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The product of a family of engineers, it was assumed Elaine Casaprima would follow suit.
She went to school to study chemical engineering but graduated with a degree in history after taking a Spanish history class because her parents were born in Spain.
“I knew immediately that I was studying the wrong thing, so I changed my major and loved what I studied,” Ms. Casaprima said.
She believes the liberal arts education serves her well. “I am a big proponent of liberal arts degrees and how they prepare you to think and to write clearly, which is very helpful in business,” she said.
With “no idea” what she wanted to do, she took an internship with Cigna Corp. in 1986 and started in an international unit focused on captive insurers.
“I thought it sounded interesting and liked the idea of being in an international business environment, so I took the internship and never left the business,” she said.
Insurance is so appealing, she said, because it involves so many skills and disciplines — “math skills, communication skills, legal, finance. I like the variety in the insurance business.”
Insurance, she said, “probably chose me. I think the majority of people in the insurance business kind of fall into it.” This, she said, helps contribute to the industry’s diversity. “I think you meet really interesting people because you end up with a lot of people who just fall into the business.”
After three years with Cigna, she wanted to become a broker and switched to that side of the business.
“I’ve stayed on that side of the table since then,” she said.
One of the benefits of her career has been seeing the world, she said.
“Since the beginning of my career, I was given the opportunity to travel, and I’ve been able to work in three major insurance markets — London, New York and Switzerland,” Ms. Casaprima said.
“Elaine is an exceptional leader with a proven track record over many years,” said Andrew J. Chester, head of placement for U.K. and Ireland with Marsh Ltd. “She enjoys relationships with CEOs and board members of some of the largest global insurers, and is also an effective mentor to a number of younger colleagues.”
The 2019 Business Insurance Women to Watch Awards showcase another outstanding group of female executives in the insurance and risk management sector.