Assurant Inc., an insurer of consumer electronics and foreclosed homes, promoted Eric Greenman to oversee a $16 billion investment portfolio.

Greenman was named chief investment officer, effective Aug. 15, the New York-based company said today in a statement. He replaces Christopher Pagano, who will become chief financial officer in a switch that was announced in May. Greenman, 46, has been head of fixed income since 2004.

“Eric has played a key role in developing and executing Assurant’s successful investment strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Robert Pollock said in the statement. Greenman’s “financial expertise, extensive experience and knowledge of Assurant will ensure a smooth transition.”

Insurers have been counting on new chief investment officers to manage their portfolios as low interest rates pressure income from assets held to back policyholder obligations. Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. promoted Brion Johnson to CIO in May.

Assurant’s portfolio includes about $11.8 billion of fixed- income securities, with investment-grade corporate debt being the primary asset class.

‘Relative Value’

“We are always focused on A and BBB corporate bonds,” Greenman said in an e-mail today. “That being said, we invest across the credit spectrum and the capital structure as we see relative value opportunities.”

Assurant had a $1.25 billion investment in commercial- mortgage loans as of June 30, according to its most recent quarterly filing. The company also invests in preferred equity and private-placement securities, Greenman said.

The insurer slipped 0.5 percent to $63.44 at 4:15 p.m. in New York. Assurant has dropped 4.4 percent this year, compared with the 3.2 percent decline of the 21-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Insurance Index.

Greenman was director of quantitative strategies at New York Life Investment Management from 2001 to 2004, according to the statement. He has a bachelor’s degree from Babson College and an MBA from Columbia University, Assurant said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Gilblom in New York at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at Steven Crabill