December 5, 2010

Frost Insurance in Austin, Texas promoted Sheri Smyth to vice president of personal lines. Smyth, a 23-year insurance industry veteran, manages the personal lines department’s growth and retention efforts, and implements strategic programs and best practices at the Austin branch of the Texas-based financial services company.

Managing general agency and surplus lines wholesaler U.S. Risk Insurance Group Inc. named Elizabeth Wafer a senior broker. She will work with Ann Meyer, senior broker, in the Houston office. Wafer brings with her 22 years experience in wholesale brokerage specializing in hard-to-place property, casualty, inland marine and energy business.

U.S. Risk Insurance Group Inc. is a specialty lines underwriting manager and wholesale broker headquartered in Dallas. Operating 12 domestic and international branches, it offers a range of products and services through its affiliate companies, which include U.S. Risk Underwriters, U.S. Risk Brokers, Lighthouse Underwriters LLC, Professional Claims Managers, Omnisure Consulting Group, Oxford Insurance Brokers Ltd. (London), Goss Reinsurance Brokers LLC, and NovaPro Risk Solutions LP.

Rene Luis Diaz joined El Paso, Texas-based insurance brokerage and risk management firm JDW Insurance as an account executive in the JDW Commercial Lines Division. He was previously employed as a branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank.

Diaz is a member of La Red Mexico-El Paso, an organization of professionals and community leaders advancing the cultural values of Hispanics residing in this region.

Laura Marie Duos of Lake Charles, La., was selected as the 2010 recipient of the Stephen W. Cavanaugh Scholarship, established by Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. (LWCC). Duos is a graduate student at McNeese State University, pursuing an MBA.

LWCC established the Stephen W. Cavanaugh Scholarship Fund in 2006 in honor of Cavanaugh’s leadership and lasting contributions to the insurance industry in Louisiana. He was LWCC’s CEO from the company’s inception in 1992 until 2006, the year he died.

Duos earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from McNeese State University. She is vice president of alumni relations and fundraising chairwoman for the McNeese chapter of Delta Sigma Pi international business fraternity. She is also involved in the International Business Club as well as the Student of Leadership Advisory Council for the Dean.

The scholarship fund, administered by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, provides financial assistance to deserving Louisiana students who are majoring in an insurance-related field at a Louisiana university, college or community college. Founding donors of the fund include Aubrey T. Temple Jr.; Community Foundation of Acadiana; Dwight Andrus Insurance Agency; Guy Carpenter & Co. LLC; Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana; Knox Insurance Group LLC; Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp.; LUBA Casualty Insurance Co.; Star Service Inc.; and Wright & Percy Insurance.

IMA of Texas Inc., a retail insurance broker and risk management firm based in Dallas, added three new directors of client service.

Drew Lambert joined IMA as director of client services and integrated health and benefits consultant. William Spain and Jeff Strahan came on board as directors of client service focusing on property and casualty insurance.

Lambert comes to IMA from a regional insurance brokerage in Arkansas. At IMA, he will help clients design employee benefits strategies and programs that support the client’s goals, culture and bottom line.

Spain and Strahan will advise property and casualty insurance clients in developing effective risk management and insurance strategies. Spain has nearly 30 years of insurance experience, and Strahan has nearly 15 years of insurance experience in Texas.

RSI International Inc., a Texas-based managing general agency, announced that Robin James joined its Commercial Underwriting Department in Arlington. She will be a commercial underwriter at RSI and will work directly with Kari Nelson’s team focusing on renewal business.

James joins RSI after relocating to Texas from Goldsboro, N.C., where she spent the majority of her insurance career with the Strickland Insurance Group. She has more than 10 years of experience in the excess and surplus lines industry on both the company side and managing general agency side, both with Atlantic Casualty Insurance Co. and Strickland Insurance Brokers Inc.

RSI International Inc. is a privately owned managing general agency with offices in Arlington, Texas, and St. Louis, Mo. The company is celebrating its 24th year of service in Texas.

Houston-based HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. promoted Jonathan Lee to vice president and treasurer. Lee has been with HCC for almost 15 years and has held financial positions with the company, most recently as assistant treasurer, director of investor relations and director of M&A.

HCC Insurance also hired Frank Pedicini and Frank Argondizzo to lead the company’s new technical property division based in New York. Combined, the two bring more than 52 years of experience in underwriting technical property risk at companies such as Starr Technical Risks Agency and ACE Ltd.

The technical property division will further expand the HCC Insurance’s specialty focus by extending its underwriting activities more deeply into the onshore energy, utility, chemical and heavy manufacturing industries, the company said.

Ace USA, the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group, announced that Kelley Kinsella was appointed senior vice president and zonal executive. Based in Chicago, Kinsella will oversee the Western Zone, including the Northwest, Western, Midwest, Southwest, and Houston regions.

With more than 25 years of experience at ACE USA and an ACE predecessor company, Kinsella most recently served as senior vice president and chief operating officer for the ACE USA Midwest Region.

Aon Corp. reported that Andrew Appel, the firm’s chief operating officer, will be leaving the company at the end of the year. The company said that at the present time there are no plans to fill the chief operating officer position upon Appel’s departure.

Appel has held multiple roles in the firm during the past five years, including with Aon Consulting and Aon Benfield as CEO, and more recently as chief operating officer of Aon. Greg Case, Aon president and CEO, said Appel is leaving the firm to pursue additional challenges.

Celebrating 25 years of insuring progress, the ACE Group provides insurance and reinsurance.

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