April 7, 2008

Patrick G. Ryan, founder and executive chairman of the largest insurance intermediary, Aon Corp., said he intends to retire from Aon effective Aug. 1, 2008.

“After 41 years as CEO and three years as executive chairman, it is time to retire from active involvement. I will of course continue to be a dedicated and interested shareholder,” he said.

Ryan said the firm’s transition to a new management team under CEO Greg Case is complete.

Ryan, 70, founded Aon, which has its origin in a small insurance agency he started in 1964. That agency eventually became Ryan Insurance, a firm focused on a strategy of providing advice, consulting services and distribution of insurance products to the automotive industry.

In 1978, Ryan Insurance purchased the insurance brokerage subsidiaries of Esmark Corp., expanding into risk management services for commercial and industrial clients. In 1982, following a merger with Combined Insurance Co. of America, the company acquired Rollins Burdick Hunter, then the seventh largest insurance broker. The company continued to expand through organic growth and acquisition, and in 1987 changed its name to Aon Corp. Through the late 1980s and into the 1990s the company continued its strategy of acquisition. Today Aon operates with more than 500 offices in 120 countries generating revenues in excess of $7 billion.

Ryan will continue as chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University, and as chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016, the effort to bring the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games to Chicago.

XL Capital Ltd. has named Michael S. McGavick as its next chief executive officer. He joins XL on May 1, succeeding Brian M. O’Hara, XL’s CEO for the last 13 years, who previously announced he would retire by mid-2008.

McGavick’s appointment is subject to immigration approval from the Government of Bermuda. He served as president and CEO of the Seattle-based Safeco Corp. from January 2001 to December 2005.

Prior to joining Safeco, McGavick spent six years with the Chicago-based CNA Financial Corp., where he held various senior executive positions before becoming president and chief operating officer of the company’s largest commercial insurance operating unit. He also served for two years as director of the American Insurance Association’s Superfund Improvement Project. Most recently McGavick ran unsuccessfully in Washington for a seat in the U.S. Senate

Jim Bennett has been promoted to director of market investigations for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Bennett joined the OIR in October 2004 when he initially served as senior attorney. He was promoted to executive senior attorney in August 2007 and then served as the chief assistant general counsel for the OIR’s market investigations unit. Prior to joining the OIR, Bennett worked as a partner at Frier & Bennett, P.A. where he handled commercial litigation and bankruptcy filings. He also served for 12 years as a trial attorney with the Office of the U.S. Trustee. Bennett replaces Sam Binnun.

Florida-based Allstate Workplace Division, a subsidiary of The Allstate Corp., has appointed W. Wayne Watkins, as executive vice president for sales and distribution. Watkins will oversee all the sales operations of the company, including the distribution of Allstate Workplace Division products through both the Allstate and independent agency channels.

New jersey-based The Marquis Agency has named Shawn Young and James Konzelmann to senior positions in its newly expanded transportation practice. Marquis is a business unit of NIP Group, and operates in all 50 states except Alaska.

Young, a 20-year veteran of insurance industry, will serve as senior vice president and head of the practice. He served previously as vice president of casualty brokerage for Mercator Risk Services.

Konzelmann wil serve as vice president of the transportation practice group. He has 25 years experience in the industry, and most recently served as regional vice president for Velocity Express Inc., a transportation and logistics firm.

The Leavitt Group has named Gregory L. Gates a senior executive in the organization. Gates will provide support, working with affiliated agencies located in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.

Prior to joining LGE, Gates was president of The Mahoney Group, a large agency group headquartered in Phoenix. He also served as executive vice president of the Southwest region for Talbot, now Hub International, and president of Acordia of Minnesota and Acordia of Illinois. He has been in the insurance industry for 32 years.

New York-based specialty insurer Hiscox USA has hired Lisa Zanotelli and Derek Rogers to develop and underwrite stand-alone kidnap and ransom insurance coverage.

The two have a combined 30 years experience in kidnap and ransom insurance coverage. Zanotelli is the former executive vice president of Willis’ special contingency risks practice, and Rogers was senior vice president for Willis’ special contingency risks practice. In those roles, the two provided clients with unique expertise as the only insurance brokers focused solely on kidnap and ransom insurance in North America.

Before joining Willis, Zanotelli led operations for AIG’s crisis management division in North America for security related products such as kidnap and ransom, product tampering, work place violence and terrorism.

Rogers was the underwriting manager for the U.S. Northeast region and Canada for the same division. The coverage will be written on an admitted basis through Hiscox USA’s two New York locations in Armonk and Manhattan.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has appointed Joseph H. Wehrle, Jr., as senior vice president and chief operating officer.

He most recently served as a president of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group. Prior to his responsibilities at USAA, Wehrle completed a 33-year career in the Air Force, rising to the rank of lieutenant general. He served in various leadership positions with the U.S. Air Force and retired in 2003 as the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff.

Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill. the NICB is a nonprofit dedicated to preventing insurance fraud and vehicle theft.

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Insurance Journal West April 7, 2008
April 7, 2008
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