2019 Women to Watch: Lisa MelilloPosted On: Dec. 2, 2019 12:00 AM CST
Executive vice president and group general counsel, personal insurance legal services
Travelers Cos. Inc.
Not all lawyers would describe their jobs as fun and exciting, but for Lisa Melillo, who has worked in the insurance law field in various roles, each day brings something new.
“From a legal perspective, I get to be a lawyer and I get to be a business person as well, and it’s a fun place to be when you can impact the business,” she said. “Not just by providing good legal advice, but by being part of the team that is deciding the direction we take and how we’re going to get there.”
For example, she said, her team has been in the process of introducing a new homeowners product. “We’re on year three of what might be a five-year rollout,” she said. “We come up with pricing, we draft all the words, then we do the filings, get approvals from all the states’ departments of insurance, and then we can use the product.”
Currently general counsel for Travelers Cos. Inc.’s personal lines group, she has worked in a range of commercial lines and personal lines legal roles in her 23 years at the insurer, where she started her career.
Ms. Melillo had planned on being a criminal prosecutor, but quickly realized those jobs were politically connected.
“Since my family did not have political connections, I started looking at different opportunities, and this came up. It was very much by accident,” she said. “And now, I’ve been very fortunate to have had a terrific 23-year career.”
Michael Klein, president, personal insurance at Travelers, is happy with the way things turned out.
“Her solution-oriented approach to problem solving sets her apart from other lawyers I’ve worked with,” he said. “Lisa works as a business partner and provides great legal advice, but in the context of finding a way to support the business and allow you as a business leader to reach your objectives — but in the right way.”
He also noted that above and beyond her job, “She is a community leader. At Travelers we do a lot here in personal insurance to invest in our community, and she is very active in that.”
Among the charities she is involved with, Ms. Melillo has taken an active leadership role for the Travelers Championship, a PGA golf tournament that raises millions of dollars for charity, and works closely with the Travelers Foundation.