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Director, enterprise risk and global insurance
Liz Walker had been working for Groupon Inc. as senior litigation counsel for 3½ years when she pitched the higher-ups on the online marketplace’s need for a formal risk manager — and that she was the right person for the job.
“It’s my favorite job that I’ve ever had in my career, hands down,” she said. “I rise and fall with it. It’s my department. I get to set the vision. I like that ownership.” Her first priority was to examine the company’s insurance policies to ensure they made sense, including appropriate limits and tailored language. “We have a fairly unique business, so having cookie-cutter policies wouldn’t be enough,” she said.
Other priorities included raising awareness of her new role at the international level across the company and helping to craft how Groupon views risk from an enterprise perspective. “Not having a role like this exist before means … you have this great opportunity to make a meaningful impact,” she said.
Cindy Slubowski, vice president and head of manufacturing and technology for Zurich North America, met Ms. Walker through the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s Chicago chapter, of which Ms. Walker is a board member.
“I know she’s working very, very hard to change the landscape of risk management, not only in her own company but in general, and I think that’s been needed for a long time in the risk management community,” she said. “Liz pushes to play a bigger role in her corporation other than just buying insurance, and I think all risk managers should strive to do that.”
Reid Sawyer, senior vice president and emerging risks practice leader for analytics and consulting with JLT Specialty USA, a unit of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC, has been working with Ms. Walker for nearly two years in the area of thought leadership in risk. “Liz is a leader in her field and in her company,” he said. “She is not somebody who is content to solve the problems of today, but looking to define and shape those of tomorrow.”
The Business Insurance Women to Watch Award program is evolving as we continue to celebrate the achievements of outstanding female executives in the insurance and risk management sector.