7 People on the Move

Texas Mutual Insurance Company appoints a new board member, an Insurtech company welcomes COO and the RIMS risk manager of the year is announced.
By: | March 15, 2019 • 6 min read

RIMS Selects Risk Manager of the Year

Luke Figora, senior associate vice president and chief risk and compliance officer at Northwestern University, has been named the 2019 RIMS Risk Manager of the Year.

Luke Figora, chief risk and compliance officer, Northwestern University

RIMS, the risk management society®, will honor Figora on April 29th during the 2019 RIMS conference held in Boston, from April 28th through May 1st.

“Building a strong risk management program demands a blended approach that effectively addresses exposures while also supporting new, value-generating initiatives,” said RIMS CEO Mary Roth.

“Luke Figora masterfully captures this focus at Northwestern University,” she continued. “His accomplishments have resulted in tremendous cost-savings and have paved the way for many wonderful educational opportunities for its students. It is an honor to present Mr. Figora with the prestigious Risk Manager of the Year award.”

In addition, RIMS announced David Stills, vice president, global risk management, Walmart Inc., received the 2019 Risk Management Honor Role honor. He will also be recognized during the April conference.

FRISS Expands Leadership Team with Appointment of Vice President of Products

FRISS, a provider of AI-powered fraud and risk analytics for the P&C insurance industry, announced that Jim Murphy, CFE has joined their team as vice president of products for North America.

In this role, Murphy will drive the company’s North American product strategy and will leverage his nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance industry to help FRISS deliver fraud solutions to the market.


Before joining FRISS, Murphy was in similar roles at IBM, MetLife and Genpact.

“I see the impact that FRISS has on helping insurers make better decisions when it comes to risk and fraud, and I couldn’t pass on the chance to be a part of it,” Murphy said. “Fraud is an industry-wide problem and I’m excited to contribute toward evolving our innovative solutions and strengthening the company’s position as a market leader.”

FRISS was founded in 2006 and has launched its platform for insurers across 40 countries to date.

RT Specialty Promotes New Day Team Member to AVP

David M. Slaugenhoup has been promoted to assistant vice president within RT Specialty’s National Environmental and Construction Professional Liability Practice.

David M. Slaugenhoup, assistant vice president, RT New Day

Slaugenhoup joined RT’s New Day division with more than 10 years’ experience in environmental consulting. Since joining New Day in 2013, he has worked to help rebuild the company’s retail broker clients representing the construction, manufacturing and commercial real estate industries.

In his new role, Slaugenhoup will continue to strategically manage wide-ranging liability issues and exposures while expanding the organization’s book of business in these fields.

“David has been a tremendous asset to this team for the past six years,” said Jeff Slivka, president – National Environmental and Construction Professional Liability Practice.

“His grasp of the industry and deep understanding of each client’s risk management needs have been integral to our success and ongoing growth,” added Slivka. “We are extremely appreciative of his leadership skills, work ethic and burning desire to create new business.”

Hiscox Appoints Jennifer Nierenberg Metzger

Hiscox, the international specialist insurer, announced the appointment of Jennifer Nierenberg Metzger as head of product innovation and development in the U.S. Metzger will be based in New York and report to Eric Micheals, Hiscox USA’s chief underwriting officer.

Metzger will lead the design and construction of new insurance products and enhancements to Hiscox’s portfolio of specialty risk solutions in the U.S.

“Hiscox is committed to developing innovative products that help business owners mitigate risk,” said Micheals. “Jennifer’s extensive expertise will be instrumental in our ability to remain nimble and offer tailored solutions as risks continue to evolve.”

Metzger joins Hiscox with more than 20 years of experience in insurance and litigation. She most recently worked as a director at Nationwide in its professional liability and specialty programs underwriting group, where she was responsible for managing new program development and onboarding.

Prior to working at Nationwide, Metzger served as a senior claims counsel at CNA, where she was also the technical lead for matters involving banks and insurance companies.

Hiscox USA provides a variety of specialty risk solutions, including a broad spectrum of E&O, GL, cyber and data security, media liability, management liability, crime, kidnap & ransom, terrorism and commercial property insurance products.

The Prima Solutions-Effisoft Group Picks Up Christel Thorson 

Christel Thorson, vice president of sales, Prima Solutions-Effisoft

Christel Thorson has been appointed as vice president of sales for North America for Prima Solution-Effisoft. She will be responsible for sales and expansion in North America for the company’s WebXL reinsurance software and services.


