Elite Women 2023

Women leaders in insurance

To determine the 54 winners of the 2023 Elite Women awards, Insurance Business America assembled a panel of expert judges. Each of the Elite Women stands out due to her reputation and demonstrable ability. 

Part of the judging panel was Sabrina Hart of the ISC Group. When analyzing the merits of the nominees, Hart explains that she gave particular credit to women leaders in insurance who had: 

  • impressive overall qualifications and longevity in the industry   

  • been nominated by their peers  

  • helped drive advancements in diversity and inclusion 

  • achieved significant accomplishments 

  • not necessarily risen to CEO role  



Regarding the issue of women standing out in insurance, Hart acknowledges lingering problems associated with society, such as “unconscious bias,” but sees things changing.  

“For me it’s very much a strategic issue for organizations because when you look at demographics and you look at the talent pool and the talent pool is going to be more diverse,” she says. “You just look at graduation rates and who’s coming and who’s going to be available, and your customers are going to be more diverse, and more diverse customers are going to demand more diverse partners. But you know the difficulty for individuals is some of it is still society and some are still the organizations that may not have prioritized diversity as much.” 


Carrie Barr
“I was able to leverage my sales background and passion for clients”
Carrie BarrVerisk


What differentiates IBA’s winners from their peers? 

Carrie Barr, president of casualty solutions at Verisk, has distinguished herself by being relentless about the customer experience and remaining collaborative yet decisive in leadership. This trait has been combined with her passion for coaching and “growing” people. 
As a result, she has managed to: 

  • receive various company awards for sales performance 

  • help clients save nearly $250 million in Medicare liens over a two-year period 

  • save over $2.2 million in Treasury Department disputes 

  • improve application of comparative liability by up to 20% 

  • reduce medical review times by up to 90% 

Wade Associates president Cheryl Nabell has similarly been marked out as a top performer by transitioning from an actuary to a producer, then to an executive. Along the way, she has mentored young and other promising people in the industry. 

As a result of her noteworthy efforts, she has: 

  • developed a highly functioning team that has worked to increase agency 2019 revenue by almost 50% by the end of this year 

  • helped her company become a Big I Best Practices Agency for the first time ever in 2022 

Meanwhile, Maureen Caviston, the executive vice president at Amwins, has stood out by: 

  • securing a seat next to male colleagues at “the table”  

  • becoming the first female president of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO), now the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association 

  • maintaining excellent relations with all colleagues 



Challenges surmounted by 2023’s Elite Women

Throughout their careers, one common denominator with IBA’s winners has been persevering and succeeding in the face of adversity.  

For Barr, that has meant transitioning from sales to operations. “It was unfamiliar territory for me after being in a client-facing role for so long,” she says. “But I was able to leverage my sales background and passion for clients in the new position.” This self-development was an ongoing process.  

Barr adds, “I routinely held customer-specific stewardship and focus meetings aimed at deeply understanding client needs, so we could continue to provide innovative and superior solutions for the industry.” 
For Nabell, persevering has meant juggling family and career commitments even though there have been some testing periods.  

“One of my strong suits is multitasking,” she says. “But sometimes there are just more balls in the air than you can conceivably catch – and those days can be really tough. When I look at my career, I’m really glad that I was given all these opportunities because I feel like I’ve had it all... I have a career that I love and kids who are doing great in life, and I’m very proud of that. So, I think overall it’s worked out.” 

Meanwhile, for Caviston, persevering has meant progressing in an overwhelmingly male-dominated client-facing role. 

“I saw it as a very male-dominated industry, so I made a number of decisions which got me a seat at the table and led to a number of opportunities, not only in business and positions that I earned, but also in industry associations.” 
And she adds, “I was the first woman president of NAPSLO. I was pretty young at the time. Since that time, there have been seven or eight women presidents. I’m still the first and only president to give birth while in office.” 


Cheryl Nabell
“One of my strong suits is multitasking. But sometimes there are just more balls in the air than you can conceivably catch – and those days can be really tough”
Cheryl NabellWade Associates


Future is bright for women leaders in insurance 

Barr says there are more opportunities than ever for women. Today, numerous fields can lead into insurance; remote or flexible roles often benefit working mothers; and the impending mass retirement – approximately 25,000 in claims alone over the next decade, she says – will free up opportunities. 

“Unemployment in the US remains historically low, and the insurance industry unemployment rate is even lower,” she says. “At the end of 2022, the industry had about 386,000 open jobs. That, combined with the wave of pending industry retirements, provides endless opportunities for career mobility and growth for women. Likewise, the post-COVID environment has created more opportunities for remote work, which is favorable to those balancing their career and family life.” 

Nabell is similarly optimistic about the future of women leaders in insurance.  



