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2020 Women to Watch: Linda Ryan

Linda Ryan

Linda Ryan
Everest Insurance (Ireland) DAC
Age: 45

In a little over 20 years Linda Ryan moved from trainee auditor at an accounting firm to CEO of the Irish insurance operations of Everest Re Group Ltd.

Along the way, she’s helped manage ongoing insurance businesses, worked on big runoff books and helped restructure company operations while picking up new skills and developing her expertise.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business studies from Trinity College, Dublin, she joined Deloitte’s graduate training program in 1997.

In 2001, she moved to an insurer that became part of Aviva PLC and stayed for more than a decade. One of the projects she was involved with was turning Aviva’s Irish company into a unit of the U.K. parent, giving her insights into the restructuring process.

She then joined Zurich Group Ltd. in Dublin, where she worked on an international team that managed the insurer’s run-off business.

In 2017, she joined Everest Insurance (Ireland) as chief financial officer just when it got its license, and was named CEO in 2018.

“It’s amazing to think that we’ve built the company from nothing three years ago to being over $100 million worth of business now,” she said.

Ms. Ryan’s broad experience has enabled her to play an integral part in establishing Everest Insurance (Ireland), which involved transforming a unit of a U.S. insurer into a fully functioning insurance company, but she still had a lot to learn as she went through the process, said Vincent Vandendael, CEO of Everest Global Markets, to whom Ms. Ryan reports.

“She learned on the go how to manage relationships with regulators and how to run a board with external directors,” he said. “In less than 18 months, she’s moved from being a manager to a leader and that’s one of the biggest jumps that a person can make.”

Moving from CFO to CEO was a significant change and the biggest difference was that she became involved in every aspect of the business, Ms. Ryan said.

“When I looked at my list of things to do, they would vary from compliance to finance to operations to underwriting to branch set-up, so you really got to see the whole scope of the company,” she said. 

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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.