Best's Review



Executive Changes
UnitedHealth Makes Changes to Top Leadership

Also: N.Y. gets new superintendent, Berkley Re America appoints new president, and Swiss Re names CEO of Asia Reinsurance.
  • September 2019
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Dirk McMahon

Dirk C. McMahon

UnitedHealth Group Inc. is making changes to its senior leadership, following the retirement of Steve Nelson, chief executive officer of its UnitedHealthcare health insurance and benefits unit.

Nelson will be succeeded by Dirk C. McMahon, currently president and chief operating officer of Optum, the group's health services, technology and pharmacy benefit management business. McMahon has held numerous senior positions since joining the company in 2003, including oversight of UnitedHealth Group's enterprisewide operations.

Daniel J. Schumacher, currently president and COO of UnitedHealthcare, will become Optum president and COO. Schumacher's new role includes oversight of OptumInsight, the company's data, analytics and technology business, Optum Technology and Optum operations.

Schumacher joined the company in 1999. In March, Optum named Andrew Witty, the former GlaxoSmithKline CEO, as its CEO.

“At a time when UnitedHealth Group is performing strongly in the marketplace on multiple dimensions, we are advancing leaders who will improve the overall health and well-being of the people we serve,” David S. Wichmann, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement.

—Frank Klimko

Linda Lacewell

Linda A. Lacewell

Linda A. Lacewell Confirmed as New York's Financial Regulator

The New York state senate has confirmed Linda A. Lacewell as the superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services, a position she has held in an acting capacity since being nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year. Lacewell is responsible for regulating nearly 1,500 financial institutions with assets of more than $2.6 trillion, and 1,400 insurance companies and 300,000 individual licensees with assets of more than $4.7 trillion, according to a statement from her office.

Cuomo nominated Lacewell in January, after she served as his chief of staff and counselor, overseeing executive chamber operations, as well as ethics and law enforcement matters. She succeeds Superintendent Maria Vullo, who stepped down Feb. 1. Lacewell also served as special counsel to Cuomo when he was the state's attorney general, overseeing a public pension fund pay-to-play investigation and the out-of-network health insurance investigation.

Before that, Lacewell served as executive director of a cancer foundation initiative in Culver City, California, the statement said. She also spent nine years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, including two years on the Enron Task Force, it said.

W.R. Berkley Appoints President of Berkley Re America

W.R. Berkley named Daniel R. Westcott president of Berkley Re America, a Berkley company.

Westcott brings over 20 years of experience in the property/casualty reinsurance market to Berkley Re America, W.R. Berkley said in a statement.

W. Robert Berkley, president and chief executive officer of W.R. Berkley Corp., commented on Westcott's appointment saying “under Dan's leadership, BRAM will continue offering meaningful lead capacity to its trading partners using its innovative and collaborative underwriting approach.”

Shane Fitzsimons

Shane Fitzsimons

AIG Fills New Role of Global Head of Shared Services

American International Group Inc. has hired Shane Fitzsimons for the company's new position of global head of shared services.

Fitzsimons' transition was July 1. He will be based in New York and will report to Peter Zaffino, AIG global chief operating officer and chief executive officer of general insurance, AIG said in a statement. The newly created role is responsible for developing and implementing a global strategy within AIG's Shared Services.

Prior to AIG, Fitzsimons worked at TATA Group, where he led efforts to enable synergies across the group's businesses. A large portion of his career was spent at GE, where he spent over 20 years in operational and financial roles across the United States, Asia, and Europe. During his time at GE, he held positions such as global head of shared services, chief financial officer for all international operations and head of financial planning and analysis across the company.

John Mizzi

John Mizzi

AIG Subsidiary Blackboard Appoints Head of Growth and Underwriting

Blackboard Insurance has named John Mizzi as the head of growth and underwriting.

Mizzi will be succeeding Ed Pulkstenis, who will be transitioning into a newly created role at the American International Group Inc. subsidiary as head of machine-augmented solutions.

Mizzi will be responsible for leading the underwriting team as Blackboard expands its use of data, analytics and technology to serve the needs of insureds and broker partners in the middle market of commercial insurance. Pulkstenis will be responsible for designing the optimal interaction between human and machine.

Mizzi most recently led commercial field operations at CNA for three years. Prior to that, he worked at Chubb for 25 years as senior vice president and Eastern territory field underwriting officer.

National League of Cities Mutual Names President-CEO

National League of Cities Mutual Insurance Co. said it has appointed Jill Eaton as president and chief executive officer.

Eaton will officially serve in her position upon the departure of Bill Heberton, who was set to retire in July. As she transitions into her new role, she will oversee strategic planning, the company said in a statement. Additionally, she will work to further cultivate the relationships NLC Mutual has with its staff and state league risk pool members.

