Annamaria Banaszek, Craig DeSanto and John DiRago have been elected senior vice presidents of New York Life, reporting to Chris Blunt, president of the Insurance Group.
As head of the Group’s Wealth Management Department, Banaszek is responsible for wealth management and investment advisory services, including Eagle Strategies. She joined New York Life in 2001 as a director in the Finance area of New York Life Investments. She was elected managing director for New York Life Investments in 2006 and vice president for New York Life in 2008. She then served as chief administrative officer in Retirement Income Security (RIS) Third Party Distribution from 2008 to 2010 before becoming chief administrative officer of RIS in 2010. She was elected first vice president in 2011 and appointed to her current role in April 2012. Prior to joining New York Life, Banaszek held progressively more responsible roles at Coopers & Lybrand, Citibank and Deutsche Bank and is a Certified Public Accountant in New York State. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from St. Francis College.
DeSanto is responsible for the Group’s life insurance product management, including managing all accounting P&L for life products sold through the company’s career agency system, identifying segmented market opportunities and developing product strategies and solutions to address targeted consumer/market needs. He also oversees the Group’s life insurance product development and implementation, and manages the company’s in-force product lines.
DeSanto joined New York Life in 1997 as an actuarial summer intern in the Financial Management Department and returned to the company in 1998 as an actuarial assistant in the Individual Life Department. He held multiple roles with increasing responsibility focused on product development and financial management for various life insurance and annuity product lines, and was named corporate vice president in 2007. From 2008 to 2011 he worked as vice president and actuary in the Advanced Markets Network Department managing the company’s institutional insurance business. In 2011 he was elected first vice president and actuary and became head of the affluent market business, where he was responsible for all product development, compliance and marketing activities related to the Affluent Market Initiative, including leading Eagle Strategies. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
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DiRago is responsible for leading the Group’s Service Department, overseeing approximately 2,100 new business and customer service professionals across the country. He joined New York Life in 1990 in the Individual Policy Services Department and has held numerous service positions with increasing management responsibility. He was promoted to assistant vice president in 2000, corporate vice president in 2003, and from 2004 to 2005 he served as chief of staff for the Individual Life Department. He worked in the Agency Department from 2005 to 2006 and was elected vice president in 2007 and first vice president in 2010. He earned an MBA from Iona College and a BBA degree from Pace University.
In other industry news:
Mutual of Omaha’s Retirement Plans Division is expanding the reach of its 401(k) and related retirement plan product lines with the addition of four new regional sales managers.
Thane Walton will serve the Phoenix market. He has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry with a focus on retirement planning and 401(k) sales. He was a retirement plan sales consultant with Principal and Lincoln, and has also served as TPA channel manager for MassMutual. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University.
Robert McAllister the San Francisco Bay Area market. He most recently served as regional director at Ameritas Retirement Plans and has held senior retirement plan marketing and sales positions at Hartford Life Insurance, Transamerica Corp., New York Life, Security Pacific and Cigna Corp. He is a graduate of Connecticut’s Manchester Community College.
Kevin Doucet the Northern Los Angeles area. He joined Mutual of Omaha in 2007 as West Coast 401(k) relationship manager. Prior to joining Mutual, Doucet was associate financial advisor and retirement plans specialist at Legg Mason. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Erich Otten will serve southern Massachusetts including Boston, Rhode Island and Connecticut. He previously served as director of institutional mutual funds at Hartford Life Insurance. Prior to wholesaling defined contributions investment only products, he was a 401(k) internal wholesaler for Hartford. He is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.