People & Places

April 6, 2021

Global insurance and professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Cos. announced that Nzinga Shaw has joined the company as chief inclusion and diversity officer, effective February 16.

Shaw most recently served as Starbucks Coffee Co.’s global chief inclusion and diversity officer. Prior to Starbucks, she was the chief diversity and inclusion officer for the Atlanta Hawks, the first role of its kind in the National Basketball Association.

Shaw will report to Carmen Fernandez, the company’s chief people officer.

AXA XL has appointed Matthew V. O’Malley as U.S. country manager.

In October 2020, AXA XL launched a new operating model that included a new zone structure in the U.S. In the new structure, O’Malley was appointed AXA XL’s East U.S. zone leader. O’Malley now extends his responsibilities as U.S. country manager, assuming broader oversight of AXA XL’s collective business activity in the U.S. insurance market.

During his 25-year tenure in the insurance industry, O’Malley has held numerous underwriting and management positions. Most recently, he led AXA XL’s North America environmental insurance business for eight years, and later, took on the underwriting management responsibility of its excess and surplus casualty business. He will report to Joe Tocco, CEO of AXA XL’s Americas region.

Core Assurance Partners Inc. has named Zack Brandau as the organization’s president and Will Russell as vice president.

Brandau will continue to lead the firm’s daily operations and drive strategic growth initiatives. He is a founding principal of the firm. Brandau succeeds Doug Russell, who served as president from 2017 until February 2021.

Russell will continue to serve his clientele while also developing new partnerships and creative solutions for the firm, notably in the maritime, construction and real estate industries.

AHT Insurance, a Baldwin Risk Partner, has announced that Partner Brian Schermerhorn was recently elected as chairman of TechAssure Association Inc., a consortium of independent insurance agents and brokers who focus on technology-related risks and have expertise in technology, life sciences and cleantech industries.

As chairman, Schermerhorn will work directly with TechAssure committee chairs and strategic alliances to ensure that the association’s goals and objectives are reached. He has more than 23 years of experience in the insurance industry, 11 of which was with AHT, and serves as a leader for AHT’s Technology Practice Group. He has been involved with TechAssure since 2012.

In this role, he will continue to share his knowledge with TechAssure members and fellow leaders.

Reliance Partners, a privately-held commercial insurance agency for the transportation and logistics industry, has promoted Missi Shelton to vice president of customer service for National Accounts.

Shelton will lead Reliance’s National Accounts customer service division, focusing on the agency’s largest transportation and logistics clients. According to Chief Operating Officer Laura Ann Howell, Shelton has worked to help grow the National Accounts division.

Shelton joined Reliance Partners’ customer service team in 2016, bringing with her more than 17 years of insurance experience. Prior to Reliance, she spent the majority of her career in sales and customer service in the commercial insurance industry.

Reliance Partners has locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Birmingham, Alabama, Chicago, Illinois, Austin, Texas, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sacramento, California, and Tampa, Florida, with a national client base largely concentrated in the transportation and logistics space.

McGriff’s Tommy Ebner, leader of the company’s oil and gas practice and former president and CEO of McGriff, Seibels & Williams Inc., and Doug Hodo, McGriff’s regional insurance president in the West region, are retiring from the company after 28 and 25 years, respectively.

The retirements took place during the first quarter, although exact dates are flexible to allow for a smooth transition. Transition plans are now underway, with new appointments to the positions to be announced soon.

McGriff Insurance Services Inc. and McGriff, Seibels & Williams Inc., the retail insurance subsidiaries of BB&T Insurance Holdings, rebranded the businesses to McGriff last year. The consolidated McGriff organization includes more than 130 offices across the U.S., with more than 3,800 teammates. It is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. McGriff is a full-service insurance broker providing risk management and insurance solutions to clients across the U.S.

The Villages Insurance Partners has added Alexis Ball-Sheats to its team of personal lines risk consultants. Ball-Sheats will be one of three licensed risk consultants at the agency’s Mulberry Grove location specializing in home, auto and golf car policies.

Prior to joining The Villages Insurance Partners, Ball-Sheats began her career in 2018 at Allstate as a receptionist and worked her way up in sales to eventually become the lead producer at her office. Ball-Sheats then joined The Villages Insurance Partners in September 2020 and has completed its training program for risk consultants.

