Cindy Downs

August 21, 2008

Dallas-based wholesale insurance broker and managing general agent Towerstone Inc. has added four new members to its team.

Cindy Downs was added as a senior underwriter in the firm’s MGA unit. Downs formerly was a senior underwriter at Capstone Inc.

Chris Rohrer was hired as a property broker and will focus on energy and non-energy property business. Rohrer previously was a broker with Risk Placement Services.

Anita Galan has been added as an associate underwriter working primarily with MGA business. Galan previously was an underwriting assistant III with Capstone Inc.

Frances Hoffman will be assisting in the Casualty Energy unit as an account representative. Previously, she served as a customer service clerk with Infinity Property and Casualty Insurance Company.

Dallas-based Bridge Insurance Partners, a national commercial property and casualty agency, has added John H. Chance in a lead sales and consulting role. Chance will focus on delivering insurance solutions to middle market firms.

Chance formerly was co-owner of Resource Medical Staffing, where he served health care facilities in Louisiana and Texas. Earlier in his career he worked at IT contract staffing firm, Aerotek, and held a leadership position with Medical Contracting Services. Chance also serves on the board of a regional consulting firm.

Steve Cagle joined McQueary Henry Bowles Troy L.L.P. (MHBT) in its Dallas office as a specialist in the employee benefits group.

Prior to joining MHBT, Cagle spent 25 years as an agency owner for Allstate Insurance, working primarily with personal lines and small group benefits. He earned the Chairman’s Conference distinction for five years, the Quality Agency award for 10 years, was recognized as a National Champion for 18 years and received the company’s Honor Ring for 23 years.

Throughout his career, Cagle has served on numerous regional, state and national agent leadership councils.

Donnie Doan, a vice president in MHBT’s bond department was named to the 2008-09 board of directors for the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP).

In addition to his board responsibilities, Doan will serve as a member of NASBP’s Education Committee. The Committee instructs industry professionals throughout the year at seminars implemented by the William J. Angell Surety School, an educational training arm of NASBP.

Doan has more than 15 years of experience in the insurance and surety bond profession, with significant expertise in the construction industry and the design of comprehensive contractor bond programs.

MHBT also reported it will move its Dallas headquarters in June 2009 from 12700 Park Central Drive to the Walnut Glen Tower building at 8144 Walnut Hill Lane. The firm will be moving 144 employees.

Ray L. Thomas and Sheldon I. Oster, founders of Houston-based Bunker Hill Insurance Agency Inc. and Shel-Ray Underwriters Inc., are retiring. L. Byron Way, currently executive vice president of Bunker Hill, has been named president and chief operating officer.

Southwest Insurance Partners Inc. (SWIP) acquired Bunker Hill and Shel-Ray at the end of 2007. As part of this transition the two companies will merge and operate as Bunker Hill Insurance Agency Inc.

In other changes at Bunker Hill, Financial Director Suzanne Hartmann-Linck will join the parent company as controller, and Mary Beth Martin will become controller at Bunker Hill. Also, a new branch office will be opened by year end in Austin.

The Gibraltar Group, a full-service insurance firm based in Lubbock, Texas, promoted Brandt Beal to president and designated Ralph Beal as chairman of the company’s board of directors.

In his new role as president, Brandt Beal oversees daily business operations, ensuring the delivery of valuable insurance and active risk management services to customers.

Ralph and Brandt Beal established The Gibraltar Group in 2005 and led the company as president and vice president, respectively. As chairman, Ralph Beal represents the firm in business and industry settings and provides strategic counsel for the senior management team on a variety of matters.

The Gibraltar Group also promoted Brenda Hunter to vice president of underwriting. Previously, she served as underwriting manager with the firm. In her new position, Hunter oversees all underwriting activities, supervises consistency and quality control and plays a significant role in important and strategic decisions.

Tara Eastman has joined Crump Insurance Services Inc.’s Dallas office as associate broker on Matthew Sheehan’s professional liability team.

In this position Eastman will manage professional liability and environmental accounts, including marketing new and renewal business, analyzing insurance policies and negotiating coverage with numerous insurance companies.

She previously was an account manager for professional liability and environmental lines at Swett & Crawford of Texas Inc.

Eastman has nine years of experience in the insurance industry. She began her insurance career in 1999 with Markel Shand, where she was a professional liability underwriter specializing in architects and engineers, miscellaneous errors and omission, allied healthcare, and employment practice liability.

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry made four appointments to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court.

The three new members of the court are Robert Lake Grove of Oklahoma City, William R. Foster of Norman and Eric W. Quandt of Tulsa. Michael J. Harkey of Oklahoma City was reappointed to the court.

Grove is an attorney with CompSource, while Foster is a judicial clerk with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Quandt is an attorney in private practice.

Brian Martin, a partner in the law firm of Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons LLP, was installed as the 10th Chairman of the Insurance Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Martin is a frequent contributor to Insurance Journal’s “Legal Beat” column.

The Insurance Law Section has several thousand members and is one of the largest sections in the State Bar.

HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. named Thomas G. Kaiser president of its Houston Casualty Company and U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC) subsidiaries.

Kaiser will report to Houston Casualty Company and USSIC Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Schell.

Kaiser comes to HCC after serving as executive vice president and president of the Marine, Energy and Aviation Special Risks Division of Arch Insurance Group.

His experience before joining Arch in 2002 includes more than 25 years working with Zurich Corporate Solutions, American International Group and Arkwright Mutual Insurance.

North Texas-based national wholesale insurance brokerage Insential Inc. has named new vice president/brokers for its operations in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest regions.

Angela Needham was appointed vice president/broker for the Northeast marketplace. Mike Veniard is a new assistant vice president/broker for the Southeast. In the Midwest, Byron Sinclair was named senior vice president/broker. All three will oversee broker production, development and management of broker relationships in their respective regions.

Needham has more than 20 years of industry experience with both retail and wholesale operations and holds her CPCU designation. Prior to joining Insential, she worked for a large national wholesale broker.

Veniard brings more 10 years of property and casualty experience including marketing, underwriting and relationship management. Veniard also holds his CIC designation.

With more than 25 years of industry experience, Sinclair spent the bulk of the last 20 years with global insurance carriers.

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