Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama’s choice for secretary of health and human services.

Sebelius, 60, is seen as a solid choice to head HHS because as a governor responsible for the Medicaid program in Kansas, she faced the pressure of rising health care costs directly, and saw how hard it is to expand coverage, particularly in bad economic times.

She is also familiar with the insurance industry. Before becoming governor, she served as insurance commissioner, and her fellow state commissioners selected her to be national president of their association.

The Kansas governor was an early Obama supporter and a finalist for Obama’s ticket before he picked Joe Biden for vice president. Her name had been floated for several Cabinet posts, but she removed herself from consideration in December, citing Kansas’ budget problems that needed her attention.

Kate Westover, vice president of Alternative Risk Financing at Innovative Captive Strategies, has received the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA). Based in Colchester, Vermont, Westover has 20 years experience in the captive insurance industry and has published two books on the subject. At ICS, she consults on captive structuring for clients, brokers and reinsurers. Innovative Captive Strategies, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, specializes in captive insurance and alternative risk management programs.

Associated Agencies Inc. based in Rolling Meadow, Illinois, named Max “Skip” Schrayer as president. Schrayer also serves as president of Auto and Home Insurance Agency in Downers Grove.

As president of these two companies, he oversees every aspect of commercial and personal insurance for individuals and businesses — small and large, for-profit and non-profit — nationwide.

Associated Agencies Inc. has been in business for nearly 120 years and now serves y 15,000 clients nationwide. Its affiliate, Auto and Home Insurance Agency, is the largest privately-owned personal lines insurance agency in Illinois.

Brian Deitz has been named partner at the industry advisor Reagan Consulting, announced CEO Robert Reagan.

Deitz joined the Atlanta-based insurance agency consulting firm in 2006 and has focused on agency/broker mergers, acquisitions and valuations. Prior to joining Reagan, Deitz spent four years working in mergers and acquisitions for The Home Depot, leading valuation exercises and due diligence processes. Prior to that position, he worked in investment banking for Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in Baltimore.

Former North Dakota Highway Patrol superintendent Bryan Klipfel has been named the state’s new workers compensation director by Gov. John Hoeven.

It’s the governor’s first hire since North Dakota voters decided last November the governor should have power to hire the director of Workforce Safety and Insurance. Before, an appointed board of directors had the authority.

Klipfel succeeds interim director Bruce Furness. The agency has not had a permanent director since Sandy Blunt was dismissed in December 2007.

USG Insurance Services Inc., a national wholesale broker of commercial insurance headquartered in Tampa, Fla., has promoted Andy Jones to senior underwriter at its Michigan branch. Jones was a manager for four years with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and began as an underwriter with USG Insurance in 2005. Jones said he is focused on developing 12 to 15 core agents and writing all types of accounts regardless of premium size. He is striving for at least $100,000 in new business per month. The Michigan branch is one of 11 USG offices.

Hiscox is now offering inland marine insurance to the U.S. market and has hired Steve Silverman to lead this initiative. Hiscox said it will be underwriting both individual risks inland marine risks and programs.

Silverman, vice president, joined Hiscox from American International Group’s Lexington Insurance, where he was most recently assistant vice president and product line manager for Inland Marine and Specialty Property business in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining Lexington, Silverman spent most of his career with Aetna Casualty & Surety.

He is joined by Randi Glazer, assistant vice president, who joins Hiscox from the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., where she was the Inland Marine manager for the New York region. During the course of her career Glazer has held positions with CNA, Chubb, Swiss Re America and the Catlin Group.

Willis HRH, the North American business of Willis Group Holdings, reported that David Finnis has been named executive vice president and national property practice leader, effective immediately. Finnis, who joins Willis HRH from Integro Insurance Brokers, will report to Leslie Nylund, chief placement officer for North America and a national partner for Willis HRH. He will be based in Atlanta.

Finnis will lead the company’s property practice in North America, including its property placement operations in London and Bermuda.

Finnis has 25 years of experience in the design, marketing and servicing of complex property insurance programs for Fortune 1000 clients. Prior to joining Willis HRH, he was managing principal at Integro, sharing responsibility for the broker’s U.S. property practice. He joined Integro in 2005 after serving as director, Southeast Property, for Aon in Atlanta from 1996. Earlier, he held leadership roles in the property brokerage units at Johnson & Higgins and Marsh & McLennan, both in New York.