A Midwestern health insurer is mourning the loss of its top executive.

Kent Clapp, 62, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Medical Mutual of Ohio, Cleveland, died Dec. 3 in a private airplane crash in Puerto Rico while returning from a vacation in the Caribbean, Medical Mutual says.

His fiancee, Tracy Turner, and the pilot of the airplane also died in the crash, the company says.

Clapp had been CEO of Medical Mutual since 1997.

Medical Mutual has named Samuel Miller, a real estate developer, and David Young, a lawyer, to be interim co-chairs, and it has named Charles Bryan to be acting CEO.

Bryan, a former executive at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio, has been on the Medical Mutual board since 2001.

“We will diligently, thoughtfully and yet as quickly as possible move to select the right individual to lead Medical Mutual for the long term,” Bryan says in a statement. “We are fortunate that Kent left the company financially sound and with a strong senior management team.”

Medical Mutual will start the search for a new CEO by reviewing internal candidates, and it hopes to have new leadership in place early in 2009, Bryan says.