The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) on Feb. 2 presented its 2010 Independent Leadership Award to Joe Straus III, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. The Independent Leadership Award was presented during IIAT’s Joe Vincent Management Seminar.
Straus was elected to the House of Representatives in 2005 and served as a House member representing San Antonio and surrounding areas during the 79th and 80th legislative sessions. He was elected speaker in 2009.
Presenting the award, IIAT vice president Bob Shepard, of Harlingen, said last year the speaker “gracefully led his peers through the 140-day session and two-day special session, ultimately passing measures to reduce the tax burden on small businesses in the state and to safe-guard the General Revenue fund from future hurricane losses.”
Straus recognized the fact that a number of House members are insurance agents, as well as members of IIAT, and expressed his appreciation of the working relationship between the IIAT and the House of Representatives. Straus is a licensed insurance agent, though not a property/casualty agent. He told IIAT members that he still gets “the idea” and knows what you “are up against.”
Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. (LWCC) promoted two of its experienced professionals to managerial positions. Brent Toups is now agency relations manager and Karen Mouton is premium audit manager.
Toups joined LWCC in 1998 as a premium auditor. He joined the company’s Agency Relations Department in 2007 as an agency relations representative. Previously, he held the position of staff accountant for First American Bank and Trust in Vacherie.
Mouton joined LWCC in 1993 as a premium audit technical specialist. She advanced to premium audit supervisor, then became insurance operations analyst and business analyst before serving as project coordinator for LWCC’s Project Management Office. She previously worked at two other local insurance companies. Mouton is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and holds Project Management Professional and Associate Premium Auditor designations.
Trey Lowack joined North Texas-based independent insurance and financial services brokerage firm Higginbotham & Associates as a property/casualty account executive.
Lowack has 12 years of experience in sales and marketing. He will be based in the firm’s Dallas office. Lowack was most recently a producer at Lockton Companies with a focus on middle market companies in Austin and Dallas. He also previously worked with Bowne & Co. Inc., a shareholder and marketing communications services firm with a Dallas office.
Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon named Lori Joubert Cherry to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs where she will manage public relations activities for the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
Cherry has worked as a communications, grassroots, and PAC consultant, specializing in strategic planning, implementation, and volunteer coordination for both corporate and non-profit legislative advocacy campaigns.
For the past 10 years, Cherry was in-house grassroots manager for Southwest Airlines. Prior to her work at Southwest Airlines, Cherry directed state and local Republican campaigns in her home state of Louisiana. She also served in 1998 and 1999 as legislative aide to then Republican Delegation Leader and current Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon.
Former Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs Amy David resigned last month to spend more time with her family. David had worked in the position for the last 10 years.
Texas-based retail insurance and managing general agency, The Woodlands Financial Group Inc. (TWFG), has opened six additional branch locations.
A new office in Houston is led by Jerome Magana, who has more than 17 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Magma got his start in the family business where his mother was and is a Farmers Insurance agent. He also founded and was president of Stewart Specialty Insurance Services.
Jesse Montez opened another new location in Houston. Montez has more than three years of experience in the insurance industry, all of which were with Farmers.
Steve Eitelman manages a new branch location in Hallsville, Texas. Eitelman has 33 years’ experience in the insurance industry, most of which were with Allstate.
Patti Broussard has opened up a new branch location in Lumberton, Texas. Broussard comes to TWFG with more than nine years in the insurance industry, most of which were with State Farm.
A new office in McKinney, Texas, is led by Don Sturm, who has more than 24 years’ experience in the insurance industry, all of which were with Farmers.
Jeff Carelli opened an office in Ventura, Calif. He has worked in the insurance industry for a year. Previously, he was an executive in the telemarketing industry.
Insurer Zurich has expanded its presence in the U.S. energy casualty insurance market by adding two new executives to its Commercial Energy Casualty business unit.
Greg Cropp is vice president of Energy Excess Casualty, responsible for oversight and management for the umbrella practice strategy and accountability for production, profitability, and compliance of the energy umbrella practice.
He joins the Energy Excess Casualty team after nearly seven years with AIG, where he recently served as senior vice president, Global Marine and Energy Excess Casualty. Prior to AIG, he served for 17 years at Chubb with roles including Mid-Atlantic region manager and Affinity Program marketing underwriter.
Marie Gwin was named vice president of Energy Primary Casualty, responsible for oversight and management for the primary casualty practice strategy and accountability for production, profitability, and compliance of the energy primary casualty practice.
Gwin has been with Zurich for nearly 28 years. She began as an underwriter in commercial insurance, and recently served as vice president and chief underwriting officer for Energy Casualty.
Liberty International Underwriters has restructured its U.S. Specialty Casualty unit.
Carl Pursiano is now chief underwriting officer, U.S. specialty casualty and senior vice president. Trevor Howard is senior vice president of U.S. management liability. Christopher DePuy is senior vice president in charge of lawyers professional liability, and accountants professional liability. Georges Pigault is vice president of architects and engineers. Michael Auerbach is vice president of allied health and miscellaneous programs. Mark Blankenship is assistant vice president of architects and engineers in Chicago.