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Executive Changes
NAIC Taps Maine Regulator for Top Spot

Also: China Life names new chairman; Brit Specialty taps chief underwriting officer; the Insured Retirement Institute gets new president and Hawaii appoints new captive insurance administrator.
  • January 2019
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Eric Cioppa

Eric Cioppa

Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa has been elected as the new National Association of Insurance Commissioners president for 2019. Cioppa had served for the past year as NAIC president-elect and was next in line of officer succession when the NAIC’s Executive Committee took its vote during the Fall National Meeting on Nov. 18. Cioppa and the NAIC’s three other officers will begin their one-year terms on Jan. 1, 2019. Cioppa has been Maine’s superintendent since being appointed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage in 2011 and was reconfirmed in January 2017 to serve another five-year term. He succeeds Julie Mix McPeak, Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance. In September, Cioppa was appointed by the NAIC to a two-year term as a nonvoting state insurance commissioner representative to the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The NAIC members also elected South Carolina Insurance Director Ray Farmer as president-elect and Hawaii Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito as vice president. In 2018, Farmer had served previously as vice president and Ito as secretary-treasurer. In the only contested race, Idaho Insurance Director Dean Cameron was elected as the new secretary-treasurer over Rhode Island Insurance Superintendent Elizabeth Dwyer and Iowa Insurance Director Doug Ommen. Cameron defeated Dwyer in a runoff.

—Thomas Harman

WTW Names Execs to Two Business Units

Willis Towers Watson named executives to its growing digital and analytics business and its mergers and acquisitions advisory businesses. The broker and consultant expanded its analytics and digital transformation team with the appointment of Iain Whittingham as a senior director in its insurance consulting and technology business. He will be based in London. Willis Towers Watson also appointed Steve Allan to lead its mergers & acquisitions advisory and solutions business within the company’s global human capital and benefits business. Allan takes over this role after having been M&A leader for the United Kingdom and Western Europe for the past eight years. He also led the company’s global services and solutions business in Great Britain since 2016. Whittingham has 25 years of senior consulting, insurance and industry line management experience, specializing in advanced analytics, digital transformation, business information, operating model design and cost optimization program. Whittingham’s appointment follows that of Adhiraj Maitra, who joined Willis Towers Watson’s P/C insurance consulting team as director from Lloyd’s. Maitra has more than 10 years of experience specializing in the Lloyd’s and London markets. He has more than 20 years of experience advising global multinationals on M&A transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures.

Alex Wynaendts

Alex Wynaendts

Aegon Board to Reappoint CEO

Aegon N.V. said its supervisory board will propose the reappointment of Alex Wynaendts to a four-year term as chief executive officer at the group’s annual general meeting in May 2019. Wynaendts joined the company in 1997 and was appointed to its executive board in 2003. He was named chief operating officer in April 2007 and was appointed CEO and chairman of Aegon’s executive board in 2008.

Freedom Insurance CEO Quits After One Month

Australia’s Freedom Insurance Group has appointed Sean Williamson as incoming chief executive officer as current CEO Craig Orton had decided to leave after only a month in the job, the life insurer said in a statement. Orton, previously the company’s chief operating officer and promoted to CEO in October, would resign for “personal reasons” by the end of 2018 and be replaced immediately by Williamson, who is currently a consultant to the company and former general manager at TAL, Australia’s largest life insurer.

China Life Names New Chairman

China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. has named Bin Wang as the new chairman and executive director to succeed Mingsheng Yang, according to a statement from the Beijing-based insurer. Yang has resigned as chairman and executive director “due to the reason of age,” said China Life. The appointment of Wang is still subject to the approval of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. Previously, Wang served as chairman of the board of directors at China Taiping Insurance Group Ltd. and China Taiping Insurance Group (HK) Co. Ltd. from March 2012 to August 2018. Prior to that, he was vice president and executive director at the Bank of Communications from 2005 to 2012. He also worked for Agricultural Development Bank of China, according to China Life. Yang was appointed chairman of China Life in 2012. He was formerly vice chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Axa UK and Ireland Appoints New CFO

Amelie Breitburd has been appointed chief financial officer of Axa UK and Ireland. Breitburd began her new post on Jan. 1, 2019 and is replacing Bertrand Poupart-Lafarge, who will become CFO at Axa France, the company said in a statement. Axa said that as part of her new role, Breitburd will also be the new executive sponsor for Axa UK and Ireland’s diversity and inclusion program, a post previously held by Poupart-Lafarge for nearly four years. Breitburd has been with Axa for the past 14 years, was most recently CFO of Axa Asia and has held several senior roles at Axa Group in Paris. She had also worked for KPMG and Allianz. Poupart-Lafarge joined Axa UK and Ireland in September 2012 after working for Axa US as chief investment officer and treasurer and as CFO of Axa Canada. He joined Axa France in 2003.

