Thanks to the experts who shared their knowledge with us in 2022!
Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer, Principal Financial Group®
Meg Anderson leads the Information Security & Risk team for Principal Financial Group® in the role of VP-Chief Information Security Officer. She drives information security strategy for the global Fortune 500 company, including security operations, identity and access management, data protection, governance, risk and compliance.
Meg participates on a wide variety of CISO councils, is a board member of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) where she chairs the strategy committee, and is on the FinCyber advisory group for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Before the role of VP-CISO, Meg acquired over twenty years of technical and leadership experience in application development.
Meg graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management Information Systems.
Vice President, Head of Specialty Property, GuideOne Insurance
Batten joined GuideOne National from FM Global, where he most recently served as Vice President, Manager Global Services Americas. In that role, he was responsible for leading the Global Services – Americas team to provide a diverse range of risk management and insurance services across the region. Batten held various leadership roles during his 21 years at FM Global, and he gained valuable technical and marketing experience in global markets. Batten leads and develops GuideOne National's Specialty Property Underwriting team by providing strategic oversight in response to market trends and company goals.
W. Robert Berkley, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer, W. R. Berkley Corporation
Rob Berkley is President and Chief Executive Officer of W. R. Berkley Corporation. He joined WRBC in 1997 and served as President and Chief Operating Officer from 2009 to 2015; Executive Vice President from 2005 to 2009; and Vice President for strategy and acquisitions from 2000 to 2002. He was Executive Vice President of Berkley International from 2000 to 2001 and President from 2001 to 2002. From 2002 to 2005, he was Senior Vice President of Specialty Operations and was responsible as well for international operations.
Prior to joining Berkley, he was an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Company.
Rob is a director of W. R. Berkley Corporation and the W. R. Berkley Corporation Charitable Foundation.
He graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in finance, and serves on the Georgetown University Board of Trustees and the Board of Advisors of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown. He also serves as Chair on the board of Brunswick School, St. John’s University School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science; Chairman of the Greenwich Hospital Board of Trustees, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and The Institutes Board of Trustees; and is a Trustee of Yale New Haven Health Systems and member of the Yale New Haven Health Systems Investment Committee.
Terry E. Branstad
Former U.S. Ambassador to China and Governor of Iowa
Terry E. Branstad is the former U.S. Ambassador to China and the longest serving governor in American history.
A native of Leland, Iowa, Branstad was elected three times to the Iowa House of Representatives, as Iowa’s lieutenant governor in 1978, and as Iowa’s youngest governor in 1983. As the state’s chief executive and longest serving governor from 1983 to 1999, Governor Branstad weathered some of Iowa’s worst economic turmoil during the farm crisis of the 1980s, while helping lead the state’s resurgence to a booming economy in the 1990s.
At the end of his tenure, Iowa enjoyed record employment, an unprecedented $900 million budget surplus, and the enactment of historic government overhauls that led to greater efficiencies in state government. As a result of Governor Branstad’s hands-on, round-the-clock approach to economic development, Iowa’s unemployment rate went from 8.5% when he took office to a record low 2.5% when he left office in 1999.
Following his four terms as governor, Branstad served as president of Des Moines University (DMU). During his six-year tenure, he was able to grow the university into a world-class educational facility and send its graduates to offer healthcare in all 50 U.S. states while also becoming the first college in the U.S. to receive the Platinum Level of Recognition from the Wellness Council of America.
In October of 2009, sensing a need for change in the way state government operates and wanting to “lead Iowa’s comeback,” Branstad retired from DMU and was re-elected governor in 2010.
During his second tenure as Iowa governor from 2010 to 2017, Governor Branstad signed historic investments in Iowa’s infrastructure into law, including Iowa’s roads and bridges, as well as the innovative Connect Every Acre Plan that expanded high-speed broadband internet to Iowa’s agriculture industry, schools, businesses and homes.
On December 7, 2016, Governor Branstad announced that he had accepted the nomination from President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China. He was sworn in as Ambassador on May 24, 2017.
Ambassador Branstad served as U.S. Ambassador to China during one of the most challenging periods in recent U.S.-China history since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in 1979. Under his leadership during unprecedented crises including the COVID-19 outbreak and the Chinese government’s closure of the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, Ambassador Branstad led the largest drawdown of a single diplomatic mission in U.S. State Department history while evacuating over 1,300 staff members from China. He also created the Personal Protective Equipment for America Taskforce, which delivered 5,000 tons of urgently needed medical supplies to the U.S. to combat COVID-19.
During his tenure, Ambassador Branstad’s two greatest achievements were the signing of the historic Phase One Trade Agreement between the U.S. and China in January of 2020 and successfully lobbying the Chinese government to stem the flow of fentanyl into America. The Phase One Trade deal secured $200 billion in Chinese commitments to purchase U.S. goods and services in the agriculture, manufacturing, energy, and other sectors, achieved stricter enforcement of Intellectual Property protections, and opened up China’s restrictive financial sector to U.S. banks and other financial services companies. Moreover, the Chinese government’s decision to schedule fentanyl as a controlled substance in May of 2019 virtually stopped fentanyl shipments into the U.S., saving thousands of American lives.
In addition to serving as U.S. Ambassador, Branstad has also served as the Co-Chair of the Council of Governors appointed by President Barack Obama, as Commissioner and Chairman respectively of the White House Fellows Program and Commission for Excellence in Special Education appointed by President George W. Bush, and as Trustee of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
Branstad received a B.A. from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from Drake University Law School. Of the many factors behind his continued success in politics, academia, and the nonprofit and corporate board worlds, Ambassador Branstad has always stuck to one personal mantra he often repeats, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Partner, Strategy Meets Action
Mark is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward-thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methodologies, fresh ideas, creative conceptualizations, and ability to incorporate InsurTech and transformational tech in business strategies are unparalleled. He also leads SMA’s research program, publishing 25–30 research reports per year and conducting various custom research projects for insurer and vendor clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, transformational technologies, customer experience and digital strategies has earned him a ranking of one of the "Top Global Influencers in InsurTech" by InsurTech News and Onalytica, as well as a place in the ten finalists for the "Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award."
Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing and business strategy, and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.
Chief Human Resources Officer, American Enterprise
Meg Brown is Chief Human Resources Officer at American Enterprise. In her role, she is responsible for all aspects of our human resources strategy, including organization development, facilities, talent acquisition and management, and employee engagement.
With more than 25 years of leadership experience and 17 years at AEG, Meg brings a unique combination of deep operational knowledge and a passion to positively impact culture. In her previous role as Chief Administrative Officer, Meg led and implemented organizational effectiveness strategies to drive business results while building a high-performing team.
Prior to joining the company in 2003, Meg served for 15 years as Manager at Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Iowa.
Meg holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from St. Olaf and a Master of Arts from the University of Northern Iowa. She has achieved AHIP, LOMA and CLOP designations.
Director, Idaho Department of Insurance
Director Dean Cameron was reappointed by Governor Brad Little to serve as Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, effective January 4, 2019.
Director Cameron was first appointed to serve by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, effective June 15, 2015.
Since his appointment, Director Cameron has been active in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), serving as Chair of the Western Zone, Chair of the Annuity Suitability Working Group, Chair the NAIC B Committee on Health Insurance and Managed Care, and the B/E Long-Term Care Task Force. He is now President-elect of the NAIC.
