Assurant revamped its operating structure and made a new senior management appointments – changes designed to help the company grow more quickly and increase its use of technology.
“As the needs of our customers change, we will continue to evolve how we operate as a global operation,” Alan Colberg, president and CEO of the New York-based provider of specialty and niche market insurance products, said in prepared remarks.
Assurant, in part, said it will strengthen its Management committee with a goal to accelerate decision-making and global growth. This involves, in part, adding three new leaders to the group: Kathy McDonald, president, Global Specialty, Keith Meier, president, International and Tammy Schultz, president, Global Preneed.
Assurant credits McDonald with spearheading the growth of Assurant’s multifamily housing business, which now supports over two million renters in the United States. McDonald and her team have also been on the forefront of developing offerings to support the rapid growth in the sharing economy with strong results, Assurant said. As president of International, Meier has led the company’s efforts to deepen its footprint in select international markets to support long-term profitable growth. Most recently, he oversaw the company’s successful mobile expansion in Japan. Schultz leads Assurant’s Global Preneed segment, which maintains a market-leading position in the prefunded funeral insurance business in the U.S. and Canada.
“The new management committee appointments underscore the strong bench of talent within Assurant, while also recognizing the benefits of additional perspectives and experience as we look to further capitalize on growth opportunities,” Colberg said.
Assurant said it also hopes to accelerate transformation of its global technology and operations with some other key tweaks.
Gene Mergelmeyer, chief operating officer, will assume leadership of the company’s Global Technology organization, building on his previous experience leading Assurant’s corporate technology team. He will transition his business segment oversight responsibilities to Keith Demmings, president of Global Lifestyle; Michael Campbell, president of Global Housing; and Tammy Schultz, president of Global Preneed, all of whom will now report to Alan Colberg.
As well, Mergelmeyer will have oversight for operations transformation and other large strategic initiatives with a focus on driving greater efficiencies through standardization and deployment of technology, while also helping deliver an enhanced customer experience.
Joe Surber will report to Mergelmeyer, assuming the role of senior vice president, global technology officer, as of January 1, 2019. Ajay Waghray, chief technology officer, will be leaving the company as a result of these changes.
“Technology has always been a key competitive strength of Assurant and a strategic enabler for profitable growth across the organization,” Colberg said. “Given the pace of change, we see opportunities to be more efficient in how we operate and to accelerate innovation and speed-to-delivery to provide a better customer experience.”
Assurant is pursuing these and other changes in the wake of at least one planned retirement: Chief Risk Officer Christopher Pagano plans to step down on April 1, 2019 after 23 years with the company. Pagano joined Assurant (called Fortis at the time) in 1996, and the company credits him with expanding its risk management capabilities around the world. During his time at the company, he has also served as chief investment officer and chief financial officer. R. David Conner, a 22-year Assurant veteran, will take on the role of senior vice president, global head of risk, as of Jan. 1, 2019. He’ll report to Bob Lonergan, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, a changed designed to better integrate risk into strategic decision making across the company.