Stonemark has announced the hiring of Brooke Bouy as vice president and Teal Christiansen as associate account executive. Bouy and Christiansen, who join Stonemark with more than 20 years of combined experience in premium financing, will oversee relationships with retail brokers and agents throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia. As an independently owned and operated organization, Stonemark is uniquely equipped to finance a range of policies across personal and commercial lines. This includes sectors of increasing complexity, such as Cannabis, which bank-owned entities do not finance.
Martin DeVaney has joined the staff of Hull and Company and Peachtree Special Risk Brokers as a broker. DeVaney has 10 years of experience in the insurance industry, most recently working as an underwriter in the New Orleans office of Bass Underwriters Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree of finance and accounting from Birmingham Southern University. DeVaney started his career as an accountant in Mobile, Alabama, a job he held for four years before transitioning to the insurance industry. DeVaney holds an AINS (Associate in Insurance) designation. He can be reached at email@example.com or 504-613-5361.
SafePoint Insurance has announced the hiring of Debbie Lee as Louisiana Branch Manager. Lee brings with her 30-plus years of property and casualty commercial and personal lines experience on the agency, broker and carrier sides of the business. Lee is the current president of The Insurance Professionals of Greater New Orleans. She serves on the board of directors for Property Insurance Association of Louisiana and is involved in the BIG I and PIA of Louisiana. Lee is a native of New Orleans. SafePoint Insurance recently assumed the book of business of Americas Insurance Company where Lee was vice president of marketing and underwriting, office manager and creative director. Previously she worked on the agency side of the business and owned an agency which merged with MB Insurance Agency. Lee is a 1989 graduate of Phillips Junior College.
Billy Pinson, president of Tapco Underwriters, a division of CRC Group, passed away unexpectedly June 9 at age 61. Pinson began his career with Tapco in March 1987 and was a leading force in the insurance industry for more than 35 years. His tireless dedication and the outstanding team he built were major factors in the success of Tapco, according to a statement by CRC Group. Pinson was truly loved by all who knew him, not only within CRC Group but across the entire industry, the company said. When people described him, they couldn’t help but smile when remembering his unfailing kindness and genuinely sweet spirit. He loved to sing and was often known to pair his signature Gucci loafers with a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. His sense of humor was never far from the surface, and his laugh brought joy to any room, the company said. “A world without Billy Pinson is a world with much less laughter, song, and joy,” Dave Obenauer, chief executive officer of CRC Group, said in a statement. West McAdams, president of CRC Binding and Pinson’s longtime friend, said, “People like Billy Pinson are the biggest reason this industry is so great. I’m going to miss him.” Pinson is survived by his wife, Susan, and his three children and many other family members.
AM Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) of Stonetrust Commercial Insurance Company and its reinsured subsidiary, Stonetrust Premier Casualty Insurance Company, the rating agency announced June 8. The companies are domiciled in Omaha, Nebraska, and are known collectively as Stonetrust Insurance Group. The rating upgrade reflects sustained improvement in the group’s overall balance sheet strength. The surplus position has been enriched consistently by income derived from underwriting activities. Loss reserve development has been consistently favorable. The emphasis put on its comprehensive claims closure strategy has materially reduced the number of open claims from older accident years. Partially offsetting these favorable attributes are elevated positions in more-volatile asset classes, marked by a common stock leverage that compares unfavorably with the composite average. However, management is expected to maintain close controls over the portfolio to mitigate potential volatility and actively monitor risk appetites and tolerances. The group’s adequate operating performance has benefited from refining the classes of business written, as well as a commitment to safety and loss prevention strategies. The group’s limited profile reflects its product and geographic concentration as a monoline workers’ compensation writer primarily in a few key states. Nonetheless, the group continues to expand geographically in an effort to improve diversification.
Wright National Flood Insurance Company announced June 14 an agreement to acquire the flood insurance policy book from United Property and Casualty Insurance Company (UPC Insurance). The transaction is expected to close on June 30, subject to approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Wright Flood will service, administer, and issue flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program for UPC Insurance policyholders and agents beginning in the third quarter of 2022. For retail agents, there will be minimal change in the process to continue to provide NFIP coverage for policyholders. Wright Flood has more than 40 years of experience exclusively in the flood insurance industry. Wright National Flood Insurance Services President Patricia Templeton-Jones said, “United Property and Casualty Company has been around since 1999 for its policyholders and agent partners. We are excited to carry on that long history and provide our experience in the flood insurance industry to create a smooth transition during this process.” Wright Flood has been a provider of NFIP flood coverage since 1983 when it was one of the first Write Your Own participants.
Milestone Partners, a private equity firm, announced May 26 the formation of a specialty auto holding company, Drive Assurance Holdings LLC, and the related acquisition of GoAuto LLC and its affiliated technology platform, Adaptive Information Technologies LLC. GoAuto is a tech-focused, vertically integrated personal auto insurance platform providing low-limit policies through its managing general agent and insurance carrier subsidiaries. Founded in 2009, GoAuto distributes policies direct-to-consumer online and through 70 captive store fronts. GoAuto’s dedicated balance sheet capacity allows greater value chain capture augmented by reinsurance relationships that enable an asset-light model and mitigate retained risk. GoAuto is the third largest personal auto insurer in Louisiana with growing operations in Texas, Nevada and Ohio. Milestone said in a news release that it plans to implement environmental, social and governance, equity and inclusion policies at GoAuto. Greg Tramontin, CEO and founder of GoAuto, said, “We are excited to partner with Milestone during this next stage of growth. Given their targeted sector focus on financial technology companies and robust experience in automotive financial services, we are confident that together we will continue to provide best-in-class vehicle protection products and customer service to our valued policyholders.”
Johnson and Johnson announced June 6 that it will expand its footprint into Texas and Oklahoma by acquiring the assets of the wholesale brokerage and binding and managing general underwriting units of Midlands Management Corporation. Midlands is a wholly owned subsidiary of Safety National Casualty Corporation. The parties expect the transaction to close April 29. Founded in 1990, Midlands’ WB&B and MGU units focus on specialty lines of coverage for both personal and commercial lines of business on an admitted and non-admitted E&S basis. Founded in 1930, Johnson and Johnson is a fourth generation, family-owned managing general agency based in Charleston, South Carolina. “All Midlands’ business outside of these units, including excess workers’ compensation and related primary workers’ compensation, specialty programs and claims administration, are not part of the transaction and will continue to operate under the Midlands name as a Safety National entity,” said Duane Hercules, president of Safety National. Louisiana is among the 20 states to which Johnson and Johnson provides E&S markets, standard markets and premium financing. In addition, Johnson and Johnson offers Private Flood and certain Program Business nationwide.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 42,915 died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, a 10.5 percent increase from 38,824 fatalities in 2020. This is the highest single-year number killed on U.S. roads since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase NHTSA reported. The number of pedestrians killed last year increased 13 percent to 7,342, the highest since 1981, and the number of bicyclists killed, 985, up five percent over 2020, was the highest since 1975. Fatalities in police-reported, alcohol-involvement crashes were up five percent. With 976 estimated fatalities, Louisiana-only statistics showed a 17.9 percent increase in estimated 2021 fatalities over 2020.