5 People on the Move

National Severe Storms Lab under new directorship, World Insurance Associates names retail president and more.
By: | January 16, 2023

DaNa Carlis Named Director of NOAA’s National Severe Storms Lab

Research meteorologist DaNa Carlis has been named the new director of the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he will lead research into severe thunderstorms and other extreme weather events.

DaNa Carlia, director of NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory

DaNa Carlis, director of NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory

“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead this team of dedicated and accomplished scientists,” Carlis said of his new role. “I’m looking forward to getting out into the field to see the research that has been making a real difference in people’s daily lives.”

Prior to taking on this role, during his 20-year career at NOAA, Carlis served as deputy director of the Administration’s Global Systems Lab, as manager of the Earth Prediction Innovation Center, and as a policy advisor to both NOAA’s assistant secretary for environmental observation and prediction and its chief scientist.

Carlis also cofounded the NOAA’s Diversity and Professional Advancement Working Group. “Dr. Carlis shares my commitment to champion diversity and foster professional growth opportunities across the agency,” said NOAA’s administrator, Rick Spinrad. “NOAA is fortunate to have a leader with deep scientific expertise and the strong skills to elevate diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of NSSL’s culture.”

“A proven leader, DaNa has guided a variety of NOAA programs and projects that have contributed to producing better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters and a greater understanding of the Earth,” said Steve Thur, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “His leadership experience and passion for research will help NSSL continue to fulfill its mission to help forecasters provide advance warnings of extreme weather and save lives.”

World Insurance Associates Appoints Thomas J. Fitzgerald as Retail President

Based on his track record of growing operations and improving both customer and employee satisfaction, Thomas J. Fitzgerald has been recruited as president of business at World Insurance Associates LLC.

In this newly created role, he will oversee World’s retail insurance distribution operations and draw on his brokering experience to continue expanding services and delivering positive placement outcomes.

Thomas J. Fitzgerald, retail business president, World Insurance Associates LLC

Thomas J. Fitzgerald, retail business president, World Insurance Associates LLC

“It’s an exciting time to join World and to support the upward trajectory of the firm,” Fitzgerald said. “I look forward to leading the expansion of the already well-established retail business in response to the ever-changing market dynamics and economic landscape.”

Fitzgerald brings more than 30 years of experience in commercial brokerage to his new position. He joins World from QBE North America, where he spent the previous three years on the North America executive committee; prior to that, he spent 28 years at Aon, where he was CEO of Aon’s U.S. retail operations and ultimately served as CEO of Aon broking, leading the firm’s global operations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tom to the World team as our new retail business president,” said Rich Eknoian, World founder and CEO. “As we move into 2023, it is perfect timing for Tom to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective to our rapidly growing retail business. His strong industry relationships and in-depth industry knowledge will no doubt make a positive impact for our insureds and carrier partners alike.”

Cyndi Tullos Assumes Role of CEO at SouthGroup

Cyndi Tullos has been named CEO and member of the board of directors at SouthGroup Insurance and Financial Services, Mississippi’s largest privately owned agency, with over 150 employees in 21 offices across the state.

Cyndi Tullos, CEO, SouthGroup Insurance & Financial Services

Cyndi Tullos, CEO, SouthGroup Insurance & Financial Services

“I am excited about the state of the insurance industry and our Mississippi marketplace, especially the continuing advances in insurance technology,” Tullos said.

COO of SouthGroup since 2019, Tullos joined the firm from WorldCom in 2002. In addition to her roles at SouthGroup, Tullos has held leadership positions in several professional organizations, including the Independent Insurance Agents of Mississippi, ACORD, Applied Client Network, the IIABA Agents Council for Technology, and the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors.

Tullos replaces Ronnie Tubertini, who previously filled the position of CEO for 21 years. Tubertini stays on at SouthGroup as president and member of the board.

“Cyndi is one of the brightest and most talented people I have ever worked with,” Tubertini said. “In her previous role as SouthGroup’s chief operating officer, she led our organization through huge changes in systems and processes. Our board is excited about the experience, knowledge and skills Cyndi possesses. Her talents allow us to ensure a bright and competitive future. She is a high-energy leader.”

Aeolus Taps Benjamin Somers as Managing Director of Business Development

In his new role as managing director of business development, U.S.-based Benjamin Somers will report to partner and president Aditya Dutt to lead business development at Bermuda-based Aeolus Capital Management Ltd.

Benjamin Somers, managing director of business development, Aeolus Capital Management Ltd.

Benjamin Somers, managing director of business development, Aeolus Capital Management Ltd.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Ben to the Aeolus team,” Dutt said. “We believe his skill set, capabilities and experience will continue to enhance our focus on serving our clients and partners.”

Somers brings nearly 25 years’ experience in business development, alternative asset management, debt capital markets and corporate banking. Before joining Aeolus, he served as partner and head of business development and investor relations at Elementum Advisors. This followed time at Stark Investments, where he served as director of emerging markets, and JPMorgan, where he worked in asset management and corporate banking.

CEO, partner and co-head of Aeolus’ portfolio management team, Andrew Bernstein said: “Ben is one of the standout business development professionals in the insurance-linked securities asset class, and I am thrilled to be adding a professional of his caliber to Aeolus.”

Brian Bissett Promoted to Group CFO of Convex

Brian Bissett has been promoted to group CFO of Convex Group Limited, reporting to CEO Paul Brand. Bissett replaces Benji Meuli, who leaves the role to become Convex’s chief investment officer. Based in London, Bissett will remain on the board and continue to oversee Convex’s investment functions and lead its data and actuarial teams.

Brian Bissett, group chief finance officer, Convex Group Ltd.

Brian Bissett, group chief finance officer, Convex Group Ltd.

A fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, Bissett has been with Convex since its inception in 2019, when he joined the firm as group chief actuary. This followed 30 years in the data and actuarial sector of the (re)insurance industry, during which time he held senior positions at Zurich, Catlin and XL Catlin.

Convex CEO Paul Brand, said: “Brian has been instrumental in not only building and leading Convex’s successful actuarial and claims functions but in orchestrating Convex’s data agenda. His exceptional actuarial and leadership capabilities make his promotion to CFO a natural and well-deserved step. I am confident he will continue to make a positive and lasting impact on Convex’s future successes.” &

The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected].

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