“There are so many opportunities and so many openings right now,” she says. “What’s more, the labor shortage has created opportunities for anybody who’s really looking to work hard and move ahead. I think we learned from the pandemic that we can be flexible in many more ways than we ever thought we could, and we can offer more opportunities to more men and women than ever could before – no matter their geographical location or their life situation.” 

And Caviston adds, “I’m very optimistic. We’re very supportive of women. I’m on the steering committee for the Women’s Leadership Program at Amwins, and we have 15 high-potential women across the five divisions that we have. It’s a passion of mine to get more women in the C-suite.” 

In conclusion, Elite Women judge Hart is similarly positive about the opportunities for women going forward. 

She says, “One of the challenges is the industry continuing to promote diversity and inclusion, driving the brand and attracting diverse individuals to the industry. What IBA and other organizations are doing by bringing attention to women and insurance is certainly helping.” 


Maureen Caviston
“It’s a passion of mine to get more women in the C-suite”
Maureen CavistonAmwins


Elite Women 2023

  • Allison Blum
    Senior Program Manager
    Zurich North America
  • Amanda Huang
    President and Chief Operating Officer
    Continental Underwriters
  • Amore D’Angelo
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Andrea “Cris” Dyer
    President and CEO
    HCP National Insurance Services
  • Angela Lee
    Senior Vice President and Regional Claims Director
    Marsh McLennan Agency
  • Anne Marie Towle
    CEO, Global Captive Solutions
    Hylant Group
  • Carol Murphy
    Executive Vice President and Casualty Practice Leader
    HUB International
  • Carrie A. Ryan
    Chief Executive Officer
    Hanson & Ryan
  • Catherine Mulligan
    Enterprise Client Leader
    Aon Reinsurance Solutions
  • Catherine Rudow
    Global Head of Cyber Reinsurance
    Everest Reinsurance Company
  • Charmaine Davis
    Senior Vice President
  • Chavonne Hudson
    VP, Strategic Operations
    Zurich North America
  • Claudia Timbo
    Chief Executive Officer and President
  • Danette Beck
    National Construction Practice Leader
    USI Insurance Services
  • Dawn Miller
    SVP, Internal Audit and Controls, TMHCC
    International Head of Internal Audit, Tokio Marine Holdings
  • Denise Campbell
    Senior Vice President, Client Executive
    President, National African American Insurance Association, New York Tri-State Chapter
  • Denise Johnson
    President and CEO
    Big I Oklahoma
  • Elizabeth Gavino
    Lewin & Gavino
  • Emily Loupee
    Area Senior Vice President, Management Liability
  • Emily Maier
    SVP, Head of Transactional Insurance
    Woodruff Sawyer
  • Helaina Jolly
    Senior Broker Relationship Leader
    Munich Re
  • Jennifer Riley
    Executive Vice President, Head of Digital Strategy and Operations
  • Jenny Mackay
    Senior Director of Digital Transformation
    H.W. Kaufman Group
  • Juneen Belknap Kirk
  • Kailee Mastel
    Chief Operating Officer
    Insurance Center of Buffalo
  • Katie Davies
    CEO/President, JEM Underwriting Managers
    CEO, Technical Risk Underwriters
  • Kerry Crockett
    Chief Executive Officer
    Insurance Accounting and Systems Association
  • Kim Barnett
    Senior Vice President, Chief Underwriting Officer of Treaty Reinsurance
    Safety National Re
  • Leasha West
    West Financial Group
  • Marilyn M. Blosser
    President and Founder
    Blosser Financial Services
  • Marya Propis
    Executive Vice President, Retail Distribution
    RT Specialty
  • Maura Freiwald
    Head of Casualty
    Munich Reinsurance America
  • Michele G. Centeno
    Senior Vice President
  • Nikki Toon
    Chief Operating Officer
    Combined Agents of America
  • Ngozi Nnaji
    Founder and Managing Partner
    Ako Brokerage Services
  • Precious Norman Walton
    Lovejoy Risk Management
  • Rachel Perry
    Chief Innovation Officer, Commercial Risk North America
  • Telisa Yancy
    American Family Group
  • Teresa Black
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Chubb Surety


Insurance Business invited industry professionals from across the US to nominate exceptional female leaders for the annual Elite Women list. Nominators were asked to provide details of their nominee’s achievements and initiatives over the past 12 months, including specific examples of their professional accomplishments and contributions to the industry as a whole. 

To select the winners, the IBA team relied on the help of an independent and esteemed panel of judges that included Christine LaSala of the Beazley Group, Sabrina Hart of Munich Re Specialty Insurance, Nancy Mellard of CBIZ, and Susan Johnson of The Hartford. 

The judges and the IBA team reviewed all nominations, examining how each individual had made a meaningful contribution to the industry, to whittle down the list to the final 54 Elite Women. Self-voting and voting for relatives were prohibited to avoid conflicts of interest. 

The Elite Women 2023 report is proudly supported by the Association of Professional Insurance Women and the Insurance Supper Club. 


Meet the judges



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