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2018 Women to Watch: Crystal Brown

Crystal Brown
Senior vice president-underwriting
The Doctors Co.
Oak Park, Illinois
Age: 51

When Crystal Brown was a student years ago at Amherst College, she spent three summers working in the corporate communications department of American International Group Inc. through Inroads Inc., a career development organization.

That was a first step in what has turned out to be an insurance career for Ms. Brown.

“My gut told me I was suited for underwriting while working for AIG,” Ms. Brown recalled.

Her gut was right. Immediately after college, she joined Continental Insurance Co., which was later acquired by CNA Financial Corp. She spent more than two decades at CNA in a variety of roles, including the training of underwriters, several of whom later advanced to leadership roles in the insurance industry.

Last year, she moved over to Napa, California-based The Doctors Co. as senior vice president of underwriting for the physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, which provides coverage to 80,000 doctors.

In that short time, Ms. Brown has come up with new ideas to aid the insurer, such as maximizing the use of analytics, talent and training that have been helpful to its underwriters in providing viable solutions and alternatives for accounts.

“In just one year, my ideas are having an impact on the bottom line,” Ms. Brown said.

In addition, Ms. Brown has been instrumental in identifying ways for Doctors to analyze the company’s portfolio of business and opportunities for the insurer to grow profitably.

Others who have worked with Ms. Brown say there are several reasons for her accomplishments.

“It is her passion that makes her unique. She has great ideas, and she knows how to execute those ideas. She is knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with,” said Rochelle Prager, Doctors’ Chicago-based vice president of claims for the Northeast region, who worked with Ms. Brown at CNA.

Ms. Brown “has a great personality and is very articulate. She is extremely knowledgeable in the medical professional liability field,” added William Yurek, area president in Chicago with underwriting manager Risk Placement Services Inc., a unit of broker Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., who worked with Ms. Brown when she was an underwriter at CNA.

“She is both resilient and fearless, and her work ethic is phenomenal,” said Bonnie Boone, a Gallagher executive vice president in Chicago, who has known Ms. Brown for more than 25 years, going back to their days together at Continental.

Outside of work, Ms. Brown, the mother of 16-year-old triplets, is involved in numerous organizations, including the Women to Watch Foundation, where she serves as one of its ambassadors, and Jack and Jill of America Inc., an organization whose members are mothers of children ages 2-19 that is dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders.

Ms. Brown also is a Girl Scout troop leader.

“Giving back to the community is extremely important to me,” Ms. Brown said.

NEXT: Andrea Buhl
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