People and Places

March 6, 2006

Suhr Risk Services of California has named Patricia Coutermarsh chief operations officer. In that role, she will oversee operations from Suhr’s three Northern California branches, ensuring quality service delivery to all of its clients worldwide. Coutermarsh succeeds retiring company Chief Operations Officer, Sandra Herman.

Coutermarsh has more than 27 years of experience on the brokerage side of the business. She began her career on the East Coast, spending 14 years in sales and management capacities. In 1989, she founded her own company, Accelerated Performance Inc., serving as an independent consultant specializing in insurance industry projects. Her focus continued in the areas of operational evaluations, automation, sales and marketing. In 1993 and for the 11 years that followed, Coutermarsh headed the property and casualty operations at Calco Insurance Brokers from its main branch in San Mateo, Calif. Most recently, she spent 14 months as COO of All West Insurance Brokers.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Thoits Insurance Service Inc. has hired Anna Marie White as senior vice president. She will lead the benefits practice, consulting with existing clients and developing new business opportunities for the organization.

White has more than 20 years of benefits experience. For the past 12 years she has worked with Arthur J. Gallagher in several positions, most recently as area executive vice president. Prior to that, White held positions at Andreini and Co., Centennial Savings and Loan and Grant Thornton LLP.

Worldwide Facilities Inc. has hired Dat Nguyen as a casualty broker in its Los Angeles office. He will report to Daniel Colacurcio in Worldwide’s Construction Division. Prior to joining Worldwide, Nguyen spent more than five years with Pacific Gateway Insurance Agency, a National Indemnity Co., as a commercial casualty underwriting supervisor, working in its Construction and Transportation divisions. Prior to Pacific Gateway, Nguyen worked for Unifax Insurance Co. as a commercial property and casualty underwriter. Nguyen is in the Los Angeles office and can be reached at (213) 401-4187 or via e-mail at

Heffernan Insurance Brokers has appointed Ernest L. Kangas trade credit and political risk specialist in its Portland, Ore., office.

Kangas has more than 30 years experience in trade credit and political risk insurance. Prior to joining Heffernan, Kangas worked at Aon Corp., serving in business development and regional management. Prior to Aon, Kangas worked for the Foreign Credit Insurance Association as credit manager, then regional manager for the west and southwest, and as the national sales director.

Insurance Brokers and Agents of the West
(IBA West) recently installed new officers and directors at its 2006 Annual Business Meeting and Installation Luncheon in Los Angeles. Elected to the 2005 Executive Committee were: President – Stewart Sawyer III, vice president and actuary, director of market security for Acordia Inc. in Seattle; President-Elect – Paul F. Bystrowski of John O. Bronson Co. Inc. in Sacramento; Secretary-Treasurer – H. Scott Kerns, Bay Risk Insurance Services of Alameda, Calif.; and IIABA State National Director – Andrew J. Valdivia of White & Co. Insurance Inc. in Santa Monica, Calif.

Elected to the IBA West Board of Directors were: Northern California Regional Director – William E. Ryan of Sweet & Baker Insurance Brokers Inc. in San Francisco; Southern California Regional Director – Karen Oxman of GNW-Evergreen Insurance Services Inc. in Encino, Calif.; IBA West Director at Large – Tim Manaka of FIA Insurance Services in Pasadena, Calif.; and Returning Directors – Betsey L. Brewer of The Rule Co. in Pasadena, Richard E. Dinger of Crescenta Valley Insurance in Glendale, Calif., M. Stuart Nelson of Point West Insurance Associates in Sacramento, Clifton E. Thomas of Chubb & Son in San Francisco, and Steven J. White of Smith & Feek in Bellevue, Wash.

National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has named David M. Eppstein director of state affairs. In his new position, he will be working with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) and other national policy organizations that address insurance legislation and regulation.

Eppstein previously was a counsel to the House Committee on Financial Services. Prior to joining the Committee staff in 2001, Eppstein was legislative assistant to Rep. Robert Ehrlich, R-Md., who is now the Governor of Maryland.

PIA also has appointed two new legal project interns, Tonio D. DeSorrento and Jason Baum.
DeSorrento is pursuing a law degree at Georgetown University. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., DeSorrento served a six-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Captain.

Baum is pursuing his law degree at American University in Washington. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has filled two key management positions in the association’s government affairs office in Washington. Cheye Calvo and Brian Webb will head the NAIC’s financial and health policy and legislation teams representing NAIC members before state, federal and international groups on insurance-related matters.

Previously, Calvo served as the National Conference of State Legislatures’ senior federal liaison on financial services and transportation issues, managed the NCSL’s insurance program, and directed state legislative efforts to modernize state insurance regulation, including cooperating with the NAIC to draft, endorse and enact the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation.

Webb has worked in health policy in Washington since 1988 when he joined the office of Congressman Bill Thomas as the health legislative assistant. Webb served in that capacity when Chairman Thomas first became ranking minority member of the Ways and Means subcommittee on health.

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Insurance Journal West March 6, 2006
March 6, 2006
Insurance Journal West Magazine