In its essence, commercial insurance coverage is a backstop.

That dynamic or circumstance you fear? You purchase insurance for it so that your fear could be alleviated.

That's the product, in a nutshell. But how about the people behind the product or who deliver it?

That's what we're bothering here in our annual insurance carriers' Executives to Watch issue. We consider \”Executives to Watch\” those people who are taking on a new responsibility, got a big promotion, or who are managing a product essential to the purpose of the economy.

Concerned about massive losses that will require a specialist's touch to ameliorate? There you will find Judy Gonsalves, a Bermuda-based division president for Chubb.

\”We see losses beginning with Bs,\” Gonsalves told contributing writer Jared Shelly, talking about the high-limit underwriting and claims resolution her division assumes.

You find those massive wildfires in California unnerving? Turn to Gonsalves and her Chubb colleagues to stand in the gap, as they did for just one large corporate client.

\”That was not a risk we wanted to run away from,\” she said. \”It's something we desired to understand by getting in the weeds, hearing how the company manages the risk internally and learning we could come to the table having a solution. We looked at coinsurance ideas and reinsurance capacity to put out a large line of coverage. Ultimately, we got the client the protection they needed.\”

Another kind of fire moves through our culture. These flames demand that we address systemic bias, may it be motivated by racial bigotry, gender discrimination as well as other moral illness.

Here's what AIG's Barbara Luck told Shelly about her experience entering commercial insurance, and what the – and our culture – must address to advance.

She was lucky to have senior executives who mentored her. She plans to do more of the same.

\”Now, like a leader working to bring more diverse groups towards the table, I'm calling on my early experiences that helped me to relate to groups that are underrepresented in the market,\” she said.

Luck is experienced. And with experience, hopefully, comes the hardening of courage. Having been through the fire, being brave enough to complete the right thing, whether that's putting up large limits for a valued customer, or looking down with the cubicle rows to lend help someone who needs your compassion and guidance.

Every executive that we feature this month is feeling pressure. They know their clients need them and they can't turn away.

\”It's critically important that we understand the needs of our clients and now we are close to our clients and broker partners because this is the toughest time that many of them have ever faced,\” said FM Global's George Plesce.

Plesce was put in charge of some consolidated FM Global operations as Chief Client Experience and Sales Officer.

\”There is also so much chance of growth because there is always a flight ticket to stability and quality in tumultuous times. There is value in resilience and that is where we are placing our efforts,\” Plesce said.

Those are reassuring words, from a business veteran in a business that sells assurance and supports resilience.

Make no mistake, these executives, this industry and its product are needed now, around ever.

The 2021 Executives to Watch


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