When the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association met in Orlando March 14 for its annual business meeting, the association elected new officers and directors and presented four awards for exceptional service.
Bryan Clark, president of Gorst and Compass Insurance, was elected president. Clark joined Gorst and Compass in 1997 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management from San Diego University. He became Gorst’s president in 2015. Clark was a board member of AAMGA in 2015 and became a board member of WSIA in 2017 when the two national wholesaler associations merged. He served on WSIA’s Executive Committee, most recently as vice president, chaired the Audit and Compliance Committee and served as co-chairman of the Emerging Issues and Innovation Committee and the Events Committee. Clark is also a past board member of the California Insurance Wholesalers Association.
Dave Obenauer, CEO of the CRC Group, was elected vice president. Obenauer has been with CRC since 2007, serving previously as managing director with Marsh. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a BS in business administration and management from Wake Forest University. Obenauer served on the AAMGA/NAPSLO Merger Committee, chaired the WSIA PAC Committee, and co-chaired the membership and legislative committees. He was Audit and Compliance Committee chairman and a member of the WSIA Executive Committee since 2020. CRC is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Other members of the WSIA’s Executive Committee include Secretary Brenda Ballard Austenfeld, RT Specialty; Treasurer Carlton Maner, AXIS, and Immediate Past President Davis Moore, Amwins.
Elected to the board of directors for three year terms beginning March 2022 were Gerald Dupre, Hallmark Financial; Danny Kaufman, Burns and Wilcox, and Danielle Wade, Jackson Sumner and Associates, along with officers Obenauer and Maner.
Chris Behymer, Markel, was honored with the Vincent Donahue/Charles McAlear Industry Award, the association’s highest distinction. Behymer serves as director of client education for Markel where he has been part of the team for 14 years. He holds a B.A. in risk management from the University of Wisconsin. Behymer served as a member of the legacy association and WSIA Education Committee for many years and has presented countless education programs, supporting the learning and development of thousands of industry professions. WSIA said, “His guidance to the Education Committee has prepared and will impact the association’s programing for many years to come.”
The Donahue/McAlear award is named for the pioneers of the legacy organizations AAMGA and NAPSLO. Donahue served as president of Jefferson Insurance Company and was instrumental in encouraging competitors to join AAMGA. McAlear initiated organizational efforts to form NAPSLO and served as its first president from 1975 to 1977.
Patrick Albrecht, Associated Insurance Administrators, was honored with the Earle Dillard Award, which honors the contributions and outstanding service of a committee chairman. Albrecht has served as chairman of WSIA’s Membership and Ethics Committee since 2017. Albrecht joined the legacy AAMGA board of directors in 2017 and transitioned onto the WSIA board of directors. WSIA said that the membership of WSIA grew by a record-breaking 89 new members in 2021 under Albrecht’s leadership. WSIA acknowledged Albrecht’s exceptional leadership and the committee’s unwavering commitment to “wholesale-dedicated markets, distribution and service providers.”
Earle Dillard served as president and founding partner of Bloss and Dillard Insurance Managers and as AAMGA president for the 1973-74 term. Dillard led many AAMGA initiatives, including the formation of the AAMGA University Foundation in 1988.
Josh Ammons, Amwins, won the Richard Bouhan Legislative Advocacy Award for his dedication to advance the legislative interests of the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry. Ammons was recognized for his exceptional support and outspoken advocacy of the WSIA PAC and for participating in several WSIA Legislative Fly-In events. Ammons currently serves on WSIA’s Career Development Committee. Previously, Ammons was president of the U40 board and served as U40 representative on the WSIA Board of Directors. Ammons holds a B.S. in business administration from Appalachian State University. He is executive vice president, property broker with Amwins, where he has worked for 14 years.
The Bouhan award was created in 2006 in recognition of Dick Bouhan’s outstanding legislative work as executive director of NAPSLO from 1988 to 2011.
Tony Chimera, Westfield Specialty, was honored with the Dana Roehrig Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer efforts to one of the WSIA’s working committees. Chimera has served on more than one of such committees, for the last 11 years on the Internship Committee. He has been a key volunteer in developing and supporting the intern orientation program, which is hosted in Kansas City, and serves as a mentor to interns each year in addition to serving as an intern host. Chimera also participated in the intern selection process and has led professional development sessions for WSIA’s U40.
Chimera is chief talent officer with Westfield Specialty, serving previously with Sompo International and AXIS Capital. He holds a B.S. in management from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Georgia.
Roehrig was one of the founding NAPSLO members and served as the association’s second president.