She has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry and began her career in global business with major brokers such as Aon and Sedgwick. She spent the last 12 years in the IT sector, in charge of sales of reinsurance software at MSG Global Solutions Inc.

“I am very pleased to join the Prima Solutions-Effisoft Group,” Thorson said.

“Having tracked the rapid growth of Effisoft for years, I am well aware of the company’s commitment to customer service and to developing leading IT solutions for the reinsurance industry. I look forward to contributing to future successes within this extremely talented and innovative organization and this genuinely great team,” she added.

“We are very excited to welcome a proven sales leader to the Prima Solutions-Effisoft team. Christel’s vast experience and connections within the industry will allow us to continue our rapid expansion and growth in the North American reinsurance market,” stated Gregory Moliner, CEO of the Effisoft’s American subsidiary.

Insureon Hires Jeana Deninger as COO

Insureon, an online provider of small business insurance, announced that Jeana Deninger joins the firm as its chief operating officer. Deninger comes to Insureon from CoverHound, a San Francisco-based Insurtech company.

Jeana Deninger, COO, Insureon

“We’re very excited to welcome Jeana as the latest addition to our C-suite,” said Ted Devine, CEO, Insureon. “She’s results-driven, customer-focused and extremely execution-oriented. Jeana is also passionate about building high-performing teams, efficient operations and great company cultures. Under her leadership, I’m confident we’ll see further improvements to our operations and retail business strategy.”

With more than 20 years of experience in growing B2B and B2C businesses, Deninger has held SVP, CMO and COO positions across the Insurtech industry, developing effective strategies across marketing, strategic partnerships, sales and customer success. Her customer-centric business strategy has resulted in a leading Net Promoter Score in the insurance industry.

Deninger’s role at Insureon will be to innovate and challenge the status quo to deliver a best in class experience with seamless online and offline integration — making it easy for small business owners to compare and purchase the right insurance with the help of Insureon’s industry-leading technology and licensed agents who have a deep understanding of customer needs.

Former State Rep. Simmons Joins Texas Mutual Board

Ron Simmons has been appointed to the Texas Mutual Insurance Company board of directors by Gov. Greg Abbott. Simmons, from Carrollton, was confirmed by the Texas Senate on February 27. His board term for Texas Mutual — the state’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance — is set to expire on July 1, 2023.


Simmons is chairman of Retirement Advisors of America and a former state representative for District 65. He is a former board member of the American Legislative Exchange Council and served on the Education Commission of the States. Additionally, he is the former vice chairman of the Autism Society of America. Simmons earned a bachelor of arts degree in business from Dallas Baptist University.

Texas Mutual’s board members represent a diverse mix of Texas industries and regions. The governor, with the advice and consent of the Texas Senate, appoints five of the nine directors, including the chair. Policyholders elect the other four directors.

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

Exclusive | Hank Greenberg on China Trade, Starr’s Rapid Growth and 100th, Spitzer, Schneiderman and More

In a robust and frank conversation, the insurance legend provides unique insights into global trade, his past battles and what the future holds for the industry and his company.
By: | October 12, 2018 • 12 min read

In 1960, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg was hired as a vice president of C.V. Starr & Co. At age 35, he had already accomplished a great deal.

He served his country as part of the Allied Forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy and liberated the Nazi death camps. He fought again during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star. He held a law degree from New York Law School.


Now he was ready to make his mark on the business world.

Even C.V. Starr himself — who hired Mr. Greenberg and later hand-picked him as the successor to the company he founded in Shanghai in 1919 — could not have imagined what a mark it would be.

Mr. Greenberg began to build AIG as a Starr subsidiary, then in 1969, he took it public. The company would, at its peak, achieve a market cap of some $180 billion and cement its place as the largest insurance and financial services company in history.

This month, Mr. Greenberg travels to China to celebrate the 100th anniversary of C.V. Starr & Co. That visit occurs at a prickly time in U.S.-Sino relations, as the Trump administration levies tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods and China retaliates.

In September, Risk & Insurance® sat down with Mr. Greenberg in his Park Avenue office to hear his thoughts on the centennial of C.V. Starr, the dynamics of U.S. trade relationships with China and the future of the U.S. insurance industry as it faces the challenges of technology development and talent recruitment and retention, among many others. What follows is an edited transcript of that discussion.

R&I: One hundred years is quite an impressive milestone for any company. Celebrating the anniversary in China signifies the importance and longevity of that relationship. Can you tell us more about C.V. Starr’s history with China?