Director Cameron is a third-generation insurance agent working for 32 years, and has 28 years of experience serving in state government with 25 years in the Idaho State Senate. He and his wife, Linda, have three children and six grandchildren.
Co-Founder & CMO, CareValidate Inc.
Interviewed by CNN, the NY Times, SXM Doctor Radio, American Heart, Dietetic and Psychological Associations for his work on digital health, Dr. Chhabra is a physician, engineer and entrepreneur. He is the recipient of multiple awards from organizations like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Google Research and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for his mission to make healthcare content more useful for everyone. He is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at CareValidate Inc., where he oversees the caregiver journey and user experience teams.
Government Relations & Process Improvement Vice President, Farm Bureau Financial Services
Brett L. Clausen is the Government Relations & Process Improvement Vice President for Farm Bureau Financial Services, where he started work as an adjuster in 1990. He has served as president of the Arizona CPCU Society Chapter; vice president of the Professional Experience Resource Group of the CPCU Society, a board member and secretary of the Arizona Insurance Institute, a member of the Arizona Insurance Claims Association and a member of the National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research; and on several advisory committees for insurance-related companies. Clausen has completed Lean Six Sigma Champions training and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He has a master's degree from Boston University and holds the CPCU®, AIC™, AIS™, API™, ARe™, AU™ and CIC designations.
Colorado Insurance Commissioner
Michael Conway was appointed as Colorado Insurance Commissioner by Governor Jared Polis on December 21, 2018, and was confirmed to this position by the Colorado State Senate on January 22, 2019. Prior to this, Conway served as interim Commissioner, a position he was appointed to by Governor Hickenlooper in January 2018. As Commissioner, Conway serves as the chief executive of the Division of Insurance and oversees the regulation of the insurance industry in Colorado. His role brings together consumers, the insurance industry and other stakeholders to create an inclusive, firm and fair regulatory approach to all lines of insurance such as auto, health, homeowner, life, property and casualty, title and workers’ compensation.
Prior to his appointment, Conway served as the Division of Insurance Deputy Commissioner for Consumer and Compliance Services since March 2016. In this time, he was instrumental in developing and guiding the Division’s strategies regarding health insurance during what was a tumultuous time for that industry in Colorado and the nation. He advised the previous Commissioner and the Governor’s staff regarding the possible implications of federal changes to the regulation of health insurance here in Colorado.
Conway’s duties also entailed appearing before state legislative committees to advocate for the Division’s positions regarding insurance and its regulation. He cultivated relationships with consumer groups and the insurance industry to create a regulatory environment that helped Colorado consumers but was a fair, level playing field for the industry. He also worked within the Division to establish objectives that provided for better protection of insurance consumers.
Before joining the Division, Conway was an assistant Attorney General for the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office from 2010 to 2016, where he represented the Division of Insurance in all facets of the regulation of the insurance industry including mergers and acquisitions of insurance companies, insurer rehabilitation/liquidation, and producer and company licensure litigation. He served three Commissioners of Insurance during that time. While in the Attorney General’s Office, he worked with the Colorado Attorney General Pro Bono Family Law Clinic, advising clients on matters of divorce and child custody.
Conway has also worked as an attorney for Colorado Legal Services, advocating for indigent clients regarding housing rights, homelessness prevention, evictions and subsidized housing.
With the exception of three years he spent in Miami for law school, Conway has called Colorado home for nearly 20 years since moving to the state to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Senior Vice President, Programs & Specialty, GuideOne Insurance
Rick leads GuideOne’s Programs and Specialty segments and is responsible for overseeing the infrastructure, profitability and development of new Program and Specialty business, in addition to guiding the success of CGA Insurance Services. Rick brought three decades of property and casualty insurance experience to GuideOne when he joined the company in 2017. Much of his previous experience focused on program development and program management. Rick also gained rich experience and leadership skills by spending time at companies including W. R. Berkley and QBE North America.
Evan G. Daniels
Director, Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions
Evan G. Daniels was appointed director of the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions on July 10, 2020. Before his appointment, he served as Chief Counsel of the Technology, Innovation and Privacy Unit at the Office of Arizona Attorney General.
Director Daniels has extensive experience in innovation policy, fintech, consumer protection, government affairs and data privacy. At the Attorney General’s Office, Director Daniels managed several teams engaged in litigation, investigations and in providing subject matter expertise, including oversight of Arizona’s first-in-the-nation regulatory “sandbox” for fintech, which since has been recognized as a national model that several other states have enacted.
Head of Transamerica’s Retail Affiliates
President & CEO, World Financial Group
With more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Tom brings discipline, knowledge and passion to his position has Head of Transamerica’s Retail Affiliates.
In his current role, Tom is responsible for directing the strategic development, growth and day-to-day operations for Transamerica’s retail insurance agencies: World Financial Group Insurance Agency and United Financial Services doing business as Transamerica Agency Network in the United States and, in Canada, World Financial Group Insurance Agency of Canada. In addition to these agencies, he leads both Transamerica Financial Advisors (TFA) in the United States and WFG Securities (WFGS) in Canada. Both TFA and WFGS serve the securities-licensed professionals associates with Transamerica’s retail insurance agencies. With other 50,000 licensed agents in North America, he understands that success for these organizations is linked to its agents doing what is right on behalf of the customer; helping customers save, invest and protect what’s most important o them; and, ultimately, helping them retire with independence and dignity.
Before leading TRA, Tom held multiple leadership roles with Transamerica, including national sales manager of investments and managing director of workplace and individual markets. He joined Transamerica in 2008 as division sales manager and was promoted to national sales manager of mutual funds in 2013.
Tom earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University and began his financial career in 1998. He currently is pursuing his MBA at the University of Kansas.
The son of a Marine colonel, Tom understands hard work, discipline and a demand for excellence are the keys to personal and professional success. He enjoyed two years as a professional soccer player and remains committed to giving back to his community.
Tom lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and son. On weekends, he can be found on the sideline at his son’s soccer game or riding his road bike through the Southeast.
Commissioner of Securities & Insurance, Montana State Auditor
Troy Downing was elected Montana State Auditor in 2020. As the State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Downing overseas the criminal justice agency protecting Montana’s consumers by ensuring fairness, transparency and access for two of the state’s largest industries—securities and insurance. As Commissioner, Downing is committed to consumer education and advocacy, holding bad actors accountable, lowering insurance costs and reducing unnecessary regulations for Montana businesses. Due to its favorable regulatory environment overseen by Downing, Montana is one fo the largest captive domiciles in the United States.
As State Auditor, Downing also serves on the Montana Board of Land Commissioners overseeing management and stewardship of state trust lands of the primary benefit of funding Montana’s public education system.
Downing began his career in education as a research scientists and educator at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. In the 1990s, he founded a technology startup company that he successfully merged with Yahoo! Inc. Downing then went on to help other startup companies succeed through seed funding and mentorship. After his career in the tech industry, Downing founded a nationwide commercial insurance company and a nationwide real estate firm that creates, sells and manages real estate investment securities.
Downing’s strong sense of public service led him to enlist after 9/11 in the U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard, serving eight years in a Combat Search and Rescue squadron and serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Today, he continues his service to veterans as an advisory board member to and volunteer for the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, a Montana-based organization that uses fly fishing and Montana’s natural beauty as a simple, but powerfully effective, healing therapy for post-9/11 combat veterans and their families. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a Montana distillery co-owner, he produced and distributed millions of hand sanitizer bottles across the nation.
