IMUA Elects New Officers & Board Members, IMUA President Ron Thornton Announces Retirement Plans

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Over 230 attendees were on hand at the Inland Marine Underwriters Association’s (IMUA) 80th Annual Meeting held last week in Williamsburg, VA, to congratulate Sophia Phillips - The Hanover Insurance Group - on her election as the Association’s new Chairperson.

Over 230 attendees were on hand at the Inland Marine Underwriters Association’s (IMUA) 80th Annual Meeting held last week in Williamsburg, VA, to congratulate Sophia Phillips - The Hanover Insurance Group - on her election as the Association’s new Chairperson. The record number of attendees also welcomed the elections of Peter Opinante - Swiss Re America - and Michelle Hoehn - Travelers Group - as Deputy Chairman and Vice Chairperson respectively.

In her acceptance remarks Ms. Phillips commented, “I am extremely pleased and excited to serve as the new Chairperson of the IMUA. It is especially gratifying to see the greatest number of participants at our Annual Meeting in IMUA’s history. The unprecedented turnout comes at a time when there continues to be economic uncertainty among businesses in general, and the insurance industry in particular. I am pleased to report that while economic reports about some of the inland marine classes – notably the construction piece - still do not look favorable, IMUA’s financial condition remains exceptionally strong. Our ability to continually provide value-added programs and education services to our membership has only made us stronger.”

Ms. Philips also praised the many accomplishments of Rich Soja - Chubb Marine Underwriters - IMUA’s immediate past Chairman, for his outstanding leadership in guiding the Association over the last two years. “Not yielding to the industry economic pressures, he forged ahead taking advantage of new technologies to not only improve our efficiency but also position the IMUA as a leading educational resource for the industry.”

In his ‘State of the Association’ annual report, IMUA President & CEO Ron Thornton reiterated that the Association remains financially strong. He summarized the many new education programs and services that the IMUA has implemented - most notably its webinar program and regional seminars - helping put the Association on sound economic footing. He concluded his remarks, surprising many attendees, announcing his intention to retire before the 2011 annual meeting in Chicago. “It has been a privilege and an honor to represent such a prestigious organization,” said Mr. Thornton. He has served as the Association’s President for over 11 years. Chair Phillips will be selecting an ad hoc group of Board members to form a Search Committee who will seek a replacement for Mr. Thornton no later than March 2011.

Nicolas Creatore, Chartis, IMUA Membership & Nominating Committee Chair, announced the election of the Board of Directors’ Class of 2013 –

Mr. James Cunningham - Markel Group
Mr. Edward “Ned” Leber - ACE USA
Ms. Ellen O’Conner - SC&F
Mr. Richard Pye - Harleysville Group
Ms. Diane Shelton - Catlin Group
Ms. Grace Thomas - Great American

and the election of the following Board members to fill vacancies in the Class of 2011

Ms. Jayne Honeck – C N A
Mr. Alexander McGinley – The Hartford
Mr. Lloyd J. ‘Pat’ Stoik – Chubb Group

Also re-elected at the annual meeting was Lillian Colson - the Association’s Vice President & Secretary and Mr. Thornton as President & CEO until a replacement is selected.

IMUA is the national association for the commercial inland marine insurance industry. IMUA serves as the voice of its member companies representing over 90 percent of all commercial inland marine insurers. The association provides its members with comprehensive training and educational programs, including research papers and bulletins, industry analysis and seminars. IMUA was founded in 1930.

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Allan Fliss
Nallacomm LLC
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