December 17, 2018

Reliance Partners, which specializes in commercial insurance, added Brandon Richards as chief sales officer and opened a new office in Austin, Texas.

Richards is a veteran insurance professional with more than 17 years in the commercial transportation insurance space.

Prior to his insurance career, Richards served in the U.S. Army for six years in Texas, Virginia, Kentucky and Bosnia.

Reliance Partners, headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said it plans to rapidly expand its team in Austin, adding 50 employees in the next 36 months.

In addition to Austin, the company also has regional locations in Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago; Vero Beach, Florida, Victoria, Texas; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

McClelland & Hine Managing General Agency, a division of Worldwide Facilities LLC, has hired Micayla Brooks as director of Business Development for its San Antonio Branch office.

Brooks has over 10 years of marketing and sales experience within the insurance advertising industry, with seven of those years focused toward serving insurance companies, law firms, major corporations and small businesses. Her reputation and marketing background have given her the ability to assist her employer, co-workers and clients in meeting and exceeding their business objectives while also identifying new strategies for the future.

Based in San Antonio, MHI began writing business there in 1982 and later expanded its operation with the opening of additional branch offices in Houston and Dallas. In October 2018, MHI was acquired by Worldwide Facilities.

MHI provides specialty and surplus lines markets for licensed insurance agents in four states, and underwriting facilities for all lines of excess and surplus lines business, including personal lines, professional liability, general liability, property, automobile/garage, workers compensation, inland marine, excess liability and miscellaneous specialty classes.

Carol Anderson joined Universal Insurance, a subsidiary of First United Bank, as an employee benefits insurance advisor in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

Operating out of First United Bank in Sapulpa, Anderson will be partnering with current bank locations and customers in northern Oklahoma and the greater Tulsa areas.

She joins First United with over 29 years of experience in employee benefits and insurance. She has previously served as an employee benefits manager for several agencies, marketing director for a life insurance company, renewal specialist for a large medical carrier, supervisor over flexible spending account record keeping, and a trust officer and supervisor.

Established in 1900, First United has more than 85 bank, mortgage and insurance locations throughout Texas and Oklahoma.

The Texas Surplus Lines Association Inc. elected Matt Leicht, owner/underwriter at the Houston-based wholesale insurance firm, Craig & Leicht, as the group’s president for the coming year.

Jennifer Mier, executive vice president with AmWINS Group in Dallas, was named vice president, and Amicia Hine, president of McClelland & Hine, a division of Worldwide Facilities LLC in San Antonio, was elected secretary/treasurer.

New TSLA directors elected to three-year terms are: Jim Bishop with Towerstone Inc. in Dallas; Kimmi Cantwell with McGowan, Donnelly & Oberheu LLC in Austin; Joe Dahlvig with Admiral Insurance Group in Austin; and Meagan Kiernan with RT Specialty in Dallas.

During TSLA’s business meeting on Nov. 12, the “Joe Howse President’s Award” was presented to both Anna Kizer with Myron Steves — chairperson of the Education Committee, and Kimmi Cantwell with McGowan, Donnelly & Oberheu LLC — chairperson of the Texans under 40 Committee.

The “Don King Committee Member of the Year” award was presented to Rhonda Flake Tucker with All Risks Ltd., Education Committee, and Gregg Cornille with Markel Mid South, Host Committee.

The Avrohm Wisenberg scholarship recipients were Mark Evans with LP Risk, who received a CIC scholarship and LaVerda Feagans withTexas All Risk General Agency Inc., who received a CISR scholarship. They each received a one-part scholarship for one institute. In addition, both recipients will receive a $100 cash prize, once their course is completed, from TSLA. The scholarships are donated to TSLA each year by The National Alliance.

Bob Simpson has joined EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants in Houston as director, Communications and Engagement (C&E), to lead EPIC’s C&E practice nationally.

Simpson’s responsibilities will include providing strategic and tactical direction for all employee benefits client communication engagements. Simpson will further expand EPIC’s offerings related to strategic consulting, writing, and creative/design services, and broaden the scope of existing communications services related to HR, change management and engagement initiatives.

Prior to joining EPIC, Simpson spent three years in the Houston office of Willis Towers Watson, where he was director of Change Management and Communication.

Simpson has been a member of the International Association of Business Communicators since 2015.

EPIC is a retail property/casualty and employee benefits insurance brokerage and consulting firm based in San Francisco.

Texas Associates Insurors, based in Austin, hired two new account managers in its expanding Employee Benefits Division.

Esther Loaeza joins the agency with 30 years of experience in the industry. She has overseen the successful implementation and administration of more than 200 group health and specialty benefit plans. She has previous experience as an account executive, stop-loss underwriter, reinsurance claims specialist and medical claims examiner.

Lydia Rodriguez brings over 15 years of experience in the insurance industry to Texas Associates Insurors. She has been successful in servicing clients’ needs by building long term relationships and providing excellent customer support.

Texas Associates Insurors was founded in 1954, and offers insurance, employee benefits and risk management services. Texas Associates Insurors has offices in Austin and Smithville, and its affiliate NewFirst Insurors operates in El Campo and Victoria.

Dallas property/casualty insurance expert Trey Lowack joined Alliant Insurance Service’s Dallas team as vice president.

Prior to joining Alliant, Lowack was vice president with a Dallas-based regional insurance brokerage firm. He also has experience working with several large national agencies. Lowack holds a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

Alliant Insurance Services also hired Jeff Langley as a vice president in Houston.

Langley joins Alliant with a proven background advising large-to-midsized property and casualty clients across a broad array of industries. Prior to joining Alliant, Langley was a senior advisor at a large, Texas-based insurance brokerage firm, where he engaged in risk management and insurance placements for clients with regional, national, and international operations.

Langley holds a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

Alliant Insurance Services is headquartered in Newport Beach, California.