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Like many other people, Shari Natovitz, senior vice president and director of risk management at New York-based Silverstein Properties Inc., entered the insurance industry “by mistake,” she said.
She needed a job and found one at the bottom of the ladder in the rating department of an insurer. Her career progressed through stints as a broker at Johnson & Higgins, which was acquired by what was then Marsh Inc., and then as an independent consultant.
From there she moved into risk finance and construction leader for USI Insurance Services L.L.C., which brought her into contact with Silverstein Properties.
USI was one of many brokers that participated in a competition to become Silverstein Properties' broker, but it was ultimately deemed to be too small, she said.
In March 2005, shortly after Silverstein chose another broker for the World Trade Center project, it approached Ms. Natovitz about becoming the company's risk manager. She was hesitant because she lived in the Washington suburb of Germantown, Maryland, but Silverstein agreed to allow her to commute to New York.
Over the years, Ms. Natovitz has been active in the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. at both the local and national levels. She credits the New York RIMS chapter with helping her make the transition from broker to risk manager. At the national level, she was a member of RIMS' external affairs committee and its conference planning committee.
Among other things, Ms. Natovitz has been named Insurance Professional of the Year by the New York City Association of Insurance Women and was among Business Insurance's 2009 Women to Watch.
Ms. Natovitz is also a booster of risk management and insurance education. She has served as risk manager in residence at three different universities — Troy University in Troy, Alabama; Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana; and Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
“It comes across to the students not only that risk management can be fun, but "I'm going to have a head start that gave me a background in risk management and I can build layers on that to build a career,'” she said.
Outside of work, Ms. Natovitz, a New Jersey native, enjoys sports and follows the Mets and Yankees as well as the New York Giants.
She also enjoys rock music, adding, “I don't get to as many concerts as I would like.” The Eagles and Rolling Stones are at the top of her list of favorite bands.
Ms. Natovitz, who attended George Washington University in Washington, lives with her husband, Miles, and their German shepherd rescue dogs, Duchess and Candy, in Germantown.
Silverstein Properties Inc. may be best known for its iconic New York buildings, so it's hardly surprising that production companies would like to use some of them as sets for television shows, movies and commercials.