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2019 Women to Watch: Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett

Nicole Bennett
Chief of staff
Crum & Forster Holdings Corp.
Morristown, New Jersey
Age: 50

A love for math in high school is what led Nicole Bennett to actuarial science and the insurance industry.

“I’m one of the few people who started out knowing I was going into insurance,” said Ms. Bennett, who has worked in the industry for 30 years.

At Crum & Forster, where she has worked for the past 13 years, she serves as chief of staff and is the senior executive leader of its Digital Partners unit, which focuses on insurtech distribution. She influences every part of the organization including underwriting, production, analytics, innovation, technology, talent and leadership development and communication.

Ms. Bennett grew up in Toronto and moved to Houston 22 years ago. Her first job in insurance was in 1989 with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. as an actuarial co-op student, combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. She joined Fairfax full time in 1992 and moved over to Crum & Forster in 2016.

A recent effort to decentralize the organization for better access to customers across business segments has put her problem-solving skills to work. Marc Adee, chairman and CEO of Crum & Forster, which has more than 2,000 staff, has worked with Ms. Bennett for 17 years and charged her with the project.

“Nicole is very analytical and also good with people and at communicating,” Mr. Adee said. “It’s a nice combination, together with the fact that we have experience working together. She knows what will work for the company and can guide the business units in their decisions.”

Ms. Bennett’s role at the company has also put her in a good position to promote and mentor other women. She currently has three mentees, with whom she meets on a regular basis.

“We look at their potential and what they need to do and any challenges they’re facing. Then we have a regular call once a month to touch base,” she said. “I think it’s a great time to be a woman in the industry. We’re getting a lot of recognition and gaining momentum. The key is that we have to continue to be excellent at what we do.”

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