PLUS Announces the 2019 LAMP Cohort


The Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) has selected 10 members for the 2019 Diversity Leadership & Mentoring Program (LAMP) cohort.

LAMP is a one-year leadership development training program for PLUS members from diverse and traditionally under-represented groups within the professional liability insurance industry. The curriculum focuses on leadership coaching but also includes matching participants with senior-level PLUS members who have agreed to serve as mentors throughout the program.

PLUS sponsors the cohort’s involvement in signature PLUS events including the PLUS Conference and national Symposia as well PLUS educational offerings and RPLU designation exams. The 2019 cohort will begin their program experience at the PLUS Conference November 7-9, 2018, in San Diego.

“Today’s competitive environment requires organizations to develop leaders who bring a wide variety of experience to the marketplace, and PLUS’s answer to that is LAMP. This year’s impressive cohort will only add to the program’s legacy,” said PLUS Executive Director Robbie Thompson.

This year’s class includes:

  • Samantha Butisingh, Financial Institutions Underwriter, North America Financial Lines. Chubb – New York, NY
  • Helena Fan, RPLU, Senior Underwriter, E&O, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada – Toronto, Ontario
  • Candice Germain, Senior Broker, Segal Select Insurance – New York, NY
  • Aneisha Goldsmith, RPLU Financial Lines Underwriting Consultant, Chubb – Phoenix, AZ
  • Abbas Hassan, Senior Underwriter – Healthcare, StarStone Insurance – Jersey City, NJ
  • Vanessa Poma, Senior Underwriter, NAS Insurance Services – Encino, CA
  • Odalys Rodríguez-Matta, Esq., Legal Examiner, QBE Seguros Puerto Rico – San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Avani Shah, Senior Counsel, QBE – New York, NY
  • Brandon Tate, Associate Account Executive, Travelers – Greenwood Village, CO
  • Janeen Thomas, Attorney at Law, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP – White Plains, NY

Further details on the program, including how to apply for the 2020 cohort, can be found at

Inspiration from Inga Beale: Trust, Diversity and Inclusion

By Angie Biancalana, RPLU, ASLI, Great American Insurance Company

Over three centuries ago, insurance was born. While it has withstood the test of time, the burning question today that rocks our industry is:

How do we attract and SUCCESSFULLY grow our insurance businesses?

On May 3, 2018, the PLUS Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Network, along with the Midwest Chapter Committee, had the honor and pleasure of hosting Inga Beale in Chicago. Insurance professionals gathered and were captivated by the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, listening to her story. She touched on how even decades ago, insurance was drastically different.  Today we need to change and evolve with the times.

Beale focused on three key themes – Trust, Diversity, and Inclusion.

“We need people to trust us,” she explained. “We are selling a promise to pay when things go wrong. That trust needs to be there. And that means that every single one of us has to work on this aspect, and particularly as leaders, we’ve got to show true authenticity when it comes to trust.”


She talked about how a commitment to diversity will attract individuals with a healthy complement of thoughts, ideals and strengths, and welcome ideas that can only help growth and success. She also noted how inclusion ties everything together. As Beale put it, “…if we can get the inclusion piece right, it will help rebuild the trust that much of big businesses have lost with the people all around the world or many parts of the world.”

If my reaction is any indication, her ideas will resonate across the industry and will light a long-lasting fire.

I graduated with a Finance degree during the financial downfall of 2008/2009. If I was qualified for a job, I applied and applied AND applied. Student loans were not paying themselves. I was fortunate enough to accept an underwriting role. Why not? My grandfather was a door-to-door insurance salesman and my mom is an underwriter. It was familiar to me. Fast-forward nine years: I’m still here, and for a reason. I like underwriting; I thoroughly like it due to the lifelong learning, fast-paced environment, and vast array of interesting people. It definitely wasn’t my plan as a Finance major, but I am so glad I took that first job!

As an early career professional with just under a decade of experience, my growing concern is: How can I get my generation and generations after me to enter the insurance sector? How do I attract them?

Our industry gets a bad rap with words like ‘boring’, ‘desk job’, ‘cold calling’. Instead, I believe the buzz words should be ‘second family’, ‘never a dull day’, ‘meeting new people.’ We need to embrace Inga Beale’s idea of diversity and inclusion to bring fresh, new ideas and demonstrate the wealth of personal and professional opportunities in our sector.

We need diversity, trust, and inclusion, because if we have those, it can be a start of something great. I imagine insurance will last another three centuries; let’s just hope it’ll be even more successful than the first three hundred years.


Post author Angie Biancalana (left), with Lloyd’s of London CEO Inga Beale and Jim Stewart of Pioneer Special Risk.

Angie Biancalana is a Senior Cyber Underwriter at Great American Insurance Company in Schaumburg, IL. She serves as the Future PLUS Representative for the Midwest Chapter and is a member of a Future PLUS task force working to address the workforce shortage in insurance, specifically professional lines. (Future PLUS is the young professionals’ group at PLUS, for members aged 35 or younger.) She has been a PLUS member since 2015 and earned the RPLU designation in 2016.