Influential women in re/insurance: re/insurers and brokers
OF OF 2017
Louise W. Pennington
Company: Willis Towers Watson
Job title: Client relationship director practice leader,
Metro New York
2012: Chief operating officer, Metro New York; client
advocate practice leader, Willis Towers Watson, NY
2005: Managing principal, Integro
2001: Senior vice president, Marsh
2000: Associate, Harkins Cunningham
1995: Assistant district attorney, Manhattan District Attorney
1990: Joined Marsh FINPRO
life is my daughter. She is truly the light of my life. I hope
my hard work and commitment to my work and my family
ultimately provides her with a role model and foundation
from which she can pursue her own dreams.
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
My biggest challenge has been myself. As a lawyer, I was
trained to dig into every detail, research and learn and not
provide feedback until all the facts and related law had
been properly assessed and analysed. I used to feel that it
was necessary to know all the answers before contributing.
While the legal training was invaluable, it can also inhibit
growth as a business leader. One cannot know everything
at every moment yet one still needs to make a thoughtful
and often expedited decision to move forward and execute.
Over time, I have re-trained myself to trust my gut, understand
what I need to know, what I can rely on others to provide. I have
developed a much greater comfort in consulting with my clients
and colleagues about business issues and strategy without having
to always know every answer to every question in advance.
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what
would it have been?
Hospitality. Laughter, good food and wonderful travel
experiences can really bring people and families together.
I can’t think of a better “gift” to give people than a special
memory that lasts a lifetime.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I had never considered insurance as a career. However, I was
lucky enough to receive an offer to join Marsh’s FINPRO unit
which focused on management liability insurance.
I was amazed at how young, professional, team-oriented and
fun the environment was across the industry. We were also
aware the management liability area of risk was in its infancy,
but on the verge of something much larger. It was a fantastic
first job, having taught me so many life and work skills.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my career has been working in an industry
that allows me to challenge myself and never stay static. I
have had the opportunity to be involved in so many different
aspects of the business, including product line specialisation,
operations, development of an entirely new insurance
brokerage firm and now global client management across risk
and people. If you embrace change, you are energised by new
challenges and thrive in an environment that often puts you
outside of your comfort zone.
The insurance industry is a fantastic place to be. Taking
on challenges, however, would not have been possible
for me without the support of great teams and mentors.
Working with a network of mentors and supporters within
an organisation is critical for career development and
advancement. I have been extremely fortunate to work with
colleagues and leaders who push me outside of my comfort
zone, and see in me capabilities that I didn’t even know I had.
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the highlight of my
“Over time I have re-trained myself to
trust my gut.”
54 | INTELLIGENT INSURER | 2017 www.intelligentinsurer.com