December 6, 2009

Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group announced that John Aschenbrenner, president of its insurance and financial services division, will retire at the end of 2009 after more than 37 years with the company.

Aschenbrenner joined The Principal in 1972 and has served in a variety of executive level positions in the organization’s insurance and accumulation businesses. He was named to his current position in 2003.

Dan Houston, president – retirement and investor services, will assume leadership of the life, health and specialty benefits businesses in addition to his current role leading the U.S. Asset Accumulation segment. His new title will be president – retirement, insurance and financial services.

Patrick Lundy has been appointed head of Energy for Zurich North America Commercial. Lundy joins Zurich from Travelers, where he held the position of vice president of Field Management & Operations for its Oil and Gas division. He previously served at AIG as vice president of Divisional Corporate Account Segment Manager for its Global Marine & Energy Excess Casualty unit.

International Excess, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, has launched a new division dedicated to crop, farm and livestock insurance, to be led by Chuck Gabel, divisional vice president of International Excess Agribusiness. Gabel has specialized in crop insurance and farm insurance for more than 20 years. Gabel also has experience managing his family’s farm operation, while at the same time sitting on the board of a local farmer’s mutual insurance carrier.

Willis Group Holdings has appointed Eric Joost as national partner, North American Specialties. In his new role, Joost will lead Willis’ client service and product development strategy across many of its industry, product and client specialties in North America.

Joost most recently served as national partner, North American Executive Risks Practice. He has held various executive roles at Willis, including Middle Market Segment leader and Client Advocacy leader. He brings 20 years of industry experience to his new role.

Christine Hoehne has joined Lockton Benefit Group as an account executive in Lockton’s International Benefit Services practice in Minneapolis, Minn.

Prior to joining Lockton, Hoehne spent eight years as an account executive for the Americas region of All Net, the international employee benefits network of the Allianz Group.

InStrategy Group, an insurance consultancy company based in Charlotte, N.C., has appointed Barbara Murphy as managing director. Murphy will lead the company’s Operations Practice. Murphy has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. She has extensive experience with leading carriers in the commercial and surplus lines segments of the business.

With offices in Charlotte, Boston and Cleveland, Ohio, InStrategy Group provides services to retailers, wholesalers, MGAs, carriers and third party providers throughout the insurance industry.

Columbus, Ohio-based national claims and risk management service provider Avizent has appointed Shirley Collinsworth to the position of claims manager for the company’s new Transportation Liability Unit.

She will be responsible for managing all aspects of claims handling, regulations, workflow systems and methodology for this new unit, which was created specifically to help existing clients in the transportation industry better manage their liability claims.

Collinsworth has 22 years of experience in the commercial transportation industry, including 13 years providing proactive oversight of complex commercial auto and general liability claims, and nine years serving as a claims manager for a major national transportation organization.

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