Downing and his wife, Heather, have four children and currently live in Helena, MT.
Superintendent of Insurance, Rhode Island
Beth Dwyer was appointed Superintendent of Insurance on January 11, 2016.
Prior to this appointment, she had been employed by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation for 15 years, first as General Counsel to the Insurance Division and later as Associate Director. Prior to government service, Ms. Dwyer was engaged in private law practice in California and Rhode Island specializing in litigation and insurance regulation.
Ms. Dwyer is a member of the NAIC and has served as chair and vice chair of various committees, task forces and working groups. She currently serves as vice chair of the Financial Condition (E) Committee, co-vice chair of the Climate and Resiliency (EX) Task Force, and secretary/treasurer of the National Insurance Producers Registry (NIPR) Board of Directors.
Ms. Dwyer is a past president of the Rhode Island Women's Bar Association and served on the Rhode Island Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Gender in the Courts. She was awarded the 2010 Rhode Island Attorney General's Justice Award for Consumer Protection. She completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Education.
Ms. Dwyer holds the designations of Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) from The American College and Senior Professional in Insurance Regulation (SPIR) from the NAIC. Ms. Dwyer was admitted to practice law in California, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, the Federal District Courts of California and Rhode Island and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She received a JD from Pepperdine University and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from Providence College.
Ted Epps is a Principal in EY's Financial Services Organization (FSO), responsible for FSO Consulting's Global Technology and Transformation practices focused on Life Insurance, Annuities and Group Benefits. He has spent the past 20 years partnering with leading carriers and solution providers to modernize and digitally transform how we buy and service individual and group insurance contracts. He is passionate about our business and looks forward to a future where the experience for customers, producers and associates rivals that of the most modern, digital industries.
Throughout his career, Ted has helped carriers provide innovative products and solutions, while addressing legacy challenges that make it difficult for carriers to take advantage of digital investments. He has depth in both technology and business operations, and has spent years in both the individual and group insurance markets. Common challenges that he has helped address during his career include:
- Modernizing core operating environments, including developing strategies for enhancing and consolidating policy administration systems, implementing leading solutions, enhancing legacy integration and data architectures, and converting legacy platforms to new environments
- Transforming the new business process, leveraging modern solutions and analytics to reduce the time needed to deliver a policy from days, weeks or months to minutes
- Increasing connectivity between group carriers and employers and employees, providing a more seamless experience for new business, billing, and claims, including leave and absence management
- Evaluating and selecting leading technologies for carriers to partner with as they progress through digital transformation, including core systems such as new business, policy administration, claims, billing and compensation, innovative technologies such as low code/no code, and the latest in fintech solutions
- Defining future state business and technology architectures that take advantage of the latest in integration, data and cloud environments
- Developing strategies for and Implementing next wave technologies, such as distributed ledger and blockchain, that provide opportunities to further transform how the insurance industry operates
Ted is excited for what the future holds for our industry, and he looks forward to partnering with you to drive the change that is needed to provide the modern, digital experience that will accelerate growth and meet the demands of customers and producers today and for years to come.
Director, Ohio Department of Insurance
Judi French was appointed to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance on February 8, 2021, by Governor Mike DeWine. French serves as a member of Governor DeWine’s cabinet and is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of the department.
Prior to becoming Director, French served as a justice of the Ohio Supreme Court and was the 10th woman to serve in that role in Ohio’s history. During her eight years on the court, Justice French participated in thousands of decisions and authored more than 100 opinions. In addition, she successfully pursued reforms to improve Ohio’s judiciary and justice system, and was appointed by the U.S. Chief Justice to serve on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee.
For nearly three decades, Director French has served the people of Ohio. Before becoming a justice, she served the state as an appellate judge, chief legal counsel to the governor, an assistant attorney general, and a state government lawyer. As an attorney representing the State of Ohio, she made two arguments before the United States Supreme Court.
Prior to joining the public sector, French worked as an attorney with the Columbus law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, specializing in environmental law. She also served as in-house counsel for a large manufacturing company.
Director French received three degrees from The Ohio State University: a BA in political science, an MA in history (with a concentration in military history and strategic studies), and a JD, with honors. She is a member of the Moritz College of Law National Council, and in 2018 was awarded the college's Distinguished Jurist Award for her work on the bench.
French currently resides in Grandview Heights, near Columbus, with her husband. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Beam Dental
Alex Frommeyer is the co-founder and CEO of Beam Dental, a digitally native dental benefits provider that incorporates dental hygiene behavior into policy pricing. Beam Dental combines an easy-to-use online insurance platform, AI-powered underwriting and the connected Beam Toothbrush for better overall wellness. Beam has raised over $160 million in venture capital funding and is the only digital-first company within the $75 billion dental insurance industry. Beam also offers vision insurance, powered by VSP, and group term life coverage for employers of all sizes in partnership with Nationwide Insurance. Beam is available in 41 states around the U.S. and is accepted at over 400,000 access points nationwide.
Author and Partner, Insurance Nerds
Rob Galbraith has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry in a variety of positions in the fields of P&C insurance, banking and investment markets. He holds a Masters of Science in insurance management from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Michigan State University.
Rob earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2003 and has served in leadership roles both at the national and local chapter level. He was elected to serve on the CPCU Society's Leadership Council from 2016–2018 and previously served on the industry Advisory Board to The Institutes. Rob received the Loman Award for outstanding service to the Alamo Chapter of the CPCU Society in 2009. He has also earned the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) designations from The American College of Financial Services.
Rob is a recognized thought leader on P&C insurance who is a published author and media contributor. Named by Nick Lamparelli as 'The Most Interesting Man In Insurance" for his travels and commentary, Rob is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and corporate events. He has been ranked as high as #6 on the InsurTech London Top 100 Influencers. Rob's passion is finding ways to provide insurance products to all who have a need through innovative approaches that leverage the latest in technology, building strong relationships with a diverse network of people from a variety of disciplines and educating the public on the risks they face.
Executive Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Homesteaders Life Company
Nick is responsible for proactively seeking out and developing opportunities to optimize company growth through innovation that is consistent with Homesteaders’ core values, purpose and vision. A proven change agent, strategist and executive leader, Gerhart previously served as Commissioner of the Iowa Insurance Division, where he transformed that department and increased the State of Iowa’s international prominence through his thought leadership and the creation of the Global Insurance Symposium held annually in Des Moines. He also previously served as Chief Administrative Officer for FBL Financial.
Senior Vice President, American Property Casualty Insurance Association
Robert Gordon is the senior vice president, policy, research and international for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA). He is responsible for working with APCIA members to develop and frame public policy positions on the opportunities and challenges facing the property casualty insurance industry at the state, federal and international levels. Gordon also coordinates policy support for APCIA's extensive state and federal advocacy efforts, media outreach and information products. He held the same title with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) prior to its merger with the American Insurance Association (AIA) on January 1, 2019.
Prior to joining PCI in August 2008, Gordon was the parliamentarian, senior counsel and ethics compliance officer for the Committee on Financial Services in the U.S. House of Representatives. Through his work, Gordon provided strategic counsel on the Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the State Modernization and Regulatory Transparency Act and the Risk Retention Act. He also contributed to policy issues relevant to the property casualty insurance industry such as data security, privacy, liability reform and the Fair Credit Reporting Act amendments.
