Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) named Steve Thiel as vice president of Actuarial Reporting and Analysis.

Thiel will be responsible for timely reporting of actuarial balances while analyzing the financial performance of Allianz Life. He will oversee the delivery of key projects that drive financial stability while serving as valuation actuary, to provide ongoing assessment about the assets of the company. He reports to Neil McKay, senior vice president and chief actuary for Allianz Life.

Thiel joined Allianz Life in 2008 where he led the product management team as a senior director actuary. He oversaw the profitability of in-force business and analyzed the key drivers of product performance to support long term sustainability. He also partnered with the Operations and IT divisions to develop a platform for managing the existing in-force business. Prior to joining Allianz Life, Thiel was an assistant vice president for Sun Life Financial Inc. in Brookfield, Wis. for seven years leading the Reinsurance Finance division. He was responsible for the finance functions of the reinsurance businesses, managed reserves including sourcing and future funding, and directed asset liability and capital management. Thiel also held a role as an actuary for Allstate Insurance Company in Northbrook, Ill. for five years.

Thiel holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

In other industry news: 

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE:MET) hired Edward A. Spehar as head of investor relations. In this role, he will manage and coordinate the presentation of MetLife’s financial results and business strategies to the analyst and investor community. He will report to John C. R. Hele, executive vice president and chief financial officer of MetLife.

Spehar will join the company by the end of the year and succeeds John McCallion, who is becoming chief financial officer for MetLife’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

Spehar joins MetLife from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he has served as a sell-side equity research analyst covering the life insurance industry for approximately 19 years. In this role, he produced fundamental equity research on the industry and covered 15 publicly-traded insurers, including MetLife, American International Group and Prudential Financial. In addition to his experience at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Spehar held similar roles at Lehman Brothers and Ameritrust.

Spehar received a bachelor’s degree in management from Case Western Reserve University as well as a master’s in business administration degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve. He is a chartered financial analyst.

 

Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company and its business segment Great-West Retirement Services told advisors announced they will market under the Great-West Financial brand.

“We’ve adopted a ‘branded house’ so everything builds on the strength of our Great-West Financial master brand,” said Joe Greene, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Great-West Financial. “The clarity of having one brand and one voice with a focused and well positioned message will help build name recognition and lessen potential confusion among customers.”

The company hired 12 additional 401(k) sales directors and rolled out the first two phases of a sophisticated customer relationship management system as part of the business plan. It also introduced two new retail retirement income solutions to help bank financial advisors, independent broker dealers, and registered investment advisors meet this growing customer need.

“By year-end, we’ll launch a retirement income calculator, equip our 401(k) sales team with additional tools to assist advisors, and continue to expand our retail retirement income distribution partnerships,” Greene said.

The growth plan is working. Sales were $4.4 billion for the six months ended June 30, 2012, compared with $3.7 billion for the same period in 2011. The company also has added almost 160 new full-time positions since August 2011 and plans to fill up to 100 additional new positions during the next 12 months. Of the new hires, 113 were at its U.S. headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colo. 

 

American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) unveiled a refreshed AIG logo, with a modernized design and new color palate. The updated logo will begin appearing widely in the company’s advertising and marketing later this fall.

The refreshed AIG logo will be used in a limited capacity until the company completes the rebrand of its property casualty and life and retirement segments later this fall. When the rebrand is complete, AIG’s property casualty segment, currently named Chartis, will become AIG in most locations. The company’s life and retirement segment, currently known as SunAmerica Financial Group, will become AIG Life and Retirement.

Symetra Life Insurance Company added Bob Carlson, Richard Shearer and Paul Villanova to its dedicated Registered Investments external wholesaling team.The three will represent Symetra True Variable Annuitywith fee-only registered investment advisers and fee-based broker-dealer advisers in the Midwest and Southeast.

Bob Carlson joins Symetra from Willis North America in Chicago, where he served as a personal risk adviser for high net worth clients. Before Willis, Carlson spent 11 years at Northern Trust Company, with responsibility for wholesaling mutual funds and separately managed accounts to registered investment advisers and independent financial advisers. He previously held sales roles at Harris Bank, AON, Marsh & McLennan and Kemper Financial Services. Carlson earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University. He is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and holds FINRA Series 6, 7 and 63 licenses. Based in Chicago, Carlson is Symetra’s senior investment specialist for Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Richard Shearer comes to Symetra from Sun Life Financial, where he was responsible for sales and marketing of Sun Life financial products in several southeastern states. He previously held regional sales leadership roles at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, AIM Investments and AIM Funds. A graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, Shearer holds FINRA Series 7, 26, 63 and 65 licenses. He has earned CIMC and CIMA certifications, and he is currently enrolled in a Certified Financial Planner program. Based in Atlanta, Shearer is Symetra’s senior investment specialist for Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Paul Villanova is an experienced variable annuity sales professional, most recently serving as senior vice president and divisional sales manager for Sun Life Financial Distributors in Boston. Before Sun Life, he held sales positions at Conseco Fund Group, ING Funds and Liberty Funds Distributors. Villanova has a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and an MBA from Regis University. He holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 26 and 63 licenses. Villanova is Symetra’s senior investment specialist for Florida.

 

1847Financial, Penn Mutual’s Philadelphia agency, has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania for 2012.

“At 1847Financial, employees have the option to attend weekly trainings to hone a particular skill or hear from other industry professionals,” said Jim Meehan, MSM, managing partner of the agency. “Team members also come together on a regular basis to support a number of organizations in the community, including our adopted non-profit group ‘Little Smiles.’”

The survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. The complete list of the 2012 Best Places to Work in PA award recipients can be found at www.bestplacestoworkinpa.com.