Inside the ITA: Meet the Board
Laura Mazzuca Toops | August 27, 2021
Laura Pantelides has over 20 years of experience in the Insurance industry. She is currently senior strategic advisor, commercial underwriting, for AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., which through its subsidiaries, operates as a multinational property/casualty insurance company. Founded in 1998 to provide workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses in the U.S., AmTrust now operates in three segments around the globe: Small Commercial Business Insurance, Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty, and Specialty Middle-Market Property and Casualty Program Insurance. Before AmTrust, Laura was with Tokio Marine HCC since 2010, serving as the VP of Operations for HCC Specialty, the Director of Financial System Implementations, and CFO for Tokio Marine/HCC - Guaranty Group. Throughout her insurance career, she has held various financial and operations positions and began her career at PwC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muhlenberg College with a major in Accounting and a minor in Philosophy.
Please share how you started your career on the financial end in insurance.
I began my career at Pricewaterhouse straight after graduating from college. I’ve been told that Insurance finds you, you don’t find it and I can certainly attest to this notion. It found me, hooked me, and I’ve never looked back. I love the industry. There is always something new to learn, a new product to dig into, a new piece of technology to explore, a new partnership to uncover. The pace of innovation is exciting and expansive.
What are your responsibilities in your current position, and what do you enjoy about it?
My role at AmTrust is unique. I’m involved in many aspects of the creation and execution of our overall corporate digital strategy. It has been incredibly rewarding to work with the executive team in the evolution and direction of our digital and strategic platform, with the ultimate goal of driving growth through full-service, end-to-end APIs for the entire scope of the insurance value chain. Establishing goals, benchmarks, and guardrails are critical in crafting this strategy, which in turn will inform where we spend our budget dollars. Additionally, I am working to help solidify the roadmap for our product development, often developing creative ways to solve problems and deliver solutions. I enjoy the ability to interact with IT in creating a shared understanding of our strategy and goals as well as providing leadership and direction over the portfolio of work. I enjoy working within that gap between the business and IT. This has always been a unique capability of mine, having spent time nearly equal time on both the IT and business world during the evolution of my career in the industry. I like to think I speak both languages and have a unique ability to find a common ground in understanding and direction.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for property/casualty insurers today?
The industry has been in a state of transition since the emergence of the insurtechs and there is no doubt that this shift is altering how carriers are engaging with their customers and producers. The seemingly endless possibilities present a myriad of challenges for insurance companies. Could we be facing too many options that seem to shift too quickly? The goal should never be to adopt every new piece of technology that emerges. Instead, we need to adopt the right technology to make for a better customer experience. Along these lines it is important to ensure companies are leveraging the technology in the right way at the corporate level. At the end of the day, the solution is often not unique to the business process. In other words, often one solution can meet the needs of various stakeholders across the enterprise. That’s why communication and collaboration are key.
What new technologies have you found to be most useful in doing your job?
While not specific to insurance technology, I would say the most useful piece of tech that has quite literally kept the industry operating in the midst of this pandemic is MS Teams. Teams was a significant game changer in our ability to collaborate effectively in the middle of the challenging remote work environment. Our teams were able to keep pace with the demands of day-to-day business through the ability to leverage this set of resources.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My absolute favorite activity is skiing and snowboarding with my son. As much as I love sun, when that first chill hits the air in the fall in New York, I am invigorated by the upcoming ski season. I also am an avid yoga practitioner and a bespoke floral designer in my spare time.
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The Email Chat is a regular feature of the ITA Pro magazine and website. We send a series of questions to an insurance IT leader in search of thought-provoking responses on important issues facing the insurance industry.
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