1. Home
  2. Brokers
  3. Appointments


Karen Reutter joins Zurich as Head of Construction

Karen Reutter has returned to Zurich North America to take the helm of Zurich’s market-leading Construction business.

As Head of Construction, Karen will be accountable for delivering underwriting results, sales execution and talent management strategies for the business unit, playing a critical role in refreshing Construction’s value proposition and growing Zurich’s market-leading position in the construction industry, said Paul Horgan, Head of Zurich North America Commercial Insurance. She will be based in Schaumburg, Ill.

“Our focus is on providing the right solution, price and service with an eye on quality of risk,” Karen said. “We will specifically focus on our Builders Risk and professional and environmental business to ensure marketability and brand expansion. We want to drive toward the next city on the hill and, working in partnership with our brokers and customers, build on our exceptional brand and reputation as strong underwriters, with a heightened awareness of commercial vibrancy.”

Karen most recently worked for Willis Towers Watson, where she was Head of Construction Broking for North America. She has also held executive roles with brokerage firms Marsh, Aon and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Karen’s earlier tenure at Zurich included roles as National Director for Customer and Product Management and Vice President of the Construction business unit.

A recognized industry leader, Karen has extensive experience in all lines of construction insurance and is a frequent speaker at construction industry conferences and events.

She holds a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Texas. She also holds Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designations. 

3 things to know about Karen

  • “If I wasn’t in insurance, I’d love to be a chef. I often practice on unwitting friends and family but usually with a good outcome.”
  • “I love animals and am a proud parent of a rescue dog named Sadie. To my surprise, she gave birth to four puppies when I first brought her home, which was a life-changing event for both of us.”
  • “I originally went to college for music (clarinet) but fell into stats and finance. Insurance has been very good to me, and I definitely chose the right career.”


Valerie Butt takes on new role as Head of Casualty

Valerie Butt has been named Head of Casualty for Zurich North America Commercial Insurance (NACI), effective Oct. 16.

Her new role entails a migration from Zurich Insurance Group, where Valerie was most recently Global Head of Customer, Distribution and Market Management for Commercial Insurance. She now will lead Large Casualty for NACI, overseeing the book for new and renewal business. She will be based in Chicago.

“Valerie brings a strong understanding of the market and is well connected with our distribution partners and customers,” said NACI Head Paul Horgan. “She also is well-versed in the nuances of our Casualty business, having started her career as a casualty broker and later joining Zurich as a multi-line underwriting manager.”

With Zurich since 1997, she has held a number of leadership positions in underwriting and on the customer relationship and distribution teams in Commercial Insurance and the former Global Corporate group. In 2010, Valerie was named to the “Women to Watch” list by Business Insurance magazine.

“After six years in a global role, I am thrilled to come back to the North American team to drive the Casualty business,” Valerie said. “We have built a strong portfolio, and my goal is to continue to enhance and refine our value proposition and service delivery so that we are the market of choice with our distribution partners and customers.”

Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA in finance and risk management from the University of Georgia.


Paul Lavelle succeeds Steve Hatch as Chief Claims Officer

Zurich North America welcomes Paul Lavelle as Chief Claims Officer. Reporting to Zurich North America CEO Kathleen Savio, Lavelle succeeds Steve Hatch, who recently retired.

“With more than 25 years of insurance experience, Paul is considered one of the best in the industry, with a deep understanding of the importance of driving and delivering effective claims services, including at that crucial moment when an insurance customer files a claim,” Savio said. “Paul is a strong people and relationship leader, and I’m proud to welcome him to the Zurich North America senior team.”

Paul most recently served as senior vice president for North America claims operations at Allied World Assurance Company, where he oversaw the North American claim operation. He previously was president and founder of LVL Claims Services LLC, a professional liability claims adjusting company. He also held a number of claims and underwriting senior leadership and management roles at AIG and Allstate.

Paul was recognized in 2017 as Claims Executive of the Year by the firm Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck. The award recognizes leadership, character and technical expertise among claims professionals in the insurance industry.

Paul earned a bachelor's degree in science, management and human relations at Pace University in Pleasantville, N.Y.