Florida People, Places, & Products June 2011 Round-Up

Read fresh information and recaps of this month's news about Florida's people, places, and products.

Scott Johnson Honored by FAIA

Scott Johnson, AAI, CAE, who retired in December from his post as executive vice president of the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA), was honored at the group’s annual convention in June with the Mitchell Stallings Memorial Award. The award, considered FAIA’s highest honor, has been presented since 1990 in recognition of a person’s significant contribution to the association and the industry. 

Johnson’s career in insurance began in the early 1970s when he worked for the Florida Insurance Commissioner. He moved to FAIA in 1974 as an educational instructor. During his time with FAIA Johnson served as president of the Florida Society of Association Executives in 1991 and received the group’s Executive of the Year Award in 1995. He is the author of two books: “From Cartels To Competition,” which tracks the competitive evolution of insurance and the history of independent agents, and “Platforms of Success,” a detailed and motivational examination of the sales process.

Bill McCollum Joins SNR Denton Law

Florida’s former Attorney General Bill McCollum has joined the law firm SNR Denton as a partner in its Washington, D.C. office. He will focus on the firm’s new state attorneys general practice, which includes lawyers and professionals with experience working in U.S. state attorneys general offices nationwide.

Prior to becoming Florida’s attorney general in 2007, McCollum was a partner with Baker & Hostetler’s government policy practice from 2001-2007. Between 1981-2001 he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Florida’s 8th District. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Party nomination in Florida’s 2010 gubernatorial race.

Sihle Insurance Group Opens Vero Beach Office

Sihle Insurance Group, a provider of commercial and personal lines of insurance for almost 40 years, has opened a new office in Vero Beach, its seventh Florida location. Mike W. Harris, CIC, will be managing the Vero Beach office and developing the company’s market from Melbourne in the north to Fort Pierce in the south.

In addition to the new Vero Beach office and its Altamonte Springs headquarters, Sihle has customer service and production offices in Deland, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Pensacola and Fort Myers. President Ken Sihle says more expansion is planned.

Miami-Based Insurance Groups Announce Merger

Two Miami-based companies, Royal Marine Insurance Group and NSI Insurance Group, have announced their merger. The combined company will retain the NSI Insurance Group name.

NSI, which has roots in Miami dating back to 1958, has more than 70 employees and is one of the largest privately held insurance companies in Florida. The firm specializes in risk management and insurance services to industries in Florida and nationwide.

Royal Marine provides specialized resources in marine, aviation and transportation insurance management. Its client reach extends worldwide with a concentration in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Americas. It began operations as Royal Marine Underwriters in 1987.

“We have found a tremendous and complementary partner in Royal Marine,” says Oscar Seikaly, co-owner of NSI. “The company has vast experience and market knowledge in the marine and aviation industries. The merger is already proving to be an excellent fit.”

Don Salama Heads Up Tampa Office of New York Life

Don Salama has been elected senior vice president in charge of New York Life Insurance Co.‘s Tampa operations. He begins his new role July 1 and will report to Dick Mucci, executive vice president and head of New York Life Enterprises.

Salama had been chief strategy officer and senior managing director of New York Life Investments. He also served as the head of New York Life Retirement Plan Services where he was responsible for sales and marketing functions. 

New York Life’s Tampa operations, which began as a start-up in 1994, is part of a portfolio of New York Life’s stand-alone businesses managed by New York Life Enterprises.

Shane Fowler, Sherrie Chambers Join Atlantic Specialty

Shane Fowler has joined Atlantic Specialty Lines of Florida, handling placement of all lines of commercial coverage for the surplus lines market. He has a concentrated expertise in construction-related risks as well as hospitality, environmental, coastal property, and professional liability. He will be based in the Clearwater office and may be reached at 877-545-9100, 727-540-2134, shanef@atlanticspecial.com.

Sherrie A. Chambers, CIC, also has joined the ASL office. She has over six years experience as a personal lines production underwriter. She may be reached through the corporate personal lines team at 877-545-9100, 727-540-2132, sherriec@atlanticspecial.com.

Ox Bonding Expands Into Florida

Ox Bonding’s affiliate insurance carrier, Upper Hudson National Insurance Co., has obtained approval from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to expand its existing license to include surety. Florida has also approved the company’s rate filings for its bonding programs.

The company offers commercial surety for businesses and individuals in 12 states: Florida, California, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Louisiana, Washington and Hawaii.

United Shareholders Meet

At their annual meeting, shareholders of United Insurance Holdings Corp. elected incumbent directors James R. Zuhlke and Larry G. Swets, Jr. to serve as Class A directors. They will serve for a two-year term ending at the 2013 annual meeting and until their successors are duly elected and qualified. Stockholders also ratified the selection of McGladrey & Pullen LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2011.

The St. Petersburg-based company is a subsidiary of United Insurance Holdings Corp. It writes and services homeowners’ insurance in Florida and South Carolina and is licensed to write property & casualty insurance in Massachusetts.

Risk Transfer Hires Bill Jackson

Risk Transfer, a professional buyer and program administrator of workers’ compensation insurance and services for PEOs and temporary staffing placements, has hired Bill Jackson as director of program development. Most recently Jackson served as vice president of program sales of the Marsh consumer division of Marsh & McLennan. The company is based in Orlando.

Citadel Opens Office in Tampa

Citadel Insurance Services, a national specialty program broker, has expanded its operations by opening a regional office in Tampa. Gary N. Webb has been named director of the Southeast region to head up this location.

Webb has more than 25 years of experience in facultative reinsurance, energy and marine, and high-capacity placements. His responsibilities at Citadel will include the design, placement and management of insurance programs, as well as the acquisition of new business.

Kevin Kerton Joins BB&T in Fort Myers

Kevin Kerton has been appointed a business insurance agent at BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Co. Kerton will be based in the company’s Fort Myers office and brings 15 years of experience to the position. BB&T is the nation’s sixth largest insurance broker. Founded in 1922, it operates more than 100 insurance agencies in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and California. 

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