BMS Group Appoints U.S. Chief Operations Officer

BMS Group, independent specialist broker, announced today it has promoted Kristine (Kris) Westall, formerly EVP of BMS Reinsurance Operations, to a newly created role as Chief Operations Officer.

In this position, Kris will oversee all U.S. operations and is specifically responsible for the development and implementation of the BMS strategy in North America, reporting to interim US CEO Roger Cooper. She will focus on providing creative solutions that enhance client service, and procedures that improve consistency and efficiency. She will continue to manage client service operations – including reinsurance accounting, claims, contracts, broker operations and office services.

Kris joined BMS in January 2011 as Senior Vice President, Reinsurance Operations Officer in charge of the firm’s U.S. platform. Previously, Kris spent more than 20 years in the Minneapolis office of Benfield, where she served as SVP, Reinsurance Accounting and Claims. Earlier in her career, as SVP of Brokerage Operations for John B. Collins Associates, Kris managed accounting, claims, IT, contracts, compliance and office services.

Christopher Hopton, Chairman BMS Group, commented,

This promotion reflects how tirelessly Kris has worked to develop the BMS operations platform, successfully building it out into one of the finest in the business. It also demonstrates how committed we are at BMS to our growth strategy in the U.S. reinsurance market. We will continue, with