December 10, 2006

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based Property Casualty Insurers Association of America announced that Deirdre Manna, former acting director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, has joined PCI as vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. Manna will help coordinate policy matters related to regulatory issues and lead the association’s activities with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Conference of Insurance Legislators and American Legislative Exchange Council.

Prior to joining PCI, Manna served as a government relations professional for Dykema Gossett PLLC in Chicago, where she worked with all branches of government. As acting director of the Illinois Division of Insurance, Manna was responsible for regulating the state’s insurance industry’s market behavior and financial solvency. She led a department with a budget of $33 million and a staff of 336. Additionally, Manna has provided expert witness and legislative testimony on insurance issues including numerous aspects of life/health and property/casualty lines. Manna also spent seven years with the American Insurance Association.

Westfield Group’s Debra Lyons, chief human resources officer, was recognized by Northern Ohio Live magazine as a 2006 Rainmakers recipient for her career achievements. Rainmakers are influential businesswomen who drive dollars into their organization, affect change in themselves and others, strive for a balanced personal and career life, and serve as a role model, mentor and magnet for people attracted to excellence. The ninth annual Rainmakers awards banquet was held on Nov. 9 at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center in Cleveland, Ohio where Lyons was honored along with other 2006 award recipients. Over her 21 year Westfield Group career, Lyons has helped create employee development programs at Westfield that emphasize growth in leadership and management training, as well as graduate development and job rotation programs and internships Lyons serves on the Human Resource Committee of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the Board of Trustees for Akron General Hospital, the Business Advisory Board of Baldwin Wallace College and the Advancement Council for the University of Akron.

The State Auto Insurance Companies named Lester Brue, currently resident vice president and branch manager of its Des Moines, Iowa, branch office, as director of Acquisition Integration. Brue has nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, the last 14 of which have been at State Auto where he has served as a field sales representative, territory manager, and most recently, branch manager. In his new role, he will guide the integration of future acquisitions, which remain a critical piece of State Auto’s corporate strategy. State Auto Insurance Companies, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, writes personal and commercial insurance products through more than 22,500 independent agents associated with approximately 3,000 agencies in 27 states.

Renee S. Lerche has been appointed to the position of vice president of human resources and communications at Farmington Hills, Mich.-based H.W. Kaufman Financial Group, parent company to national specialty insurance wholesaler, underwriter and managing general agent Burns & Wilcox.

Lerche was most recently with Sedona Consulting Group as a principal partner, serving such clients as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Visteon Corp. Previously, she served as a senior human resource executive at Ford Motor Co., where she was responsible for global education, training and development; workforce planning and workforce development; and corporate human resource strategy.

The Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana recently announced award winners including Ronald Shumaker, vice president for personal lines at The Thompson Group in Parker City, who was cited as the 2006 IIAI Young Agent of the Year Award. Shumaker was recipient of this award in 2005 as well.

Kenan Schultheis, vice president of Schultheis Insurance Agency, Inc. in Evansville, received the 2006 IIAI Harry P. Cooper, Jr., Industry/Public Image Award of the Year. The award is presented in the name of Harry P. Cooper Jr. who began his career with Indiana Farmers in 1936 and remained with that company until his death 55 years later. Cooper served as president from 1967 until 1989 at which time he became chairman of the Board.

David Clay, of Central Insurance Co. in Van Wert, Ohio received the 2006 IIAI Company Professional of the Year Award.

J. Michael Miley with Gibson Insurance Group in Plymouth, was named Agent of the Year; Patrick S. Conley received the 2006 IIAI Director of the Year Award. A principal with W.M. Regnier Insurance Services in Highland also received honors as Director of the Year.

Marcy Crabtree of The Thompson Group received the IIAI Distinguished Customer Service Representative Award.

Willis Group Holdings announced that Lloyd Esler has been appointed Energy Practice leader in North America. Located in Houston, his primary focus will be to coordinate Willis’ energy operations in Houston, Calgary and New York and to promote organic business development across the continent. He will report to Phillip Ellis, Willis Energy chairman.

For the last two years, Esler has been managing partner for Willis’ Houston operation. Prior to joining Willis in 2004, he spent five years at Marsh in various roles. He also spent eight years with Liberty Mutual in underwriting.

Toledo, Ohio-based Hylant Group, a business insurance agency, has hired Steve Stuart as a property risk senior consultant in its Troy, Mich., location. His focus at Hylant will be in the areas of loss control and property risk consulting.Prior to joining Hylant, Stuart was a vice president and senior consultant at Marsh Risk Consulting.

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