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Industry Spotlight:
Lexington Insurance Company’s Rhonda L. Rittenberg

by ~ Anne-Marie Regan (Email) (Web Site)

From young lawyer to dynamic litigator to her current position as senior in-house advisor, Rhonda Rittenberg brings an intensity and energy to everything she does. Today she views the professional world from her post as Senior Vice President and Senior Associate General Counsel of the Lexington Insurance Company.

Refreshingly, Rhonda often interjects humor and levity into an otherwise serious profession: she’s armed with her signature blue marker, a giant Starbucks cup and the ability to laugh at herself. Rhonda and I have been friends for twenty years, since our days together at Morrison, Mahoney & Miller.

A Burlington, Massachusetts native, Rhonda attended college at the University of Arizona, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1983. She returned to Massachusetts to attend Northeastern University School of Law where she earned her J.D. in 1987. It was as a Northeastern Law co-op student at Morrison, Mahoney & Miller, that she became utterly smitten by insurance coverage and reinsurance. Who wouldn't be?

In 1987, Rhonda took an associate position at MM&M in the insurance and reinsurance coverage group. In her words, she “grew up at Morrison. During her 13 years there, she tried, arbitrated and settled a wide array of cases. Well before before being named partner in 1996, Rhonda was a mentor, leader and role model. She took on pro bono cases and managed junior lawyers. She was a fastidious professional and a patient teacher. It was during these years that Rhonda began wielding the bright blue marker. No one was safe: she tore apart the most well-intentioned sentences, including her own, determined to “tell our story. Rhonda had several important mentors at MM&M, including Steve Paris, the firm's managing partner. From the start, she admired him for his leadership and support as well as his tremendous business acumen.

In 2000, Rhonda, Mitchell King, Joe Sano, Tom Elcock and I left MM&M to start up the insurance and reinsurance group of Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye. Rhonda and Mitchell co-chaired the group. As a new partner at Prince Lobel, she wasted no time making her mark on the firm. Among her many accomplishments, Rhonda argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in The Matter Of The Liquidation of American Mutual Liability Insurance Co., 434 Mass. 272; 747 N.E.2d 1215 (2001), an oft-cited insurer insolvency case, on the issue of offset of case reserves and IBNR. Another important achievement during this time was settling on the perfect power beverage: venti decaf mocha, no whip, no foam. She’ll tell you, she never leaves home without it.

Rhonda made marketing a priority at Prince Lobel. Despite managing a heavy arbitration case load and several associates, Rhonda became active on the lecture circuit. She was a frequent speaker at industry conferences, including ARIAS US, ACI and PLI, with appearances at various other seminars held for insurance and reinsurance professionals. To her audiences delight, Rhonda often abandoned convention to enliven her presentations. At one memorable James Bond-themed conference, Rhonda donned spy clothes - dark glasses, hat and trench coat - and assumed the persona of a "Bond Girl," all the while educating the audience on grounds for vacating arbitration awards.

Rhonda has authored several articles, with her best known effort as co-author of the innovative "Is it Broken?" survey. The survey was provided to some 1,000 industry professionals, asking probing questions about the effectiveness of the arbitration process for resolving reinsurance disputes. Results of Our Arbitration Survey appeared in ARIAS U.S. Quarterly, Fall 2005 and revealed that, despite growing criticism of the process, parties still favored arbitration over litigation, arbitrators as advocates (albeit not unrelenting advocates) rather than as neutrals, summary dispositions when feasible, restricted discovery, reasoned decisions, confidential awards, attorneys fees and res judicata where the subsequent case involves the same parties and issues. Rhonda has published and presented numerous other industry-related papers and articles, including; Honorable Engagement Among Countries—Enforcing Arbitral Awards Abroad, ACI Reinsurance Arbitrations Conference, February 2005; An Arbitration Survey By Any Other Name, Reynolds Porter Chamberlain Reinsurance Newsletter, January 2005; “Unrelenting Advocates  A Disservice To The Industry?, PLI Reinsurance Law & Practice 2004; Workers Compensation “Carve-Out Disputes: The Odyssey Continues, Mealey’s Reinsurance 101 Conference, February 2004; An Exercise in Futility? Grounds for Vacating Arbitration Awards, ARIAS U.S. Quarterly, Spring 2003 (co-authored); The Federal Government Comes to the Rescue…Or Does It? Implications of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002, Women’s Business Boston, February 2003; and Review of Insurance Regulation and New Reinsurance Products, Journal of Reinsurance, Summer, 1996, Volume 3, No. 4 (co-authored).

In 2005, Rhonda shifted gears to again work with her old friend and mentor, Steve Paris, who had left MM&M to become Lexington Insurance Company’s General Counsel. Rhonda began her Lexington career as Vice President and Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department. Last year, Rhonda moved over to the business side at Lexington, accepting the position of Senior Vice President and Senior Reinsurance Officer, heading the Ceded Reinsurance Department. In that capacity, she managed the company’s treaty reinsurance purchasing strategy, overseeing the negotiation of the company’s property, casualty, healthcare and program treaty reinsurance portfolio placed in the domestic and international reinsurance markets. Rhonda returned to the Legal Department this year as Senior Vice President and Senior Associate General Counsel and advises senior management and the various business units on transactional, compliance, and regulatory matters, as well as on ceded and assumed reinsurance disputes, audits, collections and contract wording. In 2008, Rhonda obtained her Associate in Surplus Lines (ASLI) designation from the Insurance Institute of America. Rhonda was selected as a Massachusetts Super Lawyer (2005, 2006, 2008) and a New England Super Lawyer (2007).

Recently, I asked Rhonda a few burning questions about the transition from private practice to in-house lawyer and the issues that are currently of most interest to her. Here is what Rhonda had to say:

My biggest challenge in going from private practice to becoming in-house counsel was to stop thinking in six minute (billable hour) increments. I really enjoyed marketing our reinsurance group when I was in private practice and I knew I would miss doing that when I transitioned to my in-house counsel role. So I picked up right where I left off and find myself “marketing the Legal Department to our internal client(s). My in-house marketing story line: “We are production enhancers and we welcome the opportunity to assist.

Proactive communication is of paramount interest to me. What I have found in both my legal and business roles at Lexington is that management decisions are more likely to be executed seamlessly when they take into account input from all relevant disciplines, including underwriting, claims, legal, compliance, accounting, actuarial and systems & operations. I’m a strong advocate of an inter-disciplinary team approach and, as I like to say, I view the Lexington Legal Department as “production enhancers. We pride ourselves on enhancing the Company’s ability to remain nimble, innovative, entrepreneurial, disciplined and responsive to our clients' needs.
On a personal note, Rhonda is one of those rare individuals who brings excitement to the otherwise ordinary, and is always keen to meet new people, learn new concepts and ideas and foster the best in those around her. On the rare occasion when she puts down her Starbucks cup, she may raise a glass of Veuve Clicquot.

Anne-Marie Regan can be reached at AMRegan@PrinceLobel.com.
 2010 Prince Lobel Glovsky & Tye LLP. All rights reserved. There are many online and offline shops offer hermes bags,rolex replica,rolex replica and omega replica.

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