Heritage Insurance has named Mel Russell as its new chief underwriting officer, executive vice president and director of sales and marketing, the company announced Tuesday.

Russell has 36 years of experience in the property/casualty business and most recently served as president of United Property & Casualty Insurance Co.

Russell began his career in Boston as a senior commercial lines underwriter with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. He spent the next 12 years in the New England market, initially with Fireman’s Fund and subsequently with General Accident Insurance Co. He then moved to the General Accident branch office in Orlando in 1989, where he ran the personal and commercial underwriting, loss control and premium audit departments.

In 1999 Russell was a founding employee at UPC Insurance, where he served as chief underwriting officer, corporate secretary, head of marketing and eventually as president. He played a significant role in taking UPC Insurance from a Florida-only startup company in 1999 to the major regional homeowners company it is today and guided its expansion into seven additional states.

“Our management team was already extremely experienced, but adding an industry icon like Mel Russell is a huge win for Heritage,” said CEO Richard Widdicombe in a statement. “Not only will Mel help provide another perspective for strategic decisions regarding our underwriting process, but he will continue to build upon the outstanding sales success we’ve seen thus far.”