The Villages Insurance has eight locations and provides insurance and risk management to more than 40,000 families and businesses in and around The Villages, Florida, community.

Cassie Brown has been reappointed as commissioner of Workers’ Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for a term set to expire on Feb. 1, 2023.

Brown has led the division of Workers’ Compensation since June 2018. Previously, she served as deputy commissioner for Regulatory Policy at the Texas Department of Insurance.

Dallas-based Swingle Collins & Associates has named Collin Brence as the agency’s newest shareholder. Brence is the youngest individual to earn the shareholder title in the agency’s 39 years.

He joined Swingle Collins as a commercial producer in 2015. As a commercial lines coverage specialist (CLCS), Brence and his team have developed an expertise in the technology, staffing, manufacturing, wholesale/distribution and construction markets.

Risk Placement Services (RPS), the E&S wholesale broker, managing general agency and program administrator, has appointed Joe Clifford to lead its self-insured workers’ compensation programs in Michigan within its RPS Signature Programs division. Clifford has spent his entire insurance career in Michigan self-insured workers’ compensation program administration. In his new role, Clifford is responsible for the general oversight and management of seven Michigan self-insured funds currently under RPS management.

RPS Signature Programs is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and is a division of RPS.

Great American Insurance Group, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has promoted Jason M. Cohen to divisional group president within its Property & Casualty Group.

Cohen will continue as the divisional president of Strategic Comp, a provider of workers’ comp insurance, and assume reporting responsibilities for the Alternative Markets and Public Sector Divisions. Cohen joined Great American in 2006 as divisional vice president and claims counsel within Corporate Claims. In 2008, he joined Strategic Comp as divisional vice president and led the division’s geographic expansion. In 2016, he assumed the role of divisional president of Strategic Comp.

Brett Musser has joined AXA XL as the Central U.S. Zonal Marine product leader.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Musser will also serve as marine liabilities product manager, focused on developing tailored insurance solutions for specialized marine businesses. Musser joins AXA XL from CAN, where he was an ocean marine zone product director and built out a national marina and boat dealer program. He brings more than 15 years of marine underwriting experience to AXA XL’s U.S. marine team.

AXA XL’s Global Marine business provides insurance for clients with special coverage needs for their marine exposures, including inland marine, ocean cargo, blue and brown water hull, protection and indemnity, as well as excess and primary marine liabilities. Risks are written on both a primary and an excess of loss basis.

San Francisco, Calif.-based Newfront Insurance has added Nick Pedisich as a principal and commercial insurance broker.

He joins Newfront from Gallagher, where he was the area vice president. Prior to that, he had leadership and sales roles at EPIC Insurance Brokers and Paul Hanson Partners.

Newfront has also named Lindsay Spruill-Iqbal as a principal and surety producer. Spruill-Iqbal joins Newfront from AmTrust Surety and has more than 15 years of marketing and underwriting experience within the surety industry.

Newfront is a tech-enabled insurance brokerage.

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has named Mark Morales to lead the California Department of Insurance’s Diversity Task Force, the first LGBTQ+ person named to the post.

Morales replaces Sal Peinado Jr. The CDI’s Insurance Diversity Initiative focuses on accelerating progress and equity within the insurance industry by encouraging greater diverse representation among the boards of insurance companies and increasing procurement from diverse suppliers, including businesses owned by women, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, disabled veterans and historically underrepresented communities. The task force identifies and recommends actions to the commissioner that will advance the diversity and equity goals of the Insurance Diversity Initiative.

Morales is vice president of the small business administration loan division at City National Bank, specializing in SBA financing and loan programs for diverse owned businesses. Morales is also the co-owner of Charles Jacobsen Inc., an LGBT business enterprise.

Petaluma, Calif.-based Professional Program Insurance Brokerage (PPIB) has promoted Susan Etter to president. Etter will oversee and manage all daily operations of PPIB. The move coincides with the promotion of PPIB Founder and current President Susan Preston to vice president of program development for Specialty Program Group, PPIB’s parent company. Etter has been with PPIB for 11 years, most recently as vice president of underwriting.

PPIB is a managing general underwriter specializing in solutions for emerging risks including cannabis, medi spas, e-cigarettes, tattoo shops, beauty salons, carnivals, pyrotechnics, smoke shops and permanent cosmetics.

Summit, New Jersey-based Specialty Program Group is a holding company established to acquire insurance underwriting facilities and specialty businesses throughout North America.