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2019 Women to Watch EMEA: Vanessa Maxwell

Vanessa Maxwell

Vanessa Maxwell
Head of executive professional lines
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co.
Age: 39

After originally considering engineering, chance took a role in orchestrating Vanessa Maxwell’s insurance career.

She was promoted into her current role as head of executive professional lines this past July after coming to Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. in July 2017 as head of professional indemnity.

Prior to that, however, her 15 years with American International Group Inc. started after her mother, a real estate agent, tapped a buyer who happened to work for AIG and knew of an opening in Boston, where Ms. Maxwell was looking to move.

She had interned in Boston with engineering firm Skanska AB after graduating from the University of Delaware. The leader of the team for which she interviewed then turned out to be the University of Delaware alumni coordinator for the New England region.

“It all came together,” she said.

She worked with the AIG finance team in Boston for two years, and then “I wanted to move back to New York, and the job that was open was an underwriting role.”

During her tenure at AIG, she rose steadily to underwriting manager for professional liability and then underwriting manager for financial institution, and ultimately head of professional liability, cyber and commercial institutions, her progress eventually leading to London.

Since coming to Berkshire, she has helped build the professional indemnity team and expand business strategy.

She likes underwriting because “I get to learn all the different industries I insure from a professional liability standpoint,” including everything from construction and media to lawyers and accountants.

“Insurance allows me to see a little bit of everything,” she said.

“Vanessa has very naturally built a strong network within the industry, which recognizes the quality of her underwriting capability and the passion with which she looks to deliver product-based solutions to customers,” said Andrew Walker, head of claims for Europe with Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. “She is respected by broker partners and customers for the breadth of her knowledge and her practical and pragmatic approach.”

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