Best's Review

AM BEST'S MONTHLY INSURANCE MAGAZINE



Executive Changes
New York Life Names Craig DeSanto President

Also, International Insurance Society president-CEO to retire, Aviva names successor to retiring CEO, and newly created COO role filled at Suncorp.
  • September 2020
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Craig DeSanto

Craig DeSanto

New York Life has named Craig DeSanto, currently co-chief operating officer, to succeed Ted Mathas as president.

Mathas, chairman and chief executive officer, assumed the president role when John Y. Kim retired in 2018.

DeSanto will oversee all businesses of the company, including individual life insurance and agency distribution units, as well as retail annuities, New York Life investment management, and the company's portfolio of strategic business.

DeSanto joined New York Life in 1997 as an actuarial intern and was promoted into roles of increasing responsibility across New York Life's finance and business operations, including as head of the institutional life insurance business, individual life insurance business, and Eagle Strategies.

In 2015, he was appointed to lead the company's strategic businesses, where he systematically built a portfolio of businesses that today directly support the core retail life insurance franchise, diversify the company's sales and earnings, and enhance its financial strength. In 2017, DeSanto joined the company's executive management committee, and in the two subsequent years, he assumed oversight for retail annuities and New York Life investment management, respectively, according to the company.

Mathas noted DeSanto has helped lead New York Life's pending acquisition of Cigna's group life and disability insurance business, the company's largest acquisition to date. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.

—Staff Report


Amanda Blanc

Amanda Blanc

Aviva plc Names Successor to Retiring CEO

Aviva plc has named Amanda Blanc to succeed Maurice Tulloch as chief executive officer.

Blanc will transition to her role immediately and replaces Tulloch, who has stepped down from the role for family health reasons and retired from his position on the Aviva plc board. Tulloch joined the company in 1992 and held a number of senior positions before being appointed CEO in March of 2019. Tulloch has been placed on garden leave until the end of his six-month notice period on Jan. 5, 2021.

Blanc is currently an independent nonexecutive director at Aviva plc. She was appointed to the Aviva board in January 2020 and chairs the customer, conduct and reputation board committee. She was previously CEO, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and global banking partnerships at Zurich Insurance Group. Prior to that, she was group CEO, Axa UK, PPP Healthcare and Ireland and has served as chair of the Association of British Insurers and president of the Chartered Insurance Institute.


Christina Welch

Christina "Cina" Welch

FCCI Insurance Group Names President-CEO

The FCCI Insurance Group board of directors has named Christina 'Cina' Welch to succeed Craig Johnson as president and chief executive officer.

Welch joined FCCI in 1998 as an attorney in the legal department and has held varied roles during her tenure, taking on the role in 2018 of executive vice president, general counsel, and chief audit and compliance officer.

Welch's experience includes the development of FCCI's data security incident response and information security programs; building an enterprise risk management program; managing FCCI's business continuity management program—including the corporate COVID-19 response; and leading the company's geographic expansion efforts, according to the company.


Old Mutual Makes Williamson Permanent CEO

Iain Williamson, chief operating officer of Old Mutual Ltd. and acting chief executive officer, has been named permanent chief executive officer of Old Mutual and Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. Ltd.

An actuary, Williamson has worked at Old Mutual for almost three decades. During that time, he served in a range of senior roles, including chief financial officer and managing director of the retail affluent segment. He was appointed Old Mutual emerging markets' finance director in 2015, then COO in 2017. He also acted as the interim CEO in 2017.


Mike Morrissey

Mike Morrissey

International Insurance Society President-CEO to Retire

The International Insurance Society and The Institutes said Mike Morrissey will retire after more than 11 years as IIS president and chief executive officer.

Morrissey became the IIS' fifth CEO in early 2009. He had previously spent 15 years as an active corporate member of the IIS. In addition to running 10 of the IIS' signature events, the Global Insurance Forum, he is responsible for numerous innovations, including the Global Insurance Stock Review; the Leaders of Tomorrow Program; the Vanguard Market Development Award; the Global Centers of Insurance Excellence and the Leadership Perspective: Global Pandemic webinar series, according to a statement.

Under his leadership, the IIS became a founding supporting institution of the United Nations' Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and the founding organization and Secretariat of the Insurance Development Forum, a public-private partnership led by the global insurance industry, the U.N. and the World Bank.


Horace Mann Educators Names Chief Risk Officer

Horace Mann Educators Corp. has named Paul Haley as chief risk officer. Haley has led risk assessments for the company's business development efforts since 2018.

Haley has 35 years of experience in the life insurance sector, holding senior actuarial positions at Genworth Financial, Colonial Life and Prudential Financial before joining Horace Mann in 2018.


B. Bradford Martz

B. Bradford Martz

Chris Dittman

Chris Dittman

United Insurance Holdings Names Two Leaders Company President and CRO

United Insurance Holdings Corp. has named B. Bradford Martz as company president and Chris Dittman in the newly created position of chief risk officer.

Martz, chief financial officer since joining the company in 2012, will expand his role to also serve as the company's president. He will oversee the company's daily operations and continue to oversee the company's financial operations.

In his new role, Dittman will oversee the company's reinsurance program with responsibility for risk management, capital management and portfolio optimization strategies.

Dittman joined the company in 2017 as the managing director of reinsurance. Prior to joining, Dittman served as a partner with TigerRisk Partners from 2010 until 2017. He started there as a reinsurance broker from 2008 until 2010.


Amy Stepnowski

Amy Stepnowski

Hartford Names CIO-President of Hartford Investment Management

Hartford Financial Services Group has named Amy Stepnowski to succeed Brion Johnson to the positions of chief investment officer of Hartford and president of Hartford Investment Management Co.

Stepnowski was to transition to her role on Aug. 1. Johnson will remain with the company in an advisory capacity through the end of the year. Johnson joined the company in October 2011 as chief financial officer and head of strategy for planning and development at HIMCO.

Stepnowski was managing director and head of public credit research at HIMCO, where she worked since 2008. She joined the company as a vice president and senior research analyst for emerging markets, and then moved to the high-yield team, where she covered a wide range of industries.


Todd Gill

Todd Gill

United Heritage Financial Group Names Successor to Retiring President

United Heritage Insurance has named Todd Gill to succeed Dennis Johnson as president of United Heritage Financial Group and United Heritage Life Insurance Co.

Gill was to begin transitioning to his role July 1, assuming oversight of daily operations, with Johnson retaining his role as chief executive officer. On Jan. 1, 2021, Gill will succeed Johnson, who is retiring after 37 years with United Heritage Insurance and 21 years as president and CEO.

Gill was most recently executive vice president and chief operating officer of United Heritage Insurance, having previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He joined the company in 2004 as CFO.


Paul Smeaton

Paul Smeaton

Suncorp New Zealand CEO to Take on Newly Created COO Role at Parent Company

Suncorp New Zealand's CEO, Paul Smeaton, has been named to Suncorp's newly created role of chief operating officer, insurance, in Brisbane, Australia.

Smeaton leaves the New Zealand business as part of a wider set of executive changes. Jimmy Higgins, currently Suncorp New Zealand's chief financial officer, will succeed Smeaton as acting CEO of Suncorp New Zealand.

Smeaton joined Suncorp in 1994 and has held senior positions within information technology, corporate projects, human resources, facilities and general insurance. He took up the role of CEO Vero Insurance—later Suncorp New Zealand—in 2015.



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