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The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has promoted Bill Huddleston to director of the Insurance Division.

Huddleston previously was the division’s director of receiverships.

(Related: Sammons Names a Government Affairs Director: Personnel Matters)

He has a bachelor’s degree from Harding University.

Huddleston holds the Certified Public Accountant professional designation. He has represented the Tennessee department in connection with receivership and insolvency efforts at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Hodgen Mainda continues to be the commissioner in charge of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance as a whole.

In other personnel matters news:

Equitable has named Robin Raju head of individual retirement.

Raju is currently treasurer of Equitable Holdings, the life insurer’s parent company, and the business chief financial officer.

He’ll report to Nick Lane, the president of Equitable.

Raju has a bachlelor’s degree in finance from the University of Scranton.

In related news, Yun “Julia” Zhang will become the treasurer of Equitable Holdings.

Zhang has been managing director and treasurer at Equitable.

Zhang has a bachelor’s degree in statistics and finance from the University of Science of Technology of China and a master’s degree in math from Columbia University.

Zhang holds the Chartered Financial Analyst professional designation and is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Kemper Corp. has hired Erich Sternberg to be president of Kemper’s life and health division.

Sternberg will be based in Chicago and report to Joseph Lacher Jr., Kemper’s president and chief executive officer.

The heads of the Kemper Life and Kemper Health brands will report to Sternberg.

Sternberg previously was president and chief executive officer of Starmount Life Insurance Company and Starmount Managed Dental of California, which are now subsidiaries of Unum Group.

Sternberg has a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University and a master’s degree in business from Columbia University.

He has served as a board member of the National Association of Specialty Health Plans and the National Association of Vision Care Plans.

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has hired Jean LaTorre to be executive vice president and chief investment officer.

LaTorre previously was the chief investment officer and corporate economist Aetna. She also led Aetna’s pensions business and chaired Aetna Capital Management, Aetna’s hedge fund.

LaTorre has a bachelor’s degree in business and English from the State University of New York at Albany and a master’s degree in business from New York University.

She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst professional designation.

First Financial Resources of Vine, California, has name Mike Bell to be the firm’s president.

Bell previously was a consultant at the firm. He has also been executive vice president of the life insurance division at Pacific Life.

Judd Imhoff continues to be the chief executive officer of the independent insurance distribution organization.

In related news, First Financial Resources has hired Michael Babikian to be the chief operating officer.

Babikian is the founder and chairman of LegacyShield, an online legacy planning and personal records storage service.

Babikian has also been the president and chief executive officer of Transamerica Brokerage.

Earlier, he was an executive at Advanced Marketing.

Simplicity Group Holdings of Summit, New Jersey, has hired Emily Cramer to be vice president of business development.

She previously was vice president of distribution at Unkefer & Associates.

Cramer has a bachelor’s degree in communications from California University of Pennsylvania.

Spearhead, a Wellington, Florida-based company that helps wealthy investors and family offices with private placement life insurance, private placement annuities, and asset management, has opened an office in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

Spearhead has named James Hickey to be the office leader. He will also be the managing director of alternative asset management strategies and head portfolio manager for the Spearhead life settlements division.

Hickey previously was chief investment strategist for HD Vest, an independent broker-dealer and registered investment advisor.

Before that, Hickey developed life settlement fund businesses for RiverRock Securities LLC and for FDO Partners.

Hickey has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a master’s degree in business from Wharton. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst professional designation.

The Charlestown office staff will also include:

  • Corey McLaren, who will be the director of alternative strategies and head of sourcing and origination for Spearhead’s life settlements division. He previously was director for Hilliard Management LLC and the Fayerweather Street Life Settlement fund series.
  • Steve Smith, who will be a life settlements division contract analyst. He previously was a life settlements contract analyst at Hilliard Management.
  • Jake Glovin, who will be a life settlements division pricing analyst. Glovin previously was a life settlements pricing analyst at Hilliard Management.

CORRECTION: The first name of the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance was misspelled in an earlier version of this article. His name is Hodgen Mainda.

— Read Talcott Hires a J.P. Morgan Dealmaker: Personnel Matterson ThinkAdvisor.

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