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Symetra Names New CEO

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Symetra Financial Corp. has picked Margaret Meister, an actuary, to succeed Tom Marra as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Meister will get those titles in February, the company announced Thursday. Marra is Symetra’s chairman as well as its president and CEO, and he will continue to be the company’s chairman, Symetra said.

Symetra started out as the life insurance arm of Safeco Corp., a Seattle-based property-casualty insurer. Safeco sold the Bellevue, Washington-based insurer to investors in 2004. The investor group sold a large share of Symetra’s stock to the public in January 2010, during some of the worst days of the Great Recession.

(Related: Sumitomo Life to Acquire Buffett-Backed Symetra for $3.8 Billion

Symetra generated about $3.7 billion in annuity considerations in 2016 and ranked 22nd in terms of annuity considerations, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ market share report.

Meister has a bachelor’s degree in math from Whitman College. She began working at Safeco as an actuary in 1988. She became Symetra’s chief financial officer in 2006.

She is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She serves on the board of LIMRA.

Tom Marra (Photo: Symetra)

Tom Marra (Photo: Symetra)

Marra, a former president of Hartford Life Inc., became Symetra’s president and CEO in 2010.

Marra was running Symetra in August 2015, when Sumitomo Life of Tokyo agreed to acquire control of the company for $3.8 billion. Sumitomo Life completed the deal Feb. 1, 2016.

Marra, an actuary, is a director of the American Council of Life Insurers. He is a past chairman of both the ACLI and of the Insured Retirement Institute.

In related news, Symetra said Tommie Brooks, who is now the company’s chief actuary, will succeed Meister as the company’s CFO after Meister becomes the CEO.

— Read Life Insurer to Go Public on ThinkAdvisor.

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