Andrew Kurata

Andrew Kurata

Kurata Named Captive Insurance Administrator

Andrew Kurata has been appointed as Hawaii deputy commissioner and captive insurance administrator for the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Kurata has been with the department’s insurance division since 2011 as a captive insurance examiner and a captive insurance program specialist. Previously, Kurata had worked in the audit department at the accounting and consulting firm KMH LLP.

Asia Capital Reinsurance Makes Appointments

Asia Capital Reinsurance Group Pte. Ltd. has made appointments for its underwriting and management team as it eyes long-term expansion, according to a statement from the Singapore-based reinsurer. Soeren Soltysiak and Ronnie Tong have been appointed chief underwriting officer for treaty and facultative and specialty, respectively. They will both sit on the company’s executive committee. Nick Macfarlane is now head of treaty, international, for the company’s expansion into North America and Europe. For facultative business, Michael Resnikoff and Nicolas Winter have been named head of casualty and financial lines and head of property and engineering, respectively. Whye Loon Chan, who held the portfolio of chief retrocession officer, has returned to the position of chief risk officer. Solomon Chiu, who is head of treaty markets, greater China, will take on additional responsibilities as principal officer for the Hong Kong branch. Kenneth Law has received regulatory approval to be certifying actuary, according to ACR.

Peter Bilsby

Peter Bilsby

AIG Names Head for Global Specialty Role

Peter Bilsby has been appointed global head of specialty for American International Group Inc. He will report to Christopher Townsend, chief executive officer of AIG General Insurance International, and will be responsible for the group’s global energy, marine, aviation and credit lines. The role Bilsby will take is a newly created one, said AIG adding the role is global and doesn’t exclude any region. Since 2016, Bilsby has been CEO of Talbot Group, AIG’s Lloyd’s insurance and reinsurance specialist, which AIG acquired in July when it acquired Validus Holdings Ltd. AIG said Bilsby will continue as CEO of Talbot until his successor is appointed. Before becoming CEO of Talbot, Bilsby was managing director of Talbot and director of underwriting, AIG said. He joined Talbot in September 2009 as head of global aerospace from XL London Market Ltd. Prior to XL, he was managing director of the aviation division of Markel International.

IRI Taps Prudential Exec as President, CEO

Wayne Chopus, a Prudential Financial executive, will be the Insured Retirement Institute’s next president and chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Chopus succeeds Cathy Weatherford, a former Oklahoma insurance commissioner who is retiring after leading the IRI for the past 10 years Chopus, who is senior vice president, strategic relationship management, individual solutions group at Prudential Financial, has nearly 25 years’ of industry experience that began at the Hartford Financial Securities Group and has continued for the past 11 years at Prudential. At Prudential, Chopus concurrently led sales operations, ran the strategy and business intelligence team and led the annuities business’ strategy and implementation efforts on the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule.

Fred Shurbaji

Fred Shurbaji

Former Chubb Exec Joins Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada has appointed former Chubb executive Fred Shurbaji as head of small-to-medium enterprise commercial insurance. He will be based in Montreal, charged with growing and developing the segment, the company said in a statement. Formerly a chief underwriting officer and senior vice president for commercial insurance at Chubb in the United Kingdom, Shurbaji earlier was also in management at Chubb in Canada and Aviva Canada. Earlier, he was an underwriter in the United Arab Emirates.

Brit Global Specialty USA Names CUO

Brit Ltd. said it has appointed John King as chief underwriting officer for Brit Global Specialty USA. King moves to the U.S. role from his current position as group executive underwriter at Brit Global Specialty in London and will be based in Chicago, Brit said in a statement. He will report to Nick Davies, president, Brit Global Specialty USA, and will continue to work closely with Christiern Dart, Brit’s group CUO. The position King is filling is newly created, and King will be focused only on U.S. business, said Brit. King has more than 30 years of experience, including a range of senior underwriting positions, the company said. He joined Brit in 2009, initially as short-tail portfolio director, before becoming group executive underwriter. Before joining Brit, King was a production underwriter at Beazley. He began his career at Marsh as senior vice president, and led the U.S. property broking team in London. Headquartered in Chicago, Brit Global Specialty USA underwrites on behalf of Brit Syndicate 2987 at Lloyd’s. Brit Ltd. is a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

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