People & Places

September 20, 2021

The Hartford appointed Claire Burns as chief marketing and communications officer, effective September 1. Burns will report directly to Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift.

She succeeds Kathleen Bromage, who is currently chief marketing and communications officer and head of the company’s Hartford Next transformation initiative. Bromage will remain in an advisory role and continue to oversee Hartford Next through the end of the year.

Most recently, Burns served as chief marketing officer for Prudential International. Prior to that, she spent more than seven years at MetLife as chief customer officer and held leadership roles at ALICO (a former subsidiary of AIG), Lincoln Financial and Aetna.

Since joining The Hartford in 2004, Bromage has held several senior leadership roles in marketing, strategy and digital. She has served as chief marketing and strategy officer for small commercial, chief marketing and strategy officer for personal lines and senior vice president of e-business.

New York-based Jencap has promoted Kathryn Smith to managing director of marketing and Paul Orlando to managing director of sales.

In their new roles, Smith and Orlando will oversee Jencap’s brand strategy and execution, corporate communications, digital strategy, sales initiatives and all associated sales and marketing efforts.

Most recently, Smith was the director of sales and marketing for affiliate company Risk Innovations. Orlando was the vice president of sales and marketing for affiliate company NIF Group.

Crawford & Company, an independent provider of claims management and outsourcing services to carriers, brokers and corporations, has appointed Jason Spencer as global president of Crawford Legal Services.

Spencer will report to Crawford President Joseph Blanco.

In his new role, Spencer is responsible for operational delivery, strategy and growth within the legal sector, and will lead Crawford’s efforts to deliver bundled and unbundled legal services for Crawford’s clients on a global scale.

Spencer joined Crawford in 2016 from private practice to set up Crawford Legal Services in the U.K.

Following the launch and growth of the U.K. legal business, Spencer assisted with Crawford’s acquisition of HBA Group in Australia. Since the recent acquisition of Crawford Carvallo in Chile, he has worked to develop Crawford’s legal capability in several other territories.

Prior to joining Crawford, Spencer held multiple leadership roles. He has been a senior partner with national and international law firms and led the development and launch of legal and business services.

Keystone Insurers Group appointed Meghan Pizzolato as its Texas state vice president.

Pizzolato most recently served as a personal insurance sales executive with Kemper in the Dallas area. There, she managed relationships with nearly 300 agencies in her respective geography, driving new business production and profitability.

Keystone is an agency partnership organization built on a community of some of independent insurance agencies. Pizzolato will help evaluate and build new agency relationships in Texas and helping them build business plans with our core carriers.

USG Insurance Services Inc., a national wholesaler and managing general agency (MGA), hired commercial lines producer/broker Greg Strickland in Houston.

Strickland joins the USG team with 12 years of experience in the industry, most recently with Burns & Wilcox in Houston. As producer/broker at USG, he will continue building his book of business and assist in the development of USG’s Southern footprint.

This move is the most recent change that USG has implemented in its plan to continue expanding its operations nationally.

MJ Insurance hired Jacob Simon as risk transfer specialist and Ryan Miller as employee benefits consultant in the company’s Indianapolis headquarters.

Simon comes to MJ from a local industry competitor, bringing a wealth of knowledge and corporate experience.

As a risk transfer specialist, Simon will develop insurance and risk management programs and maintain customer relationships. He will be responsible for client submissions and will own the marketing process while working directly with analytics, risk services and client advocacy teams.

Miller previously worked at Anthem Inc., where he served as a specialty sales executive. He possesses more than ten years of experience in the employee benefits and business consulting space.

At MJ, Miller will serve as an employee benefits consultant in MJ’s Benefits Consulting department. He will function as part of MJ’s Japanese-owned business practice, which helps MJ’s Japanese clients understand how to manage risk in the U.S. as they deal with significant differences in culture, language and laws.

Miller will be responsible for consulting with clients and potential clients to understand their business needs and demonstrate advanced knowledge of the client’s industry. He will also lead the development and execution of clients’ benefit plan strategies.

Emily Merola joined Columbus, Ohio-based Assurex Global as senior vice president of property/casualty. Merola provides growth opportunities to partners by assisting the property/ casualty practice in a sales support role. Additionally, she supports strategic initiatives for all regions and shares responsibility for carrier relationships, practice groups, and third-party strategic relationships.

With more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, Merola has held strategic positions in client and broker-facing roles from sales, underwriting, and management.

Merola was formerly a branch executive at Liberty Mutual, handling growth for 24 of the National Insurance underwriting segments in Northern Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

She also worked for other insurance brokerage firms and large national carriers, including CNA and Chubb Insurance.

The Kansas Association of Insurance Agents (KAIA) added Cristi Werth, owner of TWI Insurance Services in Wakeeny, Kansas, to its board of directors. She will serve as director-at-large.

Werth began her insurance career in 1995 when she started working for TWI and Dietz Inc. By 2000 she had become a partner.

Upon Larry Dietz’s retirement in 2017, she purchased the rest of the agency and reinstated the name TWI Insurance Services Inc.

Ladera Ranch, California-based ALKEME named Curtis Barton CEO.

Barton will be responsible for ALKEME’s operations and overall strategic vision, and he will focus on accelerating ALKEME’s growth through acquisitions nationwide as well as ALKEMEs digital organic growth platform.

Barton previously led the consolidation of six independent insurance brokerages and a wealth management firm to form ALKEME.

Western Security Surplus Insurance Brokers named Matt Merkle a senior vice president in commercial lines.

Merkle will be writing property/casualty business from WSS’ office location in Scottsdale, Arizona. He has more than 30 years of experience.

He was previously with Monarch E&S Insurance Services for 17 years. He was also president and partner of Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance Brokers.

Young will be located in California. He writes a range of classes and coverages and has 19 years of underwriting and brokerage expertise. Previous companies he’s worked for include RT Specialty, W. Brown & Associates, and Hull & Company.