Danny Kaufman, Burns and Wilcox, is among three new members that the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association recently welcomed to the WSIA board of directors. Kaufman was appointed to fill the remaining term for Joel Cavaness, Risk Placement Services, who concluded his term as immediate past president. Kaufman serves as chief operating officer of Burns and Wilcox and is executive vice president and a board member for H.W. Kaufman Group. He served on the WSIA PAC Committee prior to joining the board of directors. Also appointed were Erin Dolan, senior vice president of analytics and communications at RSUI, who was appointed as the U40 representative to the WSIA board, and Carlton Maner, CEO of AXIS U.S. Division and leader of the Global Property Practice. Dolan is immediate past president of WSIA’s U40 and is on WSIA’s Education Committee. Maner has been a member of the association’s Membership and Ethics Committee and chairs the WSIA Diversity Foundation board of directors.
Daran Hines Reeves, born Sept. 13, 1963, died on March 26 after a long and valiant fight against the COVID-19 virus. Reeves was described by friends and family as having a charismatic personality, inspiring those whose lives he touched with his positive outlook. After a stellar high school basketball career at Neville High School in Monroe, Reeves went on to play basketball at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. After college, he turned his talents to the insurance business and the Reeves, Coon and Funderburg insurance agency, which grew to include offices in Monroe/West Monroe, Shreveport, Opelousas, Alexandria and Marksville, culminating in a partnership with Origin Bank and becoming a regional agency in multiple states. Aside from his work, Reeves enjoyed forays to his hunting camp and traveling with his family. Reeves leaves behind a wife, Yvette; three sons, Thomas, Taylor and Matt; two grandchildren, Jackson and Collins; his parents; grandmother; father and mother in law, and his brother and sisters and their spouses. An immediate family-only gravesite service was held on April 1 and a celebration of his life will be held April 24 at Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Monroe.
The Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana will hold the association’s annual convention July 17-19 at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. The theme for this year’s convention is Come Gather, Breathe Easy. The Gathering Room will be open all three days: July 17, Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.; July 18, Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and July 19, Monday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration begins on July 17, 3-6 p.m., and continues July 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and July 19 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The board is scheduled to meet on July 17, 1-5 p.m., and the meeting will be followed by a Welcome Back outdoor reception. The July 18 general session will be followed by an awards luncheon, three hours of continuing education and an exhibit hall reception. July 19 begins with a Fun Run at 8 a.m. followed by two hours of continuing education and a private past presidents’ lunch. Another continuing education seminar, a YIP pool party and a family event are on tap for the afternoon. Registration is available on-line at a cost of $250 by June 18 for members and company reps who sponsor a booth, or $325 thereafter. Registration costs more for non-members and company reps who do not sponsor a booth. Fun Run participation is an additional $15 per person. Visit the PIA Convention page on PIA’s website www.piaoflouisiana.com for details on the hotel options and information about sponsorships and exhibiting. For questions, contact Coleen Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-766-7770.
The Louisiana Claims Association has scheduled the 24th annual LCA Education Conference and Expo for June 7-9 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge. The conference boasts 34 speakers on topics pertinent to the claims handling business. There are 12 CE and CLE credits available for adjusters, agents, attorneys and private investigators. The seminars are offered in three tracks. The keynote address, Planning for the Future While Knowing Where You’ve Been: The Attorney General’s Role in Evolving State Tort Litigation, will be delivered by Sonia Mallett, director of the Litigation Division, Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry. The theme for this year’s conference and expo is The Future is Now. In addition to education seminars, there will be a The Future is Now Icebreaker reception on Monday, June 7, and a Back to the Future party with exhibitors on Tuesday, June 8. The hotel has adequate space for social distancing and the cleaning protocol is in compliance with CDC guidelines. Hand sanitizers will be available throughout, and the hotel will comply with whatever requirements are in place at the time of the event. A limited number of rooms have been blocked until May 7. The convention room rate is $105. The LCA early bird registration rate is $325, which is available until April 30. The non-member early bird rate is $425. For more information, contact Linda Alwood at 225-291-2806.
LWCC announced April 1 that the company’s board of directors has declared a $94 million dividend for 2020. The dividend will be distributed to approximately 20,000 Louisiana businesses and impact more than 162,000 workers. “2020 was a challenging year. The pandemic, combined with major hurricanes, caused financial strain to businesses across the state. We believe the 2020 dividend could be our most impactful one yet as our policyholders work to recover and adapt to our current environment,” said Kristin Wall, LWCC president and CEO. With this dividend, LWCC has returned more than $1.028 billion over the last 18 years to Louisiana businesses. Since 2006, the dividend program has supported an average of $47 million in annual personal earnings and a total of 16,155 jobs, including 1,543 jobs supported by the 2020 dividend alone, according to an economic study by Dr. James Richardson. The company’s ability to make this distribution is due to safety initiatives and efforts by policyholders and agents, which led to a low incident rate, as well as continued excellence in execution by the company’s employees. Since LWCC’s inception, average rates have decreased by 61.3 percent. Payments are scheduled to be mailed on or before April 30.