While with the Committee on Energy & Commerce, Gordon developed and negotiated legislation on issues ranging from banking to health care to consumer safety, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. He has a long history of influencing policy development and leading research initiatives from his early work as legal counsel for Representative David Dreier (R-CA) and as an associate with Wiley, Rein & Fielding.
Executive Director, Gamma Iota Sigma
Grace Grant, Executive Director for Gamma Iota Sigma, has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 10 years of insurance industry non-profit leadership. She started her career in financial planning, before moving into various roles with the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, an affiliate of The Institutes, as the Director of Public Policymaker Education, where she worked with RMI Faculty across the country to develop insurance information seminars for state and federal leaders. She joined Gamma Iota Sigma in 2013 as the SVP of Chapter Operations and lead the robust growth of the organization, expanding the number of collegiate chapters from 57 to 97 and more than doubling the membership base of students from 2,000 to 6,000. She spearheaded the launch of its inclusive membership initiative to engage students of all majors and backgrounds for insurance careers, and championed a significant expansion of the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy including ground-breaking diversity events and initiatives to equip HBCU, female, LGBTQ, Hispanic, and other students of a variety of underrepresented groups for success in the insurance industry.
She received a bachelor’s degree in business management with a pre-law concentration and economics minor from Wittenberg University, before pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration from Ashland University.
In her career and beyond, Grace is a fierce advocate for philanthropy and community. She serves on multiple industry committees and boards and gives back to her local community as the Founder and Commissioner of the Little League, PTO President at the elementary school of her five children, and church and community volunteer. Grace was recognized by Insurance Business America on the 2021 Elite Women list and the 2022 Hot 100.
Vice President & Head of Platform, Manchester Story
Jason Gross is an award-winning innovation, strategy and technology leader with over 20 years of experience leading organizations and transformation initiatives for three multi-billion dollar property & casualty insurance and financial services companies. As Vice President and Head of Platform for ManchesterStory (a premier early-stage InsurTech venture capital firm based in Des Moines, Iowa), Jason is leading efforts to accelerate the engagement between our insurance carrier “Strategic Partners”, our portfolio companies, and the industry at-large.
Prior to joining ManchesterStory, he served as Vice President of Innovation for a top-60 carrier that partnered with over two-dozen insurtech companies, invested in nine and was awarded the InnovationLeader award from InnovationIowa, two Best-In-Class Innovation Awards from NAMIC and the Corporate Innovator Award from the Plug and Play Tech Center. Jason also has 10 years of experience working in public policy, including serving as the Assistant Chief Clerk of the Iowa House of Representatives, Executive Director of the Iowa Commission on National and Community Service and as Executive Director of Iowa Citizens for a Sound Economy.
He is currently Co-Chair of the Global Insurance Symposium, has served as Vice Chair of the Global Insurance Accelerator, as a Founder on the Advisory Council of the InsurTech Alliance and served on the Board of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.
In addition to his professional activities, Jason has been an advocate for the homeless, developing leaders, and the arts; serving as Board Chair of Iowa’s largest homeless shelter (Central Iowa Shelter and Services), Chair of the Leadership Iowa Board of Governors and on the Board of Trustees of the Des Moines Art Center.
CEO, Victory XR
Steve Grubbs is the founder and CEO of VictoryXR. After founding the company in 2016, Steve lead the VXR team to winning the Global Education Innovation of the Year award in 2021. Before founding VXR, Steve founded two other successful ventures.
Steve served in the State of Iowa Legislator from 1991–1997, sitting as Chair of the House Education Committee. He holds a B.B.A. in finance and J.D. from the University of Iowa.
Head of Worldwide Business and Marketing Development, Life Insurance Industry, Amazon Web Services
Chad Hersh is currently leading AWS’s business and market development for life insurance/pensions/group benefits carriers globally.
Prior to this he was leading the L&A/Group Benefits practice for Capgemini in North America and the UK. He was formerly Executive Vice President at Majesco, a leading provider of core systems for insurers in life/annuities/health/pensions and property/casualty lines of business globally, where he led the life businesses globally and worked on strategic direction for the property/casualty and global opportunities. Previously he was a Managing Director within Novarica's insurance research practice.
Past roles include serving as a senior analyst at Celent, as the e-Business Director at AIG American General, where he built and managed the e-business department for the domestic life insurance division, and several years in IT and management consulting Luminant Worldwide, Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and EY.
Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Principal Financial Group®
Daniel Houston is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Principal Financial Group®. He is responsible for overall management of the company.
Houston joined Principal® in 1984 in Dallas. He has held several management positions, being named senior vice president in 2000, executive vice president in 2006 and president of Retirement and Income Solutions in 2008. He was named president and chief operating officer in 2014 before assuming his current role in 2015.
Houston is a member of the Business Roundtable. He is past chair of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and is chair of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails initiative and serves on several boards including Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), Iowa State University Business School Dean’s Advisory Council, Future Ready Iowa, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), Greater Des Moines Partnership, and Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. In 2019, the Greater Des Moines Committee named Houston to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in recognition of his significant contributions to the enhancement and development of the state’s economy.
Houston received his bachelor's degree from Iowa State University in 1984. He has appeared before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging to discuss the importance of educating the workforce about the financial needs in retirement. Houston joined the joint forum of U.S. Senate Committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to discuss “Private-Sector Retirement Savings Plans: What Does the Future Hold?” He also authored a chapter in “The Upside of Aging” published by John Wiley & Sons in 2014, on the keys to achieving financial security in retirement.
Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath
Pat Hughes is a strategic adviser, public policy advocate and regulatory attorney for insurance industry clients across all product lines and services. Clients turn to Pat when important regulatory, legislative and policy matters in various arenas — state and federal agencies, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), legislatures and international regulatory bodies — create challenges or opportunities for their businesses. He leverages a dynamic, multi-jurisdictional team that is able to deploy proactive national and local regulatory and public policy strategies where clients’ needs are most complex and significant.
Pat served 10 years as a senior regulator and attorney with the State of Illinois. His experience includes:
- General Counsel to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which then included the Division of Insurance.
- Chief Legal Counsel to the Office of the Governor, where he oversaw regulatory affairs and directed legal representation for 45 executive branch agencies and several hundred attorneys and outside counsel.
- Special Deputy Receiver and CEO with the Office of the Special Deputy, administering the receiverships of 47 companies in liquidation, rehabilitation and conservation.
- NAIC leader, chairing NAIC working groups on critical issues, including Dodd-Frank implementation and complex receivership oversight.
CEO & Co-Founder, LAIIER
Matt Johnson is passionate about the potential for smart materials, smart surfaces and IoT to transform the built environment. Matt is the CEO of LAIIER, which has developed a suite of ultra-thin printed sensors that connect the surfaces of the smart building to the cloud—seamlessly creating a smart skin to prevent and mitigate the most common causes of property damage. Before founding LAIIER, Matt was co-founded Bare Conductive, where he drove the creation of the largest printed electronics prototyping community on the planet, driving to the top of the $3B industry as a technology enabler to engineers and designers and a thought-leader to blue-chip companies. Matt earned a dual master's at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art in Industrial Design Engineering, and he has an undergraduate in Economics from Colorado College. In addition to his role at LAIIER, Matt is also a visiting design engineering tutor at multiple universities. Originally from Colorado, Matt has extensive experience in the outdoors and the positive impact that accesses to wild spaces has on our well-being.
