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LICONY President to Retire: Personnel Matters

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Mary Griffin, the chief executive officer of the Life Insurance Council of New York, will be retiring in 2021, LICONY announced this week.

Griffin took over from Thomas Workman as LICONY’s CEO in 2016.

(Related: New York State Department of Financial Services Hires a Chief Counsel: Personnel Matters)

LICONY represents 60 life insurers based in New York state and 21 other insurers.

As the CEO of LICONY, Griffin helped New York life insurers respond to the state’s cybersecurity regulations, its adoption of principles-based reserving principles, its development of a homegrown best interest regulation, and efforts to meet the needs of people affected by COVID-19.

Before Griffin became LICONY’s CEO, she spent nine years at the New York State Department of Insurance, before the department was merged into the current New York State Department of Financial Services.

Frederick Wortman, chief marketing officer at Security Mutual Life, is chair of the LICONY board.

LICONY will begin a search for a new CEO by June 30, the group said.

In other personnel matters news:

The board of Health Care Service Corp. has named Maurice Smith to be the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Smith has been the president of the Chicago-based company’s president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois unit since 2015.

Smith will take over from David Lesar, an HCSC board member who has served as the company’s interim CEO since July 2019.

HCSC holds the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licenses in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It also controls Dearborn National, an issuer of life insurance, disability insurance and other products.

It provides or administers major medical coverage for 16 million people, and it has 24,000 employees.

Smith has a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University.

He began working for HCSC in 1993, as an intern.

SE2 has named Mark Schultis to succeed Gautam Thakkar as chief executive officer.

SE2 — a Topeka, Kansas-based life insurance and annuity technology company — is part of Eldridge, which is based in Greenwich, Connecticut. The parent company will be having Thakkar lead another insurtech effort, SE2 said.

Schultis previously was SE2′s chief customer officer.

Schultis has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

He previously was a senior vice president at IHS Markit, a data analytics and financial services company.

SE2 administers about 2 million active policies for about two dozen clients. The company helps administer about $100 billion in assets, and it handles about 200,000 new business applications every year.

Ethos Life has hired Erin Lantz to be its chief revenue officer.

The San Francisco-based company sells life insurance.

Lantz previously was vice president and general manager of mortgages at Zillow Group.

She also has worked for Bank of America and Boston Consulting Group.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business from Harvard.

Protective Life Corp. has named Phil Passafiume to succeed Carl Thigpen as chief investment officer.

Thigpen plans to retire in June, after working for Protective Life for 36 years, the Birmingham, Alabama-based company said.

Passafiume is the company’s senior vice president, director of fixed income. He has worked for Protective Life  since 2003.

Protective Life is also promoting:

  • Laura McDonald to chief mortgage and real estate officer, from senior vice president, senior housing.
  • Wendy Evesque to executive vice president, chief human resources officer, from senior vice president, chief human resources officer.
  • Steve Cramer to senior vice president and chief product officer, retirement division, from vice president, head of asset and annuity risk.
  • Francis Radnoti to senior vice president and chief product officer, protection division, from vice president, head of life product development.

Protective Life said it has reorganized its life and annuity retail businesses into a protection operating division and a retirement operating division. Cramer now leads product development and in-force management efforts for the retirement division, and Radnoti leads those efforts for the protection division, the company said.

Symetra Life Insurance Company has promoted Wes Severin to be an executive vice president and head of its retirement division.

Severin previously was senior vice president, retirement product and distribution, at the Bellevue, Washington-based company.

Earlier in his career, Severin was national sales director for financial institution markets at Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company in Denver.

Symetra has also promoted Harry Monti and Chantel Balkovetz to executive vice president.

Monti, who has been senior vice president, life and disability and select benefits, will head the benefits division.

Balkovetz will be head of service and operations enterprise-wide. She has been senior vice president, individual life and retirement service and operations, since 2017.

Spring Venture Group, a Medicare plan distributor based in Kansas City, Missouri, has hired Grant Eckert to be its chief marketing officer.

Eckert previously was chief marketing officer for National Debt Relief.

Before that, he was the vice president of marketing for J.G. Wentworth.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in business from Lehigh University.

Ohio National Financial Services has promoted three executives to senior vice president.

Scott Shepherd is now a senior vice president and the company’s chief corporate actuary.

William Price will be a senior vice president and the company’s general counsel. Price is on track to take over from Dennis Schoff, who plans to retire at the end of June.

Pamela Webb will be a senior vice president and Ohio National’s chief human resources officer. Webb is on track to take over for Anthony Esposito, who is retiring.

The New York State Department of Financial Services as hired Nina Chen to be the department’s first sustainability and climate initiatives director.

Chen previously was director of conservation investments with the Nature Conservancy.

Chen has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, a doctorate in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a certificate in conservation and environmental sustainability from Columbia University.

— Read Kevin Kennedy Moves to Pacific Life: Personnel Matterson ThinkAdvisor.

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