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2020 Women to Watch: Michele Twyman

Michele Twyman

Michele Twyman 
Executive vice president
Chubb Commercial Insurance, a unit of Chubb Ltd.
New York
Age: 58

Helping others succeed is central for Michele Twyman, executive vice president of Chubb Commercial Insurance, part of Chubb Ltd. 

“I truly believe when you have succeeded in your career you have an obligation to give back to others,” she said.

Ms. Twyman has been at Chubb for 34 years — her entire professional career save for a year at People’s Express airline straight out of the University of Vermont. “I was a baby when I started,” she said, adding she stayed at the insurer because “opportunities just kept being presented to me.”

As a finance major, “I was going to end up in business. Insurance fit under that bigger finance umbrella,” she said.

Ms. Twyman calls herself a “utility player” due to the variety of roles she has taken on over the years. “I’ve run lines of business for the organization, I’ve run products, I’ve run field organizations. I previously ran a large region. I’m running a large region now. I’ve done a lot of jobs.”

Taking on less familiar roles allowed her to grow professionally. 

“Over time, as I got more senior, I took chances,” Ms. Twyman said. “I had predominantly spent my career on the underwriting side but then went and ran a large operations division for the company, and that really stepped out of my comfort zone.” 

Learning more about the back end of the business, she said, gave her a better understanding of the whole and broadened her resume. 

While the insurance industry has made some progress with diversity, more remains to be done, Ms. Twyman said.

“I would say earlier on in my career, there were very few senior women,” she said. “Over time, as our trading partners got more diverse, that really opened up the industry.” Diversity among the agents and brokers, she said, helped bring increased diversity to insurers.

While progress has been made with diversity, “There still needs to be more development of women for sitting on boards,” Ms. Twyman said. “In order to get women to the most senior C-suite level, there has to be more grooming, coaching and sponsorship.” 

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    The Business Insurance Women to Watch awards program highlights the achievements of female leaders in the insurance sector to celebrate their success and promote gender diversity in the industry.