and is particularly active in mentoring young women.

“I think you learn so much from helping other people and learning about who they are and where they are in their career,” she said.

By Matt Dunning