Eaton has more than 35 years of experience.

Jayne Plunkett

Jayne Plunkett

Swiss Re Names CEO for Asia Reinsurance; Current Chief to Join AIA

Swiss Re has named Russell Higginbotham as the new chief executive officer for reinsurance Asia and regional president effective July 8.

He succeeds Jayne Plunkett, who will join Hong Kong's AIA as group chief risk officer on Nov. 1.

Higginbotham is currently Swiss Re's CEO for reinsurance and regional president for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before his current role, he served as CEO of Swiss Re U.K. &Ireland, CEO of Swiss Re Australia and New Zealand and led the company's life and health businesses in Japan and Korea before becoming the global leader for the L&H division.

Swiss Re said it will name a successor to Higginbotham as CEO for reinsurance and regional president in due course.

Meanwhile, Plunkett will also become a member of AIA's group executive committee and will report to Group CEO and President Keng Hooi Ng.

Plunkett has been with Swiss Re since 2006 and prior to her current position, she held senior roles in Asia, including as head of casualty underwriting for the region and the global position as head of casualty reinsurance. She was previously at GE Insurance Solutions before its acquisition by Swiss Re.

She succeeds Mitch New, who assumed the role of group chief risk officer in March on an interim basis, following the departure of Jon Nielson. New will continue in his role as group general counsel.

RSA Names Chief Underwriting Officer

RSA has appointed Rachel Conran as chief underwriting officer for its global risk solutions business.

Conran, who will be based in Luxembourg, will work in conjunction with Tony Buckle, managing director, global risk solutions, to boost profitability and development of their global risk solutions business. Her appointment is subject to regulatory approval.

With more than 25 years in the insurance industry, Conran has extensive underwriting experience. Prior to RSA, Conran served as an independent financial analyst. She was responsible for advising a range of global insurance companies on their underwriting strategy to boost profitability.

From 2009 to 2016, she served as the chief underwriting officer for Allianz's global corporate and specialty division. She also was the chief executive officer and chief underwriting officer at Scor business solutions from 2017 to 2018. In this position, she specialized in large corporate risk insurance.

Brian Scanlon

Brian Scanlon

Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Expands Executive Team

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America said Brian Scanlon will join the company in a newly created role as executive vice president of business development and chief marketing officer.

The purpose of Scanlon's role is to enhance delivery of products, services and communications that meet consumers' financial needs, Guardian said in a statement. He is responsible for serving consumer needs and marketing that connects to sales and overall customer experience. To accomplish this, he will be responsible for developing an enterprise strategy for acquisitions and partnerships.

Prior to Guardian, Scanlon served as the chief strategy officer for Thomson Reuters Corp., where he played a crucial role in executing the deal to sell a majority stake of Thomson Reuters' Financial Services and Risk Division into a joint venture with Blackstone. He was accountable for strategy, brand marketing, strategic partnerships, alliances and business development. Earlier in his career, Scanlon was a partner in a corporate finance and strategy practice at McKinsey.

Jose Ramon Gonzalez

Jose Ramon Gonzalez

CNA Names EVP-General Counsel

CNA has appointed Jose Ramon Gonzalez as executive vice president and general counsel.

Gonzalez will serve as the principal counsel for CNA, the company said in a statement. He will lead the company's law department, which is responsible for legal affairs, compliance, regulatory and government affairs, securities and ligation, and legal consultation to CNA's business operations.

In his previous positions, Gonzalez served as chief legal officer for QBE North America. He led all legal, compliance, corporate governance and regulatory affairs for QBE's U.S. operations. Additionally, he served in legal and counsel roles of increasing responsibility at Weil, Gotshal, and Manges; American International Group Inc.; and Torus.

CNA Canada in August said it appointed Greg Metcalfe as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Metcalfe will be responsible for leading the finance and information technology functions for CNA Canada, the company said in a statement. He reports to Nick Creatura, president and chief executive officer, CNA Canada.

Shane Wheeler

Shane Wheeler

Geico Names Vice President of Claims Operations

The Geico board of directors has promoted Shane Wheeler to vice president of claims operations.

Wheeler began his career with Geico in 1999, initially serving as a service counselor at the San Diego regional office. He proceeded to enter the management internship program shortly thereafter. Upon his completion of the program he was named as a supervisor of the claims division. In 2004, he transferred to the Tucson, Arizona, regional office and later in 2011 transferred to the Dallas office serving in claims management roles in both locations. Two years later, he was named as the liability director for the Dallas region. Since 2016, he has been serving as the assistant vice president of claims for Geico's regional operations in the Tuscon regional office, the company said in a statement.

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