Insurance Business America 8.06

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ELITE WOMEN DENISE PAVLOV Senior vice president and COO Topa Insurance Group

DAWN D’ONOFRIO President and CEO WKFC Underwriting Managers and CorRisk Solutions

Dawn D’Onofrio joined WKFC Underwriting Managers in 2007 and brought with her a broad insurance background and a genuine passion for underwriting. Prior to her current role as president and CEO of WKFC Underwriting Managers and CorRisk Solutions, divisions of Ryan Specialty Group Underwriting Managers, D’Onofrio was WKFC’s chief underwriting officer and was instrumental in program development and producing profitable underwriting results for capacity providers. In addition to her primary responsibilities, she strives to support education and career growth within the industry through mentoring, contributing to articles and participating as a panelist at insurance events. “I am hoping the insurance industry embraces the adaptability of their employees,” D’Onofrio says of meeting the challenges COVID-19. “Through the lens of insurance, it is much more than policy forms and claims; it is the magnitude of the uncertainty of what we thought could never happen happening – and the high chances of it happening again. My hope is that employers around the world will listen and learn from their team members about what worked and what did not work well when thrust into a mandatory work-from-home scenario.”


Denise Pavlov has worked in the insurance industry for more than 35 years, spending the past two at Topa Insurance Group. Growing up, Pavlov watched and learned from her father, a seasoned insurance professional who instilled in her a strong work ethic and passion for the industry. In early 2020, Pavlov was promoted to COO at Topa, charged with overseeing underwriting, products, program development, claims, marketing and human resources, as well as collaborating with department heads to use the company’s talent to enhance overall results. Under Pavlov’s leadership, Topa has created a program that allows employees to have meaningful conversations with executives over morning coffee. As part of this program, Pavlov has personally met with employees at all levels. “I’ve learned just how important it is for a leader to be decisive,” she says. “Often times, no decision is worse than a wrong decision. Inaction paralyzes staff and destroys morale. I’ve also recognized the importance of remaining directly in touch with employees at all levels – employees who ultimately make the team and company successful.” Outside of her work at Topa, Pavlov sits on the boards of the California FAIR Plan Association, Cannasure Insurance Services and Volta Insurance Solutions.

LAUREN GORTE Senior vice president, financial lines Chubb

After a decade in production and field management, Lauren Gorte recently moved into a product management role, where she oversees the profit and loss, product development, underwriting guidelines, and growth strategies around Chubb’s professional liability product suite. Gorte joined Chubb’s Chicago office in 2009 as a professional associate, following in her father’s insurance footsteps. Throughout her career, she has held a variety of leadership roles, overseeing the real estate E&O book, leading the Midwest region’s underwriting team and overseeing the Western zone for E&O and cyber. A frequent speaker and author on cyber and E&O topics, Gorte also regularly tutors fourth, fifth and sixth graders and is active in Chubb’s Associate Program, the company’s early-career development initiative. “I’d like to continue to see the insurance industry actively attract top talent as a viable and exciting career path,” she says. “I feel fortunate to have fallen into a career I love as I entered the workforce, and I believe it’s our responsibility to pass that opportunity and passion on to the next generation.”

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