The board of Assurant Inc. has elected Elaine Rosen to be its chairman.

Rosen, 57, who has been the vice chair at Assurant, New York (NYSE:AIZ), is replacing Dr. John Palms, 75.

Palms plans to stay on the Assurant board until the company’s annual meeting, in May 2011.

Rosen spent years at Unum Group Corp., Chattanooga, Tenn., and at one point was president of UNUM Life Insurance Company of America. She has been on the Assurant board since February 2009 and vice chair since May 2010,

Assurant board members cannot stand for re-election after age 73, and Assurant recently changed its bylaws to require that directors be re-elected each year, the company says.

Assurant is the parent of Assurant Health, Milwaukee, and Assurant Employee Benefits, Kansas City, Mo.

- Allison Bell