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Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Desq

Lael Chappell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended the University of Georgia where he received a Bachelor in Business Administration in Banking and Finance and a Bachelor in Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance. While at the University of Georgia, he was a Fellow at the Institute for Leadership and Advancement and received a certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership.

After graduation, Lael began his career at Zurich Financial Services in their Associate Training Program headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois. The one-year program provided the opportunity to obtain basic insurance training, as well as rotations in claims, risk engineering, underwriting, and marketing in offices across the United States.

Upon completion of the rotational program, Lael relocated to New York and worked in Zurich’s Global Corporate Strategic Risk Solutions Group as a Senior Underwriter focusing on architecting integrated programs for large corporations, underwriting private equity and portfolio companies, and developing solutions for non-traditional risks globally.

In 2012 Lael transitioned to Marsh McLennan to participate in their 2012 STAR Producer Program where he worked in client development and management in Marsh’s National Brokerage sector. His responsibilities include account management, new business development, and the overall coordination of Marsh McLennan Companies resources to assist clients with avoiding, mitigating, or transferring the risks that could prevent them from achieving their business goals.

In 2015 Lael transitioned to Willis Towers Watson as an Assistant Vice President in their Real Estate and Hospitality Practice, where he served as a liaison between all internal disciplines focused on the coordination of advising public and privately held real estate and hospitality owners, managers, investment managers, and developers from all industry sectors on a wide spectrum of insurance and risk management issues to ensure that the Willis Towers Watson account team effectively meets and exceeds all client deliverables.

In 2019 Lael joined Attune, a leader in Insurtech backed by AIG, Two Sigma, and Hamilton Insurance Group before it was acquired by Coalition Inc. in October of 2021. Lael serves as the

Director of Insurance Distribution for the Property & Casualty (P&C) unit where he leads the Business Development team and is responsible for identifying partnership opportunities while also managing the coordination of distribution with strategic partnerships in the large retail and wholesale brokerage segment nationwide.

In 2022, Lael transitioned to the Specialty MGA Accelerator Desq where he serves as Chief Market & Business Development Officer. At Desq Lael is responsible for working with entrepreneurial underwriters to launch and manage their own MGAs through their technology-driven platform.

Lael was recognized by Business Insurance as a 2019 Breakout Award recipient honoring the top 40 under 40 within the Insurance Industry, selected as a 2019 Young Gun by Insurance

Business America, a 2020 Rising Insurance Star Executive (RISE) recipient, a 2021 Power Broker

by Risk & Insurance, and recognized as a Leader of Change for his diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as well as a recipient of the inaugural Insurance Brokers Association of New York Diversity Equity and Inclusion Excellence Award in 2022. Lael was also identified as a leader in the insurance industry and selected as one of the Hot 100 by Insurance Business America (2022, 2021), a 2022 Top 100 Insurance Innovator by Ligitico and is a part of the 2022 University of Georgia (UGA) Alumni Top 40 Under 40 Class.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Lael has completed a certificate in Investment Banking with a concentration in Private Equity and Real Estate Financing at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Lael earned full alumni status after his completion of the Program For Leadership Development at Harvard Business School and is a 2020 Executive Masters of Business Administration graduate of the EMBA Global Asia Program jointly conferred by Columbia Business School, London Business School, and the University of Hong Kong. 

Lael also completed terms as the chair of the Mentorship Committee for the University of Georgia’s Terry Business School Young Alumni Board, the President of the National African American Insurance Association of New York Tri-State (New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut), the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the HomeBound Leadership Institute, and served as a member of the Board of Directors for MODEL26.

Lael remains active in the community currently serving as the emeritus Chairman of the Wall Street Alphas Charitable Foundation and recently completed both the Stat Zero Venture Fellowship & Rebel One Angel Investor training focused on preparing future Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors for impact investing globally, a Venture Fellow Alum for 116th Street Ventures, and an alum of the McKinsey Black Executive Leadership Program.

Lael is also a current member of the One Hundred Black Men of New York, a mentor for the Global Insurance Accelerator, as well as a mentor for the Insurtech Fund Digital MGA Lab, an Innovation Advisor for Lloyds Lab, and serves as a Global Advisor for the Phoenix Foundation (based out of Hong Kong), and is a member of the Forbes Business Development Council.

To learn more about Lael's new role as Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Desq please click here.

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