November 30, 2008

Peter Lauve, of Abilene, Texas, has been named president of Texas-based Insurors Group.

As Insurors Group president, Lauve, also a partner with CBS Insurance located in Abilene, will lead a network of Texas agents that recently was ranked as the 32nd largest independent insurance agency in the nation by Insurance Journal.

Safeco Insurance and America First Insurance, both Liberty Mutual Agency Markets companies, announced key management appointments in personal and commercial lines operations for the central United States region.

Richard E. Meuret has been named vice president, Safeco Insurance, and Central regional general manager. Meuret will be based in Richardson, Texas, and will be responsible for profit and growth throughout Safeco’s six-state Central territory. Most recently, Meuret was manager of Field Operations Analysis for Agency Markets, and was previously vice president and senior actuary for America First Insurance.

Joining Safeco’s Central personal lines field operations as region managers and reporting to Meuret are: Rosolino G. Curcuru, representing Kansas and Missouri; Myrna L. Estrada, representing northern Texas; John B. Fox, representing Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma; and Trent L. Oberholtzer, representing southern Texas.

America First Insurance appointed Kevin J. Link and Kevin J. Stockton, both formerly with Safeco, as regional vice presidents for commercial lines operations. Link will represent the St. Louis region and Stockton will represent northern Texas.

They join existing regional vice presidents Michael S. Hughes, who represents the newly-established Arkansas and Oklahoma region, and Keith D. Thompson, who represents the new Louisiana and southern Texas region.

America First Insurance also appointed Luke Bills as assistant vice president for Sales and Marketing in the north Texas region.

The Agency Markets business unit’s personal lines will be sold under the Safeco brand. America First Insurance will be the exclusive provider of commercial lines business in its six-state territory.

Farmers Group Inc., a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services Group, has promoted Paul Hopkins to chairman of the board. In addition, Hopkins will assume responsibilities overseeing Zurich’s Latin America operations. Previously, Hopkins was CEO.

Bob Woudstra, formerly president and chief operating officer, succeeds Hopkins as Farmers Group CEO.

Hopkins joined Farmers in 1978 as an agent and subsequently became a Farmers employee where he held positions of increasing responsibility in the sales and marketing areas. Woudstra has given 35 years of service to Farmers and to Foremost Insurance Co. He joined Foremost Corp. of America in 1973 as controller.

XL Insurance, the global insurance operations of XL Capital Ltd., has named Donald R. Allard as leader of its Select Professional group. Allard is based in Dallas.

Allard previously served as senior vice president, Miscellaneous Professional Liability. In his new role, he will oversee Select Professional’s E&O insurance business for small and mid-size professional service firms, including lawyers, consultants, third party administrators, ad agencies, franchisers, real estate agents, insurance agents, technology companies and non-medical service providers.

Allard is a 24-year insurance industry professional who helped establish XL Insurance’s Select Professional unit when he joined the company in 2003. Prior to joining XL, he held underwriting and management positions at Kemper, Transatlantic Re, CNA and Great American.

Austin, Texas-based specialty physician liability insurer Medicus Insurance Co. appointed Mark D. Johnson as vice president and chief financial officer. Johnson succeeds Gerald Whelply.

Prior to joining Medicus, Johnson served as interim CFO and director of business analysis for New Mexico workers’ compensation insurer New Mexico Mutual Group. He began his insurance career as a staff accountant for Republic Western Insurance Co.

GeoVera Insurance reported that David P. Rowe joined the company as Texas state executive for its homeowners business. GeoVera introduced its homeowners HO-B product in Texas in 2006. Rowe will be responsible for managing the marketing of the product through independent agents and ensuring that the company continues to strengthen its position in Texas.

Rowe began his insurance career in 1983 and has held various marketing and management positions with both companies and agencies in Texas.

Reno, Nev.-based Employers appointed Regina Harris to vice president of operations for its strategic markets region. She previously served at Employers as vice president, Project Management Office.

Harris, who has more than 22 years of insurance experience, began her career as a policy typist for the Texas-based Highlands Insurance Co. She also has held previous positions with American Governmental Risk and Insurance Programs, and with the Texas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund.

The Insurance Council of Texas Education Foundation has awarded $28,000 in academic scholarships to 14 students of insurance at Texas universities.

ICT Education Foundation scholarships were awarded to University of North Texas students Rachel Alexander-Lindsey, Bryce Kearney, Jared Doughney, Raymond Tate and Rachel Somerford.

University of Texas at Austin scholarship recipients are Alyce Arnick, Shuo-Li Chuang, Callie Hanks and Amie Sun.

Baylor University scholarship recipients are Tim Hartland, Ian Nelsen, Katherine Geyer, Gabriel Aulestia and Mitchell Hopper.

Dennis Marvin, vice president of Ocean Marine for Max Specialty, was elected chairman of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU). He succeeds Richard J. Decker, president of AIG Global Marine.

Marvin has been in the marine insurance industry since 1976 when he was a management trainee at the Marine Office of America Corp.

The Insurance Marketing and Communications Association (IMCA) named Richard Look as president. He is a marketing communications veteran with both agency and insurance company experience, and currently serves as vice president of marketing communications for Inventure Inc., a privately owned insurance services company based in West Chester, Pa.

Other appointed IMCA 2008/2009 officers and directors are: Executive Vice President Linda Collins of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; Vice President Randall Clinger of SwissRe; Vice President Mitch Dunford of Insurance Journal; Past President at Large Reg Pierce of Bailey Brand Consulting.

IMCA also appointed three new board members: Zdenka Melnyk of Manitoba Public Insurance, Krista Winters of American Modern Insurance Group and Mark Friedlander of Main Street America Group.

The Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) has honored Kevin M. LaCroix with its 2008 PLUS Founders Award and John J. Degnan with its 2008 PLUS1 Award.

LaCroix is a partner in OakBridge Insurance Services, of Beachwood, Ohio, and an Insurance Journal columnist. OakBridge is an insurance intermediary focused exclusively on management liability issues. LaCroix has been involved in directors’ and officers’ liability insurance issues for more than 25 years.

Degnan, vice chairman and chief operating officer of The Chubb Corp., was named to his position in June 2008. He had served as chief administrative officer since 2002 and assumed the additional title of chief ethics and legal compliance officer in 2005. He has held various titles since joining Chubb & Son in 1990 as a senior vice president and general counsel.

Currently, Degnan serves on the boards of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters.

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