October 26, 2021
Obstacles are opportunities for these surety industry leaders
Michelle Stegmann began her career at a law firm and ultimately went in-house to work for an insurance carrier handling claims. She joined Crum & Forster (C&F) in 2014 as Vice President of the company’s Construction Defect and Environmental Claims Department. Two years later, the role expanded. “When the company decided to enhance its surety presence, my background in construction claims made me a natural fit to lead and build the claims function.”
Although Stegmann had no previous experience in surety prior to joining C&F, she thrives on tackling challenges. Her team of 12 has over 100 years combined experience in handling both contract and commercial surety claims. That includes a dedicated engineering function supporting the claims adjusters to help principals avoid defaults and ensure project completion.
Stegmann enjoys working with her team and is grateful for the close professional relationships she has developed with underwriters and their broker/agent partners. “It’s extremely rewarding to be part of a project as it’s progressing and to be able to bring it to conclusion in a way that meaningfully assists our principals and obligees,” she added.
Stegmann is also quite appreciative of C&F’s support of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Its efforts include a women’s employee resource group—one of seven such groups within the 3,000-plus-employee company—Women Amplifying Value & Equity, or WAVE. “It’s so important to have a community support structure and mentors available to help manage your career development. They are critical in facilitating forward trajectory in your career,” Stegmann said. She recommends that women interested in a surety career get involved with a trade group like NASBP, which offers informative, substantive seminars; conferences and webinars; and the opportunity to network and meet others in the industry.
Women need to have faith in themselves to be successful, both in surety and in general. “Be your authentic self. Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Become part of the conversation,” she added.
Read the complete article at Surety Bond Quarterly (SBPQ) – Fall 2021 – Women of Surety Tell Their Success Stories