During the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association meeting held March 2, the association honored five WSIA members for their exceptional service to the association.

Donahue/McAlear honorees

The Vincent Donahue/Charles McAlear Industry Award, WSIA’s highest distinction, went to James Drinkwater, Amwins, and Jacque Schaendorf, Insurance House. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry.

Drinkwater served on the legacy NAPSLO and WSIA board from 2010 to 2018 and chaired the Political Action Committee and Legislative Committee during that time. In announcing Drinkwater as a recipient, WSIA said that he has been a tireless supporter and volunteer to the association and the industry, and is an honorary WSIA Life Member. Most recently, Drinkwater recommended the formation of the WSIA Diversity Foundation. His guidance and support to its development and his contributions will have a lasting impact on both the association and the shape of the industry.

Drinkwater has served as president of the Amwins brokerage division since April 2008 and previously served as chief operating officer of the division. Prior to joining Amwins in 2005, he held executive positions with Stewart Smith Group and Willis Group. He began his career in the London marketplace.

Schaendorf serves as CEO of Insurance House. Prior to joining Insurance House in 1997, she worked with Alexander and Alexander Inc. and Chubb and Sons Inc.

Schaendorf served on the legacy NAPSLO and WSIA board of directors from 2010 to 2020 and co-chaired the Education Committee. She was a member of the AAMGA/NAPSLO Merger Committee. She joined the Executive Committee in 2015 and served as WSIA president from 2018 to 2019. She has served as a panelist and instructor at many education programs for the last decade.

Schaendorf holds a bachelor’s degree from Hope College and an MBA from the Golzueta Business School at Emory University.

Among her contributions to the association and industry is her “exceptional” support of the WSIA Insurtech Conference and Committee. Her guidance to the committee and event have prepared the association to grow its impact for years to come, WSIA said.

The Vincent Donahue/Charles McAlear Industry Award is named after two men who were pioneers in WSIA’s legacy organizations: NAPSLO and AAMGA. Donahue served as president of Jefferson Insurance Company and encouraged competitors to join AAMGA. McAlear was instrumental in organizing NAPSLO in the early 1970s and served as the association’s first president from 1975 to 1977.

Earle Dillard Award

Bruce Kessler, Westchester, is the recipient of the Earle Dillard Award, which honors the contributions and outstanding service of a committee chairman.

Kessler served as chairman, Westchester, and senior vice president of Chubb. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and has more than 30 years of insurance industry experience.

Kessler joined the NAPSLO board of directors in 2016 and the WSIA board of directors in 2017. He has chaired the PAC Committee and co-chaired the Legislative Committee. In announcing the award, WSIA said Kessler’s investment in the association, and his focus on growing the PAC during his time chairing the committee, has improved the association’s success in legislative advocacy. His guidance and strong example have been great assets to WSIA.

The award is named after Earle Dillard who served as president of Bloss and Dillard and as AAMGA president from 1973-1974. He led several AAMGA initiatives over many years, including the mid-1960s group that shaped many of AAMGA’s operating policies and the formation of the AAMGA University Foundation in 1988.

Bouhan Legislative Advocacy Award

The Richard Bouhan Legislative Advocacy Award went to Kori Johanson, IFG Companies. The award honors individuals whose advocacy helps advance the legislative interests of the wholesale, specialty and surplus lines industry.

Johanson serves as chief compliance officer and associate general counsel for the IFG Companies. Prior to joining IFG, she served in a variety of roles for H.W. Kaufman Financial Group Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Trinity College and a Juris Doctor degree from the Western New England University School of Law. Currently, Johanson serves on the board of the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas, having been appointed by former Commissioner Kent Sullivan in January 2020.

In bestowing the award, WSIA touted Johanson’s exceptional support of WSIA and its Legislative Committee in working to reform Michigan’s policy fee, which ranks as one of the most impactful regulatory changes of 2020.

The award was created in 2006 in recognition of Dick Bouhan’s outstanding legislative work as executive director of NAPSLO from 1988 to 2011.

Dana Roehrig Award

Carlton Maner, AXIS Insurance, was honored with the Dana Roehrig Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteers to one of WSIA’s working committees.

Maner serves as CEO of the AXIS U.S. Division and as the global property practice leader. He joined AXIS in 2002 and has served in a variety of roles for the company. Prior to AXIS, Maner was senior vice president of Westchester Specialty Division of ACE USA from 1996 to 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1980.

Maner served on the legacy NAPSLO board of directors from 2010 to 2016 and co-chaired the Career Awareness and Internship Committee and chaired the Membership Committee.

WSIA said Maner was recognized for his continued, exceptional support of the WSIA Membership Committee. He has been a dedicated committee member since his time on the board of directors. WSIA also acknowledged Maner’s leadership on the newly formed WSIA Diversity Foundation.

The award is named after Dana Roehrig who served as the second president of NAPSLO.