December 4, 2005

The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, Austin, Texas, has announced that two outstanding customer service representatives have received its National Outstanding CSR of the Year Award for 2005: Miranda M. Wescott and Misty L. Kriskovich. This marks the first time since the inception of the award in 1991 that two CSRs, rather than one, were chosen as recipients.

Wescott is a personal account manager working with special personal lines account coverages at Chandler-Frates and Reitz Inc. in Tulsa, Okla.

Kriskovich manages the commercial insurance department for Hobson Insurance in Hobson, Mont.

The National Alliance said its blue-ribbon panel of judges narrowed the field of 36 state winners to five finalists, and was unable to fairly eliminate one of the top two. The judges evaluated the finalists based on their individual contributions to the insurance community and the strength of their essays written on the topic, “The Four Most Constructive Things a Producer Can Do Now to Help CSRs.”

To be considered for this award the candidate must be an insurance customer service representative, or have primary responsibility for insurance customer service duties.

Wescott and Kriskovich each received $1,000, a gold and diamond lapel pin, and their names will be inscribed on a sculpture on permanent display at National Alliance headquarters. A scholarship will be awarded to both of their employers for participation in any National Alliance program.

In addition to the selection of Wescott and Kriskovich as national award recipients, three national finalists were chosen: Cathy M. Cassetta with BB&T/Iler Wall and Shonter Insurance Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Diane L. Hodas with Loesel Schaaf Insurance Agency Inc. in Erie, Pa.; and Carol “Cricket” Mitchell with Premier Insurance in Twin Falls, Idaho. They each receive a gold and garnet lapel pin.

Affinity Group Administrators has announced the appointment of Phil Pierson to its Southern California operations based in Folsom. Pierson brings more than 23 years of risk management, insurance and risk financing experience. He has formerly held positions in underwriting management and risk management for a Fortune 50 company. He also has developed and managed affinity group programs as an insurance broker. His expertise also includes managing and underwriting risk with a focus on non-traditional risk financing methods such as self-insurance plans, risk retention groups and self financing insurance plans such as captives and high-deductible programs.

Guy Carpenter and Co. Inc., part of the Marsh and McLennan Companies, has announced that Jack Snyder has joined the company as managing director and manager of business development for the Americas.

Snyder was chief marketing officer for American Re, and chief ratings officer for the A.M. Best Co. Earlier in his career, Snyder was a securities analyst following the insurance industry for Smith Barney, and an underwriter for General Reinsurance Corp.

Nick Gutierrez has joined Thoits Insurance, Mountain View, Calif., as a vice president in the employee benefits team. Gutierrez’s 15 years of employee benefits experience includes both insurer and broker positions. His clients range from family run businesses to multi-site corporations.

Gutierrez attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in Psychology. His memberships include the Silicon Valley Health Underwriters and Northern California Health Underwriters.

Gutierrez also founded “Christmas in July,” a local annual charity event.

Integro has announced that Stephen Miller, Bart Bates and David Blocker have accepted key roles in the company’s Chicago office. Miller will serve as managing principal, casualty client development; Bates will hold the position of principal, casualty brokerage group; and Blocker, in the role of principal, will hold responsibility for business development via client advocacy and market intelligence.

Miller has more than 30 years of claims, underwriting and brokerage experience in the casualty insurance business, including 16 years of brokerage experience in servicing clients and placing primary and excess casualty business. Prior to joining Integro, he served as managing director for Marsh, which he joined in 1989 after 17 years with Aetna.

Bates has 28 years of casualty brokerage and underwriting experience with such firms as Marsh, Near North, Wausau Ins. Co., Continental Insurance Co., and Kinney, Pike, Bell and Connor. He most recently served as senior vice president and regional center manager, middle market placement for Marsh’s Chicago office. He was with Marsh for 19 years.

Blocker has nearly 30 years of experience developing and implementing captives and other alternative risk transfer vehicles for clients in both the public and private sector. He has served with Aon, Marsh and USA Risk Services/Vermont Insurance Management, and most recently held a position as vice president with Willis.

Katie Freeman Insurance Services in San Diego has announced the promotion of Mike Menegus to brokerage manager. His former title was account executive.

Additionally, Valorie McCree has joined Katie Freeman Insurance Services as bookkeeper. She was formerly assistant accounting manager at Management Enterprises Inc. in San Diego.

Chopra Insurance Brokerage Inc. has announced that Kimberly R. Carter has joined as a property/casualty broker. Carter will be responsible for developing new agencies and adding new insurance carriers for brokerage business. Carter has 17 years industry experience.

She started her insurance career on the company side and has served as a retail broker before entering surplus lines. She assisted a start-up brokerage in Los Angeles and also served as broker for Peachtree West Insurance Brokers.

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