BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tenn., appointed J.D. Hickey executive vice president and chief operating officer. Effective May 1, Hickey will succeed Bill Gracey, president and chief executive officer elect.

Hickey joined BlueCross in March 2011 as senior vice president, as well as president and CEO of Volunteer State Health Plan, BlueCross’ Medicaid managed care organization. Eight months later, he took on increasing corporate responsibilities including oversight of health care services for the enterprise.

“Over the past year, J.D. has demonstrated an incredible grasp of our organization and our changing market dynamics,” Gracey said.”

In other industry news:

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, N.Y., promoted Kevin Benjamin to vice president, Career Agency Distribution effective April 1. In addition to his current responsibilities, Benjamin will now lead the General Agency Regional Vice Presidents, Financial Representative Recruiting, Training and Middle Management teams. He will continue to report to Don Sullivan, senior vice president and head of Agency Distribution, and Park Avenue Securities.

Benjamin joined Guardian in 2009 as field vice president to lead the New Agency Recruiting and Integration Team. In 39 months his team recruited 31 agency managers, improved numerous systems, and led new agencies to record levels of recruiting and production success.

 

Richard Ellery, a 15-year veteran of OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. will take over as president of OneAmerica Securities Inc. on May 1. Ellery replaces Nick Filing, who has led OneAmerica Securities since 2004.

Ellery most recently served as associate general counsel for OneAmerica and chief counsel for OneAmerica Securities. As president, he will report directly to Mark Wilkerson, president of individual life and financial services for the OneAmerica companies. Ellery also is secretary and chief compliance officer for OneAmerica Funds Inc. and will retain those responsibilities.

Filing will continue in his role as chairman of the board for OneAmerica Securities.

 

Security Benefit Corporation, Topeka, Kan., formed a partnership with fi360, a source for fiduciary education, investment analytics, support services and industry insights for financial professionals.      

With the relationship, advisors and plan sponsors will have no-cost access to fi360 Fiduciary Score analysis of Security Benefit’s recently launched SecurePoint Retirement 401(k) product. SecurePoint includes the expertise of Mesirow Financial as ERISA 3(38) fiduciary in the selection, monitoring and replacement of 401(k) plan investment alternatives.      

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, Horsham, Pa., New York City agency, formerly the Planning Center for Professionals, is now called Empire Wealth Strategies.

Under the leadership of managing partner Susan Cooper, CFP, CLU, ChFC, Empire Wealth Strategies will continue to provide guidance, along with custom-designed plans, to help clients make sound financial decisions for personal, family and business needs.

“We’re proud to be a sales leader for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company for more than 25 years, and even more proud of the families and businesses we’ve served along the way,” Cooper said.

 

American Westbrook Insurance Services, Westchester, Ill., hired Jenny Palmer to head up the senior market segment focusing exclusively on Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. In this position, Palmer will work with clients, sales professionals and strategic partners by providing them with a variety of Medicare insurance choices and finding a health plan that best fits their needs.

Prior to American Westbrook, Jenny was a Senior Plan Specialist at a major health insurance carrier where she provided Medicare products and services to beneficiaries.