Hank Greenberg: We have a long history in China. I first went there in 1975. There was little there, but I had business throughout Asia, and I stopped there all the time. I’d stop there a couple of times a year and build relationships.

When I first started visiting China, there was only one state-owned insurance company there, PICC (the People’s Insurance Company of China); it was tiny at the time. We helped them to grow.

I also received the first foreign life insurance license in China, for AIA (The American International Assurance Co.). To date, there has been no other foreign life insurance company in China. It took me 20 years of hard work to get that license.

We also introduced an agency system in China. They had none. Their life company employees would get a salary whether they sold something or not. With the agency system of course you get paid a commission if you sell something. Once that agency system was installed, it went on to create more than a million jobs.

R&I: So Starr’s success has meant success for the Chinese insurance industry as well.

Hank Greenberg: That’s partly why we’re going to be celebrating that anniversary there next month. That celebration will occur alongside that of IBLAC (International Business Leaders’ Advisory Council), an international business advisory group that was put together when Zhu Rongji was the mayor of Shanghai [Zhu is since retired from public life]. He asked me to start that to attract foreign companies to invest in Shanghai.

“It turns out that it is harder [for China] to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

Shanghai and China in general were just coming out of the doldrums then; there was a lack of foreign investment. Zhu asked me to chair IBLAC and to help get it started, which I did. I served as chairman of that group for a couple of terms. I am still a part of that board, and it will be celebrating its 30th anniversary along with our 100th anniversary.


We have a good relationship with China, and we’re candid as you can tell from the op-ed I published in the Wall Street Journal. I’m told that my op-ed was received quite well in China, by both Chinese companies and foreign companies doing business there.

On August 29, Mr. Greenberg published an opinion piece in the WSJ reminding Chinese leaders of the productive history of U.S.-Sino relations and suggesting that Chinese leaders take pragmatic steps to ease trade tensions with the U.S.

R&I: What’s your outlook on current trade relations between the U.S. and China?

Hank Greenberg: As to the current environment, when you are in negotiations, every leader negotiates differently.

President Trump is negotiating based on his well-known approach. What’s different now is that President Xi (Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) made himself the emperor. All the past presidents in China before the revolution had two terms. He’s there for life, which makes things much more difficult.

R&I: Sure does. You’ve got a one- or two-term president talking to somebody who can wait it out. It’s definitely unique.

Hank Greenberg: So, clearly a lot of change is going on in China. Some of it is good. But as I said in the op-ed, China needs to be treated like the second largest economy in the world, which it is. And it will be the number one economy in the world in not too many years. That means that you can’t use the same terms of trade that you did 25 or 30 years ago.

They want to have access to our market and other markets. Fine, but you have to have reciprocity, and they have not been very good at that.

R&I: What stands in the way of that happening?

Hank Greenberg: I think there are several substantial challenges. One, their structure makes it very difficult. They have a senior official, a regulator, who runs a division within the government for insurance. He keeps that job as long as he does what leadership wants him to do. He may not be sure what they want him to do.

For example, the president made a speech many months ago saying they are going to open up banking, insurance and a couple of additional sectors to foreign investment; nothing happened.

The reason was that the head of that division got changed. A new administrator came in who was not sure what the president wanted so he did nothing. Time went on and the international community said, “Wait a minute, you promised that you were going to do that and you didn’t do that.”

So the structure is such that it is very difficult. China can’t react as fast as it should. That will change, but it is going to take time.

R&I: That’s interesting, because during the financial crisis in 2008 there was talk that China, given their more centralized authority, could react more quickly, not less quickly.

Hank Greenberg: It turns out that it is harder to change, because they have one leader. My guess is that we’ll work it out sooner or later. Trump and Xi have to meet. That will result in some agreement that will get to them and they will have to finish the rest of the negotiations. I believe that will happen.

R&I: Obviously, you have a very unique perspective and experience in China. For American companies coming to China, what are some of the current challenges?


Hank Greenberg: Well, they very much want to do business in China. That’s due to the sheer size of the country, at 1.4 billion people. It’s a very big market and not just for insurance companies. It’s a whole range of companies that would like to have access to China as easily as Chinese companies have access to the United States. As I said previously, that has to be resolved.

It’s not going to be easy, because China has a history of not being treated well by other countries. The U.S. has been pretty good in that way. We haven’t taken advantage of China.

R&I: Your op-ed was very enlightening on that topic.

Hank Greenberg: President Xi wants to rebuild the “middle kingdom,” to what China was, a great country. Part of that was his takeover of the South China Sea rock islands during the Obama Administration; we did nothing. It’s a little late now to try and do something. They promised they would never militarize those islands. Then they did. That’s a real problem in Southern Asia. The other countries in that region are not happy about that.

