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After earning an undergraduate degree in English, Lainie Dorneker, president of IronHealth, the health care professional liability unit of Ironshore Inc., decided to go to law school at the University of Texas in 1999.
“I had an interest in environmental law,” she said, adding that at the time she enjoyed an active lifestyle at University of California, Berkeley. “Environmental issues were very powerful issues for me.” She started as an environmental litigator but was put on a major insurance case about two years into her practice.
After practicing law, she worked with management liability claims at Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. “for roughly a year before moving on to the health care arena.”
“While on the claims side, I started to work more with underwriters and to get a clear view of the underwriter role,” she said, and moved over to underwriting, beginning in management liability.
Conversations with health care underwriters at an off-site project drew her attention to the industry. “I found health care and what was happening in the health care field to be really compelling,” she said.
Her experience and perspective are highly valued at Ironshore.
“We put a premium on expertise,” said Brandon Mezick, chief operating officer for IronHealth in Philadelphia, who has known Ms. Dorneker since 2011. “Lainie absolutely fits the definition of an expert.”
“We also put a premium on diversity, and look for people with interesting backgrounds and experience to inform all the things that we do,” he continued. “Lainie has taken a really interesting path in her career, and I think all these experiences make her really well-rounded and give us that diversity of thought.”
Diversity, she said, is a must for insurers as business in general heads that way.
“We need to think and act more like our clients today,” Ms. Dorneker said. “When there’s more diverse people seated around the table, you need more diverse leadership.”
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.