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American Equity's Next CEO, and More: Personnel Moves

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The next chief executive officer of  American Equity Investment Life Holding Company will be a Brighthouse Financial Inc. alumnus.

The board of the West Des Moines, Iowa-based annuity issuer has picked Anant Bhalla to become the company’s president Jan. 27, and the company’s CEO March 1.

(Related: 3 New Presidents: Guardian, Aflac, UnitedHealth)

John Matovina, the current chairman, president and CEO, will give up the title of president Jan. 27 and the CEO title March 1.

He will stay on the board after March 1 as the board’s chairman, American Equity says.

Matovina has been the company’s CEO since 2012.

Matovina said in a comment about Bhalla’s selection, that appeared with the CEO selection announcement, that he knows Bhalla and the American Equity directors are committed to maintaining the company’s strong emphasis on shareholder returns, customer and agent service, clear and transparent products and competitive rates.

Bhalla has a bachelor’s degree in business from Madras University and a master’s degree in business from the S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research.

His first high-level position in the U.S. financial services sector was at Ameriprise Financial Inc. He joined that company in 2001. By the time he left, in 2009, he was a vice president and head of enterprise risk management.

He later was chief risk officer at Lincoln Financial Group, chief risk officer at a unit of American International Group Inc., and chief financial officer for U.S. retail at MetLife Inc.

When Brighthouse split off from MetLife, Bhalla became the chief financial officer of Brighthouse. He left Brighthouse in March. Since then, he has been working as a life insurance investment advisor.

In other insurance industry personnel news:

Owl Insights Inc., a company in Portland, Oregon, has named Patrick Kennedy to be a strategic advisor.

Owl provides care management technology for behavioral health companies.

Kennedy is a former Democratic representative from Massachusetts, the son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy is also the founder of the Kennedy Forum, a behavioral health nonprofit, and One Mind, a neuroscience research support organization, as a strategic advisor effective immediately.

Molina Healthcare Inc. has hired Dave Reynolds to be senior vice president of health plans, and it has named Dr. Jason Dees be executive vice president of Marketplace and the companywide chief medical officer.

The Long Beach, California-based health insurer also announced that Pam Sedmak, who has been executive vice president of health plan operations, will focus solely on revenue growth initiatives.

Reynolds previously was senior vice president and division president at WellCare Health Plans.

Dees has been Molina’s senior vice president, Marketplace. Before he began working for Molina, in 2018, he was a senior vice president at Centene Corp.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services refers to the Affordable Care Act public exchange program as the Marketplace.

Ameritas Mutual Holding Company says Bob Jurgensmeier is now the company’s executive vice president – individual product and independent distribution.

Jurgensmeier has been working for Ameritas since 2012. He has been the Lincoln, Nebraska-based company’s senior vice president and chief actuary – individual division for Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York.

Jurgensmeier has a bachelor’s degree in actuarial science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He holds the Fellow of the Society of Actuaries professional designation and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Jurgensmeier serves on the board of directors for CHI Health St. Elizabeth Hospital and CHI Nebraska Heart Hospital. He also is on the life insurance committee of the American Council of Life Insurers.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has appointed Jeff Rude to be Wyoming’s insurance commissioner.

Rude previously was the interim commissioner. Before that, he spent five years as the Wyoming department’s deputy insurance commissioner.

He spent 24 years as an Air Force judge advocate, and he was general counsel at F.E. Warren Air Force Base for three years before joining the Wyoming department in 2013.

Rude has a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and a law degree from the University of North Dakota.

The Iowa Insurance Division has announced that Kim Cross will be the acting deputy commissioner for supervision; that Ben Olejnik has been promoted to Fraud Bureau chief; and that the division is adding a new chief accounting specialist position.

Cross is filling the role previously held by Jim Armstrong, who has retired after working for the division for more than 35 years. She has been working for the Iowa division since 1989, and she has been the division’s chief examiner since 2016.

As the acting deputy commissioner for supervision, Cross will oversee 50 employees in the Iowa division’s company regulation bureau. She will lead review of all mergers, acquisitions, administrative or judicial supervision and other material changes in corporate organization.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business from Northwest Missouri State and a law degree from Drake University.

Olejnik, the new Iowa division Fraud Bureau chief, has been a law enforcement officer in the division’s Fraud Bureau since 2017. Olejnik previously was a police officer with the Iowa State University Police Department and an auditor at the Iowa State University Office of Internal Audit.

— Read John Rugel to Run Global Atlantic’s New Business Service and Operationson ThinkAdvisor.

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