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2019 Women to Watch EMEA: Benedetta Cossarini

Benedetta Cossarini
General manager of Spain and Portugal
American International Group Inc.
Madrid
Age: 51

Finding ways to stand out from the crowd has helped Benedetta Cossarini forge a successful career as an insurance executive.

Born in Madrid of Italian parents, she studied law at university but was more interested in the corporate world than purely legal work. So she went on to obtain a master’s in corporate law.

Graduating in an uncertain financial climate in 1992, she reviewed her options.

“My father has always been my best mentor, and he said, ‘Think about what you can do that’s different from your colleagues and your friends,’ and that was languages,” said Ms. Cossarini, who is fluent in English, Italian and Spanish.

Taking that advice, she secured an internship at the Spanish unit of Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali SpA, starting in general liability and moving on to professional liability.

Her first full-time job was with Chubb Ltd., where she began in film and entertainment insurance before specializing in directors and officers liability. Again, she stood out, this time as the only underwriter in the DO department with a law degree.

“The type of analysis you do is financial, but it is also legal, so you connect both worlds,” Ms. Cossarini said.

In 2005, she joined American International Group Inc. as financial lines manager in Spain and Portugal and grew its business in the region, particularly middle-market business. After a series of other management appointments, she was named general manager of Spain and Portugal in 2016.

In addition to her insurance management work, she has long been involved in diversity and inclusion efforts.

“I’ve always believed in developing talent and making sure that everyone, regardless of gender, can follow their dreams,” Ms. Cossarini said.

At AIG, she promoted the creation of employee resource groups focused on gender and the integration of different generations in the workplace.

“The industry ne strong voices invested in leadership who develop themselves and pull people up the ladder behind them, and I see that in Benedetta,” said Lynn Oldfield, president and CEO of AIG Canada and one of the 2015 Women to Watch. “She is open to change and uses her voice to promote women.”

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