R&I: One thing that has differentiated your company is that it is not a public company, and it is not a mutual company. We think you’re the only large insurance company with that structure at that scale. What advantages does that give you?

Hank Greenberg: Two things. First of all, we’re more than an insurance company. We have the traditional investment unit with the insurance company. Then we have a separate investment unit that we started, which is very successful. So we have a source of income that is diverse. We don’t have to underwrite business that is going to lose a lot of money. Not knowingly anyway.

R&I: And that’s because you are a private company?

Hank Greenberg: Yes. We attract a different type of person in a private company.

R&I: Do you think that enables you to react more quickly?

Hank Greenberg: Absolutely. When we left AIG there were three of us. Myself, Howie Smith and Ed Matthews. Howie used to run the internal financials and Ed Matthews was the investment guy coming out of Morgan Stanley when I was putting AIG together. We started with three people and now we have 3,500 and growing.

“I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO, C.V. Starr & Co. Inc.

R&I:  You being forced to leave AIG in 2005 really was an injustice, by the way. AIG wouldn’t have been in the position it was in 2008 if you had still been there.


Hank Greenberg: Absolutely not. We had all the right things in place. We met with the financial services division once a day every day to make sure they stuck to what they were supposed to do. Even Hank Paulson, the Secretary of Treasury, sat on the stand during my trial and said that if I’d been at the company, it would not have imploded the way it did.

R&I: And that fateful decision the AIG board made really affected the course of the country.

Hank Greenberg: So many people lost all of their net worth. The new management was taking on billions of dollars’ worth of risk with no collateral. They had decimated the internal risk management controls. And the government takeover of the company when the financial crisis blew up was grossly unfair.

From the time it went public, AIG’s value had increased from $300 million to $180 billion. Thanks to Eliot Spitzer, it’s now worth a fraction of that. His was a gross misuse of the Martin Act. It gives the Attorney General the power to investigate without probable cause and bring fraud charges without having to prove intent. Only in New York does the law grant the AG that much power.

R&I: It’s especially frustrating when you consider the quality of his own character, and the scandal he was involved in.

In early 2008, Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging a meeting with a prostitute at a Washington Hotel and resigned shortly thereafter.

Hank Greenberg: Yes. And it’s been successive. Look at Eric Schneiderman. He resigned earlier this year when it came out that he had abused several women. And this was after he came out so strongly against other men accused of the same thing. To me it demonstrates hypocrisy and abuse of power.

Schneiderman followed in Spitzer’s footsteps in leveraging the Martin Act against numerous corporations to generate multi-billion dollar settlements.

R&I: Starr, however, continues to thrive. You said you’re at 3,500 people and still growing. As you continue to expand, how do you deal with the challenge of attracting talent?

Hank Greenberg: We did something last week.

On September 16th, St. John’s University announced the largest gift in its 148-year history. The Starr Foundation donated $15 million to the school, establishing the Maurice R. Greenberg Leadership Initiative at St. John’s School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.

Hank Greenberg: We have recruited from St. John’s for many, many years. These are young people who want to be in the insurance industry. They don’t get into it by accident. They study to become proficient in this and we have recruited some very qualified individuals from that school. But we also recruit from many other universities. On the investment side, outside of the insurance industry, we also recruit from Wall Street.

R&I: We’re very interested in how you and other leaders in this industry view technology and how they’re going to use it.

Hank Greenberg: I think technology can play a role in reducing operating expenses. In the last 70 years, you have seen the expense ratio of the industry rise, and I’m not sure the industry can afford a 35 percent expense ratio. But while technology can help, some additional fundamental changes will also be required.

R&I: So as the pre-eminent leader of the insurance industry, what do you see in terms of where insurance is now and where it’s going?

Hank Greenberg: The country and the world will always need insurance. That doesn’t mean that what we have today is what we’re going to have 25 years from now.

How quickly the change comes and how far it will go will depend on individual companies and individual countries. Some will be more brave than others. But change will take place, there is no doubt about it.


More will go on in space, there is no question about that. We’re involved in it right now as an insurance company, and it will get broader.

One of the things you have to worry about is it’s now a nuclear world. It’s a more dangerous world. And again, we have to find some way to deal with that.

So, change is inevitable. You need people who can deal with change.

R&I:  Is there anything else, Mr. Greenberg, you want to comment on?

Hank Greenberg: I think I’ve covered it. &

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