Genstar Capital and Amwins Group announced in separate news releases that Genstar has completed the sale of Worldwide Facilities to Amwins Group Inc. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Amwins operates through more than 125 offices globally and handles premium placements in excess of $22 billion annually. Worldwide wrote nearly $2 billion in gross premiums in 2020 and has experienced double digit growth for the past five years. Founded in 1970, the company is headquartered in Los Angeles and has over 35 offices across the U.S. Worldwide broadens the specialty capabilities of Amwins and expands its footprint, especially on the west coast. The combined company will have more than 6,150 employees in over 155 offices across the U.S., and place in excess of $24 billion in premium annually. The Worldwide team, led by Davis Moore, will join the Amwins leadership team, while Ryan Clark of Genstar will join the board of directors of Amwins.
Headquartered in Warren, Pennsylvania, Northwest Bank, a subsidiary of Northwest Bancshares Inc., announced April 1 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its insurance business offered through Northwest Insurance Services to USI Insurance Services. Northwest Insurance Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Bank, which was founded in 1896. Northwest operates 162 full-service community banking offices and eight free standing drive-thru facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Indiana. Headquartered in Valhalla, New York, USI connects over 8,000 industry-leading professionals from approximately 200 offices to serve clients’ local, national and international needs. Commenting on the announcement, USI’s Chairman and CEO, Michael J. Sicard, said that USI looks forward to expanding its expertise throughout western Pennsylvania and western New York through the USI ONE Advantage, an interactive knowledge platform that integrates proprietary analytics, networked resources and enterprise planning to deliver truly customized solutions with material financial impact to clients. The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2021.
Hub International announced April 6 that it has acquired the assets of Plan Sponsor Consultants. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with an additional location in Birmingham, Alabama, Plan Sponsor Consultants is an independent retirement plan consulting firm offering expertise and guidance on retirement plan management for all plan types and sizes. Plan Sponsor Consultants manages $2.4 billion in assets. “Plan Sponsor Consultants joining Hub continues our expansion in the Gulf South region and our focus on expanding our retirement capabilities to round out the services we offer to clients,” said Shaun Norris, president of Hub Gulf South. Michael Kane, managing director of Plan Sponsor Consultants, and Lee Applebaum, senior vice president, both join Hub Retirement and Private Wealth in Hub Gulf South.
Bernhard Capital Partners Management, LP, a private equity management company in Baton Rouge, and The Gray Insurance Company announced March 16 that a group of investors led by Bernard Capital has entered into an agreement to make a “significant” investment in The Gray Casualty and Surety Company, Gray Insurance’s surety market affiliate. Gray Surety, established in 2003, is headquartered in Metairie and provides surety bonds to emerging and mid-market contractors. Gray Surety, with offices in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Arizona, partners with professional bond agents to provide surety bond options across the country. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Current management will continue to operate Gray Surety. Bernhard Capital was established in 2013 by former Shaw Group chief executive Jim Bernhard. Subsequent to the announcement, AM Best placed the financial strength rating of A- (Excellent) of Gray Casualty under review. The under review status with developing implications reflects the execution risks associated with the company expanding its reach and scope within its stated niches and the need for AM Best to fully assess the financial and operational impacts of the partnership, including potential benefits to Gray Casualty.
Launched in April of 2016, Security Service Insurance, an independent agency in San Antonio that is licensed in eight states, announced April 7 that it recently acquired Pace Insurance Managers LLC located in Springhill, Louisiana. The acquisition brings the Northern Louisiana agency under the umbrella of one of the largest credit unions in the country. “For more than 60 years, Pace has built upon a reputation of providing top-notch, full-service insurance coverage to the forest products industry in Northern Louisiana,” said Jim Chapman, senior vice president of Security Service Insurance. With Security Service Insurance agents located in branches throughout Texas, Colorado and Utah, this acquisition will add additional expertise in Louisiana. “Our agents and our customers are like family to us. Being able to provide them with the benefits of one of the largest credit unions in the country is incredible,” said Paula Allen Weems, vice president of Pace. “We are grateful for this opportunity and look forward to the future growth this will provide.” The transition of Pace to Security Service Insurance is underway and is expected to be a seamless process for their customers.
Higginbotham, Fort Worth, announced March 25 that it has partnered with First Louisiana Insurance in Baton Rouge to establish its second office in Louisiana. Higginbotham’s union with First Louisiana comes on the heels of an earlier partnership with an agency in Bossier City that marked the firm’s arrival in the state. The First Louisiana/Higginbotham partnership will enhance services to businesses and individuals in the Gulf Coast region. Higginbotham is expanding its footprint and increasing its service capability by partnering with other independent agencies that have strong reputations in their local markets. Partnering with First Louisiana, which was established in 1980, sets a path for further growth in the state. “We’ve expanded outside our home state of Texas by partnering with southern U.S. firms from Oklahoma to Florida,” said Higginbotham Chairman and CEO Rusty Reid. First Louisiana Insurance founder and President Jack Harless was named managing director and will continue leading First Louisiana with Executive Vice President Kase Gonzales. Harless said, “We continually look for creative ways to enhance the lives of our clients and our employees, and we were searching for a long-term strategic partner with the same focus. We were drawn by Higginbotham’s approach of giving employees ownership of the firm.”