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2018 Women to Watch: Laura F. Coppola

Laura F. Coppola
Regional head of financial lines, North America
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE
New York
Age: 48

Laura F. Coppola learned some hard lessons about life shortly after she began her insurance career when she lost both her father and brother within three months of one another.

Her father passed away from a brain aneurysm, while her brother died of sepsis. “That really changed my life,” said Ms. Coppola. “It prompted an awareness of how precious life is, but how important it is to be independent — to be able to mourn and grieve, but also to be able to carry on and move forward at a time when there’s strength in yourself to do so,” she said. “It shaped how I approach adversity,” in both the workplace and outside it, she said.

Ms. Coppola started her insurance career as an underwriting trainee in Aetna Life & Casualty Co.’s bond training department. She stayed at Aetna through its property/casualty business’s acquisition by Travelers Cos. Inc. before moving on to positions at Reliance Group Holdings Inc., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Arch Insurance Group Inc., where she stayed for 12 years.

Ms. Coppola joined Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE in 2015 and was named regional head of financial lines, North America, in November 2017. She heads up a staff of about 75 people.

Ms. Coppola said she has benefited from “incredible” role models in her own career and now wants to “give back to the young talent that is in our business, and work hard to attract young talent to our business.”

Ms. Coppola, who met her husband when she was 19, has two children: Emily, 12, and Christopher, 9. “Right now, I live in Cranford, New Jersey, so I get the lovely role every day of commuting to New York City for work,” she said.

Paul Schiavone, Allianz’s global head of alternative risk transfer, who is Ms. Coppola’s supervisor, and has known her about 22 years, said she is “absolutely fantastic.”

“She’s a good example of someone who can juggle the work/life balance and do so well” as a mother with two children, “but also is a wonderful leader and manager at work,” he said.

NEXT: Nora Deveau
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