Chuck Johnston is a senior insurance executive with over 30 years of expertise in insurance and information technology. He is responsible for the global marketing team, driving the FINEOS corporate brand, product go-to-market and in-market product management for North America.
Chuck is a recognized industry expert in applying a broad array of new business and technology concepts to the unique processes, architectures and technologies of the insurance and financial services industry. He is a frequent presenter at industry conferences, including LOMA events, LIMRA, the Insurance & Technology Executive Summit, ACORD, IASA and the International Insurance Society. His background in the carrier, analyst and software vendor communities give him a unique perspective on the insurance market.
Earlier in his career, Chuck was instrumental in the relaunch of the Meta Group Insurance Industry practice and helped it become the leading insurance advisory services practice of its time. With the merger of META Group and Gartner, Chuck moved to the vendor community holding leadership roles at Callidus Software (Callidus Cloud), Siebel, Oracle, Celent Research and EIS Group before joining FINEOS.
Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, AM Best Rating Services
Andrea Keenan is EVP and Chief Strategy Officer responsible for AM Best Rating Services’ strategy and commercial teams globally, coordinating with those teams to develop markets, communicate with stakeholders, liaise with the media and coordinate events.
Andrea started at AM Best in 2000 as AM Best’s first country risk analyst, overseeing the launch of AM Best’s current country risk methodology. She served multiple roles at AM Best, including building and managing economic and industry research and analytical training. From 2013–2015, Andrea moved from analysis to the commercial side of the business and served as managing director of AM Best América Latina, based in Mexico City, where she initiated and expanded AM Best’s first Latin American presence.
Prior to joining AM Best, Andrea was the U.S. economist at Toyota Motor North America in New York City, and analyst at International Technology and Trade Associates in Washington, D.C.
Currently, Andrea serves on the Board of Directors of the Microinsurance Network as deputy chair and is a member of the Inclusive Insurance Working group of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF). She is also adjunct professor of economics at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Andrea holds a master’s degree from Temple University in economics, a master’s degree from American University in international affairs and a bachelor's degree from York College in international studies.
Chairman & CEO, Holmes Murphy & Associates
Daniel Keough is the Chairman and CEO of Holmes Murphy & Associates. His leadership within Holmes Murphy has led our company to become one of the nation’s largest independent insurance agencies. Dan also serves as co-CEO of BrokerTech Ventures, the first broker-led convening platform focused on delivering innovation to the insurance broker industry.
Prior to leading Holmes Murphy, Dan founded Innovative Captive Strategies, a subsidiary company of Holmes Murphy. His goal was to develop captive alternatives that would provide businesses with unexpected sources of revenue while alleviating unnecessary business expenses.
Dan earned an MBA with a specialty in finance from Loyola University Graduate School of Business, and he holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Iowa.
Dan is a member of the Des Moines’ prestigious “Forty under Forty” business leadership hall of fame, the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Class of 2000, and the Young Presidents’ Organization Iowa chapter. Among his other achievements, Dan gives back to the community by coaching youth sports and is a member of several boards, including the Kum & Go, L.C. Advisory Board, Bankers Trust Community Board, the Des Moines Art Center Board, and formerly a member of both the United Way of Central Iowa Board and the Dowling Catholic Foundation Board.
Dennis F. Kerrigan
Executive Vice President & General Counsel, The Hanover Insurance Group
Dennis joined The Hanover in 2020, bringing decades of general counsel, insurance and global legal experience to the company. As executive vice president and general counsel, Dennis is responsible for the organization’s legal, regulatory and government affairs, as well as compliance and state filings. He also oversees securities and corporate governance matters, and works closely with The Hanover’s board of directors and leadership team, providing legal counsel and guidance. Prior to joining The Hanover, Dennis served for more than a decade as the North American general counsel at Zurich North America. In that role, he led the legal, compliance, government and industry affairs, security, and regulatory affairs departments, and provided executive leadership for several enterprise-wide initiatives. Dennis previously served as a partner in the global litigation department of an international law firm, where he represented Fortune 500 companies in a variety of matters, including trials, arbitrations, governmental investigations, regulatory proceedings, and internal investigations. He also has taken a leadership role in several business, community and industry groups, most recently serving as chair of the Global Business Alliance, an international trade association based in Washington, D.C.
Dennis has a law degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary and a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross.
Senior Research Scientist, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
David Kidd is a senior research scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Dr. Kidd is a recognized leader in applied research and vehicle safety whose work focuses on identifying data-driven, pragmatic solutions for preventing harm from crashes. His research evaluates both vehicle- and policy-based solutions. He has authored over 30 peer-reviewed papers on topics such as seat belt use, distracted driving, advanced driver assistance systems, and driving automation technology. Dr. Kidd received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in 2006 and a doctorate from George Mason University in 2011.
Scott M. Kosnoff
Partner, Faegre Drinker
Trusted by regulators and the industry alike, Scott helps insurance clients capitalize on opportunities and address regulatory and legal issues related to artificial intelligence, big data and algorithms.
- Working with the firm’s data consulting subsidiary, Scott uses his first-hand knowledge of evolving regulatory standards to help insurers assess their algorithms, implement a risk management framework and minimize their risk of regulatory, litigation and reputational exposure. Scott also helps clients stay on top of the emerging standards and regulations that will govern AI.
- At the invitation of the NAIC’s executive team, Scott briefed the nation’s top insurance regulators on the benefits and risks of AI at a closed-door commissioners’ roundtable. He subsequently presented to the NAIC’s AI Working Group at the request of the chair and helped the working group develop Principles on Artificial Intelligence.
- When the NAIC hosted a special nationwide screening of Coded Bias, Scott was invited to lead a panel discussion of ways that regulators and industry can protect consumers without stifling innovation.
Global Director, Business Solutions, Earnix
Drew Lawyer is the Global Director of Business Solutions at Earnix. He is passionate about leveraging advanced analytics to help companies better understand their customers and ultimately drive business results. His areas of expertise include predictive modeling, behavioral economics and pricing process automation.
Previously, Drew held roles the Head of Professional Services, the Americas, at Earnix and as the Head of Actuarial R&D at COUNTRY Financial®. He has an MS in mathematics and statistics, as well as a BS in mathematics, from Illinois State University.
Co-Founder & CEO, Betterview
David Lyman is the CEO and co-founder of Betterview, a risk management platform that helps insurance carriers to identify and score a roof’s condition and other property risks. Located in San Francisco, Betterview is a venture-backed company funded by Manchester Story, Nationwide Insurance, EMC Insurance and MaidenRe (among others).
Prior to Betterview, David started a company that built social media software for small businesses, which he sold to Constant Contact. Along with his entrepreneurial experience, David has also built enterprise workflow and data analysis software for the oil and gas industry while working as a consultant at Accenture. David holds a BSE in computer and telecommunications engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Christopher Grant McDaniel
President, Catastrophe Resiliency Council
Christopher has 30+ years’ experience in the financial services industry with varied projects and management roles including organizational transformation, process improvement, roadmap development, PMO and all facets of operations and technology. He also has extensive experience in the Property and Casualty, Reinsurance and Life and Annuity space, with strong industrywide relationships and operational expertise.
