Like most of us in the insurance business, Tom Vargo, AXA XL’s claims manager-Aerospace, did not grow up wanting to be an insurance executive. He was fascinated with airplanes and wanted to be an airline pilot.

Executive Summary

This article is part of a three-part series on P/C insurance executives whose careers in the industry are "second act" careers. Here, AXA XL's Tom Vargo describes how his first career as a commercial airline pilot led him to the role of a more stable career as an aerospace insurance claims manager.

Part 1 of a Series

After earning his BS degree in BioPhysics from the University of Scranton, Vargo joined Dow Chemical as a research engineer, working with extruded piping for water and gas applications. While working at Dow Chemical, he took flying lessons as a hobby.

This was in 2000, before the World Trade Center bombings. After 9/11, there was a gigantic pause in the aviation business, so Vargo became a flight instructor for two years between 2001 and 2003. More than 20 of his students earned their private pilot’s license. One student—Paul Tuhy of XL Insurance—would end up playing a major role in Vargo’s life down the road. (Vargo noted that Tuhy was a quick study and went on to get his private pilot certificate.)

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