NU Online News Service, March 23, 2005, 2:55 p.m. EST

A major Detroit health insurer has picked a new chief executive.[@@]

The insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, has concluded a search process that began in 2004 by selecting Daniel Loepp to be the company’s next president.

Loepp will succeed the current president, Richard Whitmer, when Whitmer retires in mid-2006, Michigan Blue says. Whitmer has been leading Michigan Blue, a nonprofit “insurer of last resort” that provides or administers health coverage for 4.7 million Michigan residents, for 17 years.

Loepp, who has been the company’s senior vice president and chief of staff, began working for Michigan Blue as vice president of governmental affairs in 2000.

Loepp has years of experience as a lobbyist and legislative aide, and he served as chief of staff for former Michigan House Speaker Curtis Hertel.

Loepp has a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in political communication from Wayne State University.