Christopher is currently President of The Institutes Catastrophe Resiliency Council (CRC). CRC’s mission is to collaborate with risk- and insurance-focused parties to create a healthy, competitive risk marketplace that promotes resilience against natural catastrophes.
Previously, Christopher was President of The Institutes RiskStreamTM Collaborative, and he continues to serve on its Board of Directors. The Institutes RiskStream Collaborative is an unprecedented, industry-led consortium collaborating to unlock the business potential of blockchain and other InsurTech technologies across the insurance industry. RiskStream accelerates time to market and adoption through real-world applications and impactful use cases.
Prior to The Institutes, Christopher was a Specialist Leader in Deloitte Consulting Insurance Practices specializing in Strategy and Operations.
Previous to Deloitte, Christopher was the SVP of Operations and Technology for the Insured Retirement Institute, where he brought together operations, technology and compliance executives across the largest insurance and brokerage companies in the nation into one strategic voice to drive the annuities industry forward. Christopher also served as the Chief Operating Officer and VP of Product Management at Aplifi, the industry provider of the second largest annuities transaction order entry platforms. During his tenure he completed a turn-around of the annuities processing software firm from zero customers in production to 40 during, with a more than doubling of the company’s valuation.
Lastly, Christopher served as an SVP and Chief Information Officer in Pacific Life’s Broker/Dealer unit. This unit consisted of six securities firms with more than 3,000 branch offices. Christopher was brought in to standardize the technology across all companies, while running the day-to-day technology. Systems implemented tripled securities trading volume while providing 75% improved regulatory compliance with bullet proof disaster preparedness.
Executive Vice President, RT Specialty
A former professional basketball player in Europe, Ryan McCormack first entered the insurance industry with Aon, where he worked for three years. After joining RT Specialty’s casualty team, McCormack switched to the property division under the suggestion of his office’s president. “I was given great advice from a friend who said in that property you will always be able to play on the primary layer, and they were 100% right,” McCormack says.
As a wholesaler, McCormack knows the importance of picking up the phone and chatting with agents and markets, which allows for an open dialogue about what trends are emerging and what direction the overall market is headed. “The most exciting part of our business is the constant competition,” he says. “To try day in and day out to put the best product on the table, along with a market that can change trends on a daily basis, makes it fun.”
Director, Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy Program
Dr. Daniel V. McGehee is an internationally recognized vehicle safety researcher who is director of the National Advanced Driving Simulator and a professor in the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Emergency Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health, and Public Policy.
For over 30 years, Dr. McGehee has done research and design in advanced vehicle safety systems as they relate to driver performance. He developed the first prototype forward collision warning systems for General Motors in the early 1990s and conducted one of the first automated vehicle simulator trials in the 1994. He is currently a member of the U.S. delegation of the Trilateral Human Factors in Automation group that splits its time between Europe, Japan and the U.S.
Dr. McGehee began his career at Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the Advanced Flight Deck Research Department where he studied pilot performance and cockpit design. He has been a principal or co-principal investigator of over $42 million in research for the U.S. DOT, NIH and the automotive industry, and he has over 150 scientific publications in the areas of distraction, driver response, and technology research and development.
He earned his PhD in the United Kingdom at the University of Leeds.
Margaret A. Meister
President & Chief Executive Officer, Symetra Financial
Margaret Meister is president and chief executive officer of Symetra Financial Corporation and president of its insurance subsidiaries. She is also a member of the company’s board of directors.
Ms. Meister joined Symetra in 1988 as an actuarial student. She was appointed chief actuary in 2004 and chief financial officer (CFO) in February 2006, assuming responsibility for the company’s financial strategy and operations. She became president and chief executive officer in February 2018.
As a member of the company’s executive leadership team, Ms. Meister played a principal role in Symetra’s initial public offering in 2010, as well as its successful acquisition by Sumitomo Life in 2016. In addition to her responsibilities as CFO, she served as chief information officer from 2014 to 2016, leading the Information Technology department during the transition of the company’s data center. She also has had responsibility for Symetra’s brand strategy development through her oversight of the company’s marketing, advertising and communications programs.
Ms. Meister is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She graduated from Whitman College with a bachelor’s degree in math. Ms. Meister is a member of the board of directors of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) and also serves on the boards of the United Way of King County and the Washington Roundtable.
Managing Director, Insurance Consulting, EY
Chris Morbelli is a Managing Director for EY’s US Insurance Consulting practice leading up the Life & Group transformation offering. This blueprint for the future includes: (i) business growth strategy; (ii) broker, advisor, agent, plan sponsor and employee experience/process redesign; (iii) workforce of the future; (iv) data and analytics; and (v) platform modernization, all leading to improved customer experience, operating efficiencies and increased associate engagement.
He previously spent 20 years in the industry, most recently serving as the Vice President of Strategy and Operations Transformation for a global insurance company driving group, benefits, life and annuity transformations across multiple countries. Additionally, he led Group Benefits and Life & Annuities operations focused on new business and policy administration.
He has extensive experience in both designing and leading large scale Customer Experience and Operating Model transformation initiatives. Chris lives in the United States and has an MBA in finance from the Rutgers Business School.
Matthew C. Mosher, CERA, FCAS, MAAA
President & Chief Executive Officer, AM Best
Matthew Mosher is the President and Chief Executive Officer for AM Best Rating Services, Inc.
Matt is responsible for AM Best’s rating services business. He also serves on the board of AM Best Company, Inc., AM Best Rating Services, Inc. and all of AM Best’s rating subsidiaries.
Matt has been employed at AM Best since 1995. Prior to assuming his current role in July 2019, Matt served as Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for the entirety of AM Best’s rating operations since 2016. Matt was responsible for the rating analytics globally for AM Best since 2009. Matt led AM Best’s non-life rating analytics from 2001 through 2009, and prior to that, served in various managerial roles, as well as serving as AM Best’s non-life actuary. During that time, Matt was responsible for the development and maintenance of most of the non-life rating models, including Best’s Capital Adequacy Model (BCAR).
Prior to joining AM Best, Matt spent two years in consulting and seven years within the U.S. property/casualty industry.
Matt speaks to many industry groups on a wide array of insurance and rating issues and is a vocal advocate of the need to educate students about the opportunities within the insurance industry.
Matt is a graduate of Lehigh University with a B.S. in statistics. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and a Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst. He also has three sons taking actuarial exams.
Co-Founder & CEO, Clearcover
Kyle Nakatsuji is the co-founder and CEO of Clearcover, the smarter car insurance company. Under Kyle’s leadership, Clearcover has raised more than $329 million to date and currently operates in 15 states, with more on the way. Before founding Clearcover, Kyle was a founding member of American Family Ventures, where he was responsible for sourcing, evaluating and structuring over 50 equity and debt venture capital investments in nationally based tech startups. Prior to this role, Kyle was a corporate attorney focused on emerging company business matters at AlphaTech Counsel. Kyle has a law degree and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.
Chief Growth Officer, Assured Allies
With over 28 years of experience as a transformational leader in global insurance at Genworth, Plymouth Rock, and AXA Equitable, Larry has a proven track record in identifying new opportunities and optimizing assets and operations. In his role as Chief Growth Officer, Larry leads the expansion and scaling of Assured Allies' suite of current and future carrier-offered wellness programs.
Co-Founder, CareValidate Inc.
