WALNUT CREEK, Calif., August 1, 2017 – Paula Downey, president and CEO of CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, was named to the list of Elite Women in Insurance for 2017, which recognizes 125 insurance professionals who have broken barriers to become some of today’s industry leaders and executives. The report is issued by Insurance Business America (IBA), an independent news resource for insurance professionals.
Downey joined the company and its AAA club affiliate, AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, as CFO in 2000. She was promoted to COO in 2003, president in 2005, and president and CEO in 2010, becoming the first female president and CEO in that AAA club’s more than 100-year history.
“As one of eight children, I learned to value different opinions early in life and have surrounded myself with people who have and feel free to share their unique perspectives,” said Downey. “I am near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other – a good metaphor for my leadership style, which combines both strategic vision and pragmatic execution. And I learned the value of diversity from my father, who taught me that practicing humanity is also good for business.”
In just five years, Downey and her team have transformed underlying core systems to develop new capabilities while growing premiums, reducing expenses and improving customer satisfaction. This business transformation promotes a “culture of insight and innovation,” which she treasures and safeguards, especially as the insurance industry faces disruption.
“Despite women’s growing presence in the insurance industry, only a few have successfully broken through leadership roles,” said Heather Turner, IBA journalist. “However, the women represented on this year’s report have proven that it is no longer a male-dominated industry with the number of them breaking through barriers and using their collective influence to mold a brighter future for the insurance space; inspiring the success of their peers every day.”
In an industry that is mostly male-dominated, IBA turned the spotlight onto the women who have made their mark and are changing the face of the insurance industry. Twenty percent of the women on this year’s list hold top CEO or leadership positions, including the first female to start an insurance provider in the United States.
About CSAA Insurance Group
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer, offers automobile, homeowners and other personal lines of insurance to AAA members through AAA clubs in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Founded in 1914, the company has been rated “A” or better by A.M. Best for 90 years, and is one of the top personal lines property casualty insurance groups in the United States, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The company has been repeatedly named one of the 50 most community-minded companies in America by Points of Light.