The Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (GSRM) at St. John’s University, part of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, hosted its 26th annual Leader of Insurance of the Year on April 7, raising a total of $2.2 million to fund scholarships and support program initiatives. The in-person event, held for the first time since January 2020, was a historic celebration for the insurance industry and University supporters.
The dinner was hosted in honor of Tricia Griffith, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Progressive Corporation, who was named the 2020 Insurance Leader of the Year. This prestigious award, given annually since 1995, recognizes the contributions of exceptional individuals whose leadership in the global insurance and financial services industry sets them apart from their peers.
The dinner is normally held in January when the previous year’s prize is awarded. The 2020 award was presented at this year’s dinner as it was canceled in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, held at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, NY, drew a crowd of over 800 members of the global insurance industry, senior University leaders, students, teachers, business leaders, guests, families and friends.
In addition to the $1.7 million in funds raised at the dinner, the Greenberg School Board of Supervisors launched a campaign among its members and board companies to create an endowed scholarship fund at the St. John’s University on behalf of the winner. This initiative has already raised $500,000, bringing the total amount raised to $2.2 million.
The Tricia Griffith St. John’s University Women in Insurance Scholarship is endowed with supporter donations to honor Ms. Griffith and her pioneering role in the insurance industry in perpetuity. The fund will support scholarships for GSRM students, with preference given to female students, recognizing Ms Griffith’s journey to success.
A highlight of the evening was a video presentation of Ms. Griffith’s life and career which detailed her humble beginnings, her immeasurable devotion to family, her remarkable professional achievement and her unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as a firm commitment to the Catholic Church. education and the ideals of giving back to those in need.
The daughter of an insurance salesman, Ms. Griffith joined Progressive after earning a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University. She started as a claims representative in 1988 and held many key leadership positions at Progressive during her tenure. She held several senior positions within the claims division before being appointed Director of Human Resources in 2002. In 2008, she returned to claims as Group President, overseeing all claims functions. Prior to being appointed Chief Operating Officer of Personal Lines, Ms. Griffith was President of Customer Operations, overseeing the claims and customer management group, which includes the company’s contact center group (sales and delivery) , as well as the Customer Experience, Systems Experience, and Workforce Management groups.
In December 2018, she was the first woman to be named “Businessperson of the Year” by Fortune magazine and ranked 54th on the Forbes List of “World’s Most Powerful Women”. Since taking over as CEO, she has been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune each of the past four years.
“We are extremely proud to host this award and to have such an acclaimed recipient as Tricia Griffith,” said Brandon W. Sweitzer, Dean of the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science. .
“Tricia is an inspiration to our students and to the insurance industry, and the funds raised will help open doors of education and opportunity for many who follow her.
The award to Ms. Griffith was presented by industry colleague Charles A. Davis, Managing Director, Stone Point Capital LLC. Mr. Davis served as Honorary Co-Chair of the dinner, alongside Retired Partner Lawton W. Fitt, Goldman Sachs Group. Mr. Davis and Ms. Fitt are both members of the board of directors of Progressive Corporation, with Ms. Fitt serving as chair of the board.
“Balance, passion, leadership, generosity and humility are just some of the traits that describe and define Tricia Griffith,” Davis said. “She so deserves this award, and as an industry we are all so proud of her and her accomplishments at Progressive.”
As she accepted the award, a beaming Ms. Griffith told the crowd, which included family and friends from across the country, how education and mentorship had impacted her life and career. She also recognized Progressive’s core values that help guide her decision-making.
“We need to continue to evolve as an industry and as a society, and that means we need to reflect the people we lead and the customers we are privileged to serve,” she said. .
“The annual Insurance Leader of the Year Awards Dinner consistently highlights the strength of the relationship between St. John’s University and the global insurance industry,” said Norean R. Sharpe. , Ph.D., Dean, and Joseph H. and Maria C. Distinguished President Schwartz, Peter J. Tobin College of Business. “Tricia Griffith is the first woman to be honored – and I’m sure many more will follow – perhaps even some of our female students in attendance.”
In his opening prayer, the Reverend Brian J. Shanley, OP, President of St. John’s University, said, “We have come together for a noble purpose, and the insurance industry is above all a service industry.
Acknowledging the continued and critical support provided by the insurance industry to St. John’s University, Fr. Shanley observed, “There is an old adage that we should: ‘Pray as if it were all up to God and work as if everything depended on you.’ We depend on the insurance industry for our work and the work of educating the next generation of insurance leaders who, no doubt, will help this ballroom look very different 20 years from now.
Grace Alexander, a senior from Martinsville, NJ, who is studying Actuarial Science at GSRM, was happy and inspired to attend the dinner. “It was a blessing and an honor to attend this event and be part of a select group of students able to network with Ms. Griffith before dinner. I want to be like her!”
The awards selection committee was chaired by Ellen Thrower, Ph.D., professor emeritus and retired executive director, GSRM of St. John’s University, and includes George Bernstein, Esq. the law firm Bernstein, PLLC (Washington, DC); Robert P. Hartwig, Ph.D., Associate Clinical Professor of Finance and Director, Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina; Kevin H. Kelley, Executive Advisor, Aquiline Capital Partners LLC; Joseph Mauriello, Retired Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, KPMG LLP; Michael J. Morrissey, Special Advisor and Former CEO, International Insurance Society; Cynthia R. Shoss, Partner, Co-Chair, Global Board and Former Co-Head, Global Insurance, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP; and Patrick J. Shouvlin, Retired Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
The Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science was founded in 1901 as the Insurance Society of New York and evolved over the years to become The College of Insurance (TCI). In June 2001, TCI merged with St. John’s University, becoming a part school of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business. From its location at 101 Astor Place in Manhattan’s East Village, St. John’s offers undergraduate, MBA, and master’s degrees in the disciplines of insurance, risk management, and actuarial science. Through its Tobin Center for Executive Education, the University also provides education, training, and consulting services to industry, governments, and regulators around the world.
GSRM is a global leader in risk and insurance education and training and attracts candidates from many parts of the world. All degree programs offered by the Peter J. Tobin College of Business, and therefore by GSRM, are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.