Jay is an experienced sales professional and entrepreneur with expertise in enterprise account management, technology installation and brand management. Jay is an Aging-in-Place subject matter expert and Co-Founder of CareValidate Inc. CareValidate is one of the few technology-led companies that have entered the insurance sector to optimize easy to use AgeTech products.
President & CEO, Thrivant
Teresa (Terry) Rasmussen is President and CEO of Thrivent, a Fortune 500 diversified financial services organization with $189 billion in assets under management and advisement and total revenue of $10.3 billion. She is a member of Thrivent’s Board of Directors and serves on its Governance and Executive committees.
Under Rasmussen’s leadership, Thrivent is transforming into a holistic financial services organization, helping current and future generations achieve financial clarity, enabling lives full of meaning and gratitude. Thrivent offers advice, insurance, investments, banking and generosity products and programs to clients in communities across the United States.
Before her current role, Rasmussen was president of Thrivent’s core life, health and annuities business after serving 10 years as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Prior to joining Thrivent, Rasmussen held a series of legal leadership roles at American Express, including serving as vice president and managing counsel. Earlier in her career, she was a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division, as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program.
She is a member of the American Council of Life Insurers Board of Directors and serves on the Executive and Corporate Governance committees, and she co-chairs the Steering committee on Consumer Issues. Rasmussen is an independent member of the board of directors for H.B. Fuller Company, a $2.9 billion global adhesives and specialty chemical products company (NYSE: FUL), and serves on the Audit and Governance committees of the board. She is also on the board of the Walker Art Center, a world-renowned contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, where she is secretary, chairs the Audit committee and serves on the Executive committee. She previously served as a board member for the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).
Rasmussen received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Minnesota State University at Moorhead. After passing the CPA exam, she earned her Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota.
Governor Kim Reynolds
Governor of the State of Iowa
As Iowa’s 43rd Governor, Kim Reynolds is determined to show the world that opportunity lives here in Iowa. Whether it’s preparing Iowans for cutting-edge careers, fighting for education, improving healthcare and access to mental health resources, or empowering Iowa’s rural communities, Governor Reynolds’ priorities are making a difference in all four corners of the state.
A native of St. Charles, Iowa, Gov. Reynolds has a long record of public service as Clarke County Treasurer, a state senator, and Lt. Governor. In 2018, she had the honor of becoming Iowa’s first woman elected governor. She’s traveled the world telling Iowa’s story and gets to all 99 counties in Iowa each year, but always puts family first.
She and her husband, Kevin, have three daughters, who are happily married and living in Iowa. The Governor also has twelve very active grandchildren.
President & CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa
Jeff Russell has more than 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles, leading companies of a variety of sizes: from start-ups to established companies embarking on transformation efforts. He has consistently focused on using technology to deliver a customer-centric experience.
As a not-for-profit insurance carrier, Delta Dental of Iowa (USA) provides dental, vision and legal benefits to more than 1,500,000 members through commercial and government programs. Since 2002, more than $55 million has been contributed to improving the health and smiles of Iowans through the company’s Community Impact Program and the Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation.
Prior to Delta Dental, he led a variety of companies in the banking and payments industry. He was president and CEO of TMG Financial Services. Its first employee, he helped the company grow to be one of the 30 largest Mastercard issuers in the United States and earned a spot on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies in 2012. Mr. Russell’s experience also includes serving as chief strategy officer of Affiliates Management Company, as well as having held various senior management positions for The Members Group.
For its first six years, Mr. Russell served as the founding chair of the Global Insurance Accelerator, the first accelerator focused exclusively on the insurance industry. The 11 insurance company investors of this mentor-driven business accelerator work collaboratively to foster innovation in insurance, supporting InsurTech startups that target the global insurance industry.
Mr. Russell currently serves on several boards and committees, including as board president of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, on the board of directors of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and on the executive committee of the national Delta Dental Plans Association. He also serves on the board of directors of Medix Dental IT, InsuranceMenu and Connectify HR. Some of his past involvement includes serving as president of the Federation of Iowa Insurers and president of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, A.M. He is a graduate of Drake University in Des Moines.
Principal, Trilogy Advisors LLC
John Sitilides is Principal at Trilogy Advisors LLC in Washington, D.C., specializing in U.S. government relations, geopolitical risk and international affairs. Delivering exclusive geopolitical risk reports, webcasts, and related products and services to institutional capital market and retail clients, he is a professional speaker at corporate, investor and industry conferences, and before government, military and intelligence community audiences, on geopolitical risk management and the business impacts of international security policies. He explores the complex geopolitical and geo-economic decisions that impact markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and worldwide, helping corporate executives, investment managers and civic audiences better understand, anticipate and mitigate risk.
His domestic client portfolio includes industry leaders in real estate development, home construction and agribusiness, along with aviation and emerging technology companies, with a specialization in environmental regulatory reform and private property rights protection. He launched his career as a communications and legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and on a series of successful political campaigns.
Under a U.S. government contract since 2006, Sitilides is the Southern Europe Regional Coordinator at the Foreign Service Institute, the State Department's professional development and diplomacy academy for American foreign policy professionals. He was Board Chairman of the Woodrow Wilson Center Southeast Europe Project from 2005–2011, following seven years as Executive Director of the Western Policy Center, an international relations institute specializing in U.S., NATO and EU interests in southeastern Europe and the Middle East, until he negotiated its 2004 merger with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
He has testified before Congress and is a frequent national security commentator on U.S. and international media such as Bloomberg News, CNN, FOX News and CNN International. He is also interviewed on Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Israeli and Arab television, as well as having been interviewed and cited in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Politico, National Public Radio, Euromoney, Asia Times, Institutional Investor, South China Morning Post, and other leading print and digital media.
Sitilides serves on the Board of Directors of 3doo, Inc, a VR360 media technology company, and on the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of Leadership 100, a national Orthodox Christian foundation. He served on the Board of Directors of Biovest, developing personalized cancer immunotherapies; the Board of Directors of International Orthodox Christian Charities, a global humanitarian organization; and the Board of Governors of the Advanced Imaging Society, promoting the global motion picture industry’s arts and technologies.
He is a member of the Association of International Risk Intelligence Professionals, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the Columbia University Club of Washington, D.C., and the Association of Former Senate Aides. Sitilides holds a master’s degree in International and Public Affairs from Columbia University. He lives in McLean, VA with his wife, who is an attorney and businesswoman, and their four teenage sons.
Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, EMC Insurance Companies
Todd Strother serves as Executive Vice President for EMC Insurance Companies, a mutual insurance company with its home office in Des Moines and 17 branch offices located throughout the United States. He joined EMC in 2016 as General Counsel. In his current role as Executive Vice President, Todd oversees and supports the following departments: Claims, Legal, Compliance and Government Relations, Enterprise Risk Management and Information Security, and Administration and Facilities. Todd also serves as Chairman and CEO of the company’s affiliated life insurance company EMC National Life Company.
Prior to joining EMC in 2016, Todd was engaged in the private practice of law, first with the law firm Foley & Lardner in Chicago and later as a partner in the law firm Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave in Des Moines. His practice included commercial litigation and general corporate law.
Todd also serves as a member of the board of directors of Orchard Place, a locally based charity in Des Moines that is a nationally recognized leader in the provision of mental health treatment and services for children and adolescents.
Todd received both a B.B.A. and a law degree from the University of Iowa.
Head of Global Facultative, McGill & Partners
Paul is the head of McGill & Partners’ Global Facultative Reinsurance team, helping insurance company clients across all lines of business to analyse, manage and transfer risk.
Paul has more than 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry, working consistently in Facultative throughout as well as across many different aspects of reinsurance broking. He was appointed CEO of Global Facultative at Aon RE and, before joining McGill and Partners, Paul was the Head of International Facultative Reinsurance at Guy Carpenter.
If he wasn’t with McGill and Partners, Paul would probably be playing for a non-league football team.
CEO & Founder, Everyday Life Insurance
Jake is CEO and co-founder of Everyday Life Insurance, a rapidly growing Boston-based tech startup on a mission to get everyone the life insurance they need. He brings to this mission the insights and resources of an accomplished career transforming insurance at MetLife, EY, BNY Mellon and Foresters Financial. He holds an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and resides in Andover, Massachusetts, with his family, including Everyday Life’s mascot, a bichon frise named Taco.
Professional Director, Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management & Insurance, University of Iowa
Dr. Vaughan is Professional Director of the Emmett J. Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance at the University of Iowa. She also serves as a director of AIG, Verisk Analytics, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, WestBank, and the Food Bank of Iowa. She is a seasoned educator, corporate director, and internationally recognized expert in insurance regulation.
Vaughan split her career between insurance regulation and risk management and insurance education. She served as Iowa Insurance Commissioner for over 10 years and was appointed by governors from both major parties. From 2009 to 2012, she was the CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), where she led the NAIC’s response to the financial crisis, both nationally and internationally. Between stints in regulation, she was a chaired professor of insurance and actuarial science and Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University.
Vaughan earned a Ph.D. in risk and insurance at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.B.A. in insurance and economics at the University of Iowa.
Vice President, Legal & Assistant General Counsel, Global Atlantic Financial Group
Christian Walk is the lead life attorney overseeing traditional and preneed life insurance lines of business at Global Atlantic Financial Group. He provides general legal support for life operations; assists with development of new life insurance products, including review of new product designs and forms; provides legal advice regarding distribution agreements and issues; assesses various regulatory issues and assists in responding to inquiries from state insurance regulators. He has managed several regulatory exams and supports life-related litigation matters. He also serves on the DSM Leadership Council and as on-site leader for the Legal and Compliance team.
Chief Executive Officer, Nationwide Insurance
Kirt Walker is chief executive officer of Nationwide, a mutual insurance and financial services company focused on protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care. He was elected to this position in 2019, and in this role also serves as a member of the Nationwide Board of Directors.
Kirt initially joined the Nationwide family of companies in 1986. Prior to being elected CEO, he served for 10 years as president and chief operating officer of Nationwide Financial.
During his first 23 years, he served in various leadership positions within the company’s Property and Casualty business, including president and COO of Nationwide Insurance and president of Allied Insurance, Nationwide’s former independent agency subsidiary.
Kirt’s leadership philosophy focuses on “The Four Ps”: People, Planning, Performance and Partnerships. This philosophy extends to driving an engaged, caring culture of associates that leads to better solutions for customers and other stakeholders.
Kirt is a graduate of Iowa State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in management. He also holds a Masters of Science in management with an emphasis in leadership degree from The American College.
Kirt is passionate about the community in which he works and lives. He advocates for the professional development and advancement of industry professionals as a board trustee for The Institutes, a property and casualty risk and insurance knowledge group. He also serves on the American Red Cross Board of Governors and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital board. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for Catalyst—an organization dedicated to accelerating progress for women through workplace inclusion. Kirt previously served on the Columbus State Community College Board of Trustees and on the boards of the American Council of Life Insurers, Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, White Castle restaurant company, New Albany Foundation and Greater Des Moines Partnership and as a trustee for Grand View College in Des Moines.
Past honors for his community involvement include being named CEO of the Year by Des Moines Business Journal and an Honored Ally by Stonewall Columbus, Central Ohio’s leading LGBTQ organization.
Jane J. Wang is the CEO of Optimity, a leading InsurTech in Policyholder/Member Engagement that powers a mobile-first Engagement Engine with embedded distribution funnels. Using the science of micro-learning, personalized nudges and incentivization to live healthier, wealthier and longer, Optimity has over one million members and grew approximately 30% MoM the last year. The Optimity app offers their members support beyond physical health, including mental, nutritional, social and financial wellness. The 2.1B data collected power their health, financial score and other subscores to create innovations in live underwriting and next-best-action prompting. The Optimity (or white-labeled) health rewards apps have been adopted by top multi-line insurance carriers, employers, and aligned health partners to adopt a data-driven approach and build a healthy relationship with their policyholder or member.
Prior to Optimity, Jane worked at IQVIA and CROs of pharma companies (e.g., Biogen, Takeda) to maximize adherence and dynamic risk score patients in North America, Asia and Europe. She is passionate about proactive health, improving morbidity/mortality, and innovative uses of gamification and behavioral science. She holds an MBA from Ivey Business School, a HBSc. from McGill University and health/wearable data analytics and executive education from Stanford University.
Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Principal Financial Group
Beth Wood is senior vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO) with Principal Financial Group®. As CMO, Beth leads the Global Brand & Experience team, serving as the architects and stewards of the Principal brand. She also serves as chair of the company’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Task Force and chair of the Principal Foundation.
Beth joined Principal® in July 2019. Prior to Principal, Beth was vice president and chief marketing officer of the individual businesses for Guardian Life Insurance in New York City. Before that, she served as second vice president, life, and agency marketing at Guardian since 2010.
Beth has more than 30 years’ experience as a brand and marketing leader. She’s held numerous marketing leadership roles in the consumer-packaged goods, healthcare and financial services industries, with companies such as Frito-Lay, Johnson & Johnson and MassMutual.
Beth earned her BS in marketing communications from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She’s also earned her digital marketing certification from Cornell University and a data and digital transformation certificate from the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Senior Vice President, Swiss Reinsurance America Holding Corporation
George Woods is the Head US P&C Broker Sales Management for Swiss Re America.
Woods has over 25 years of (re)insurance industry experience. In his present role he leads and executes Swiss Re's US reinsurance broker sales engagement strategy and works jointly with Swiss Re's Business Unit Leaders to drive business development and deliver Swiss Re's go-to-market initiatives.
Prior to joining Swiss Re, Woods was a Senior Vice President in Treaty Broking for Guy Carpenter & Company. He focused on identifying and evaluating start up technology firms to partner with Guy Carpenter (GC) and their clients. He regularly met with startup tech companies, visited technology innovation hubs, and spoke about emerging technology at insurance industry conferences. He was also the General Manager of GC Genesis, Guy Carpenter’s InsurTech advisory service and a senior member of the InsurTech Center of Excellence (CoE) team.
Prior to Guy Carpenter, Woods served as Vice President, Business Development for Aon Inpoint, the consulting firm and subsidiary of Aon Benfield. Prior to Inpoint, Woods worked at Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) holding a variety of leadership positions, with P&L responsibility, including: Director of Treaty Reinsurance for Latin America and Branch Manager, of the Chicago and Baltimore offices.
Woods holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lafayette College, in Easton, PA. He completed HSB’s Executive Development Program, which was created by the Harvard Business School and their excellent faculty taught the courses.
Woods is also an artist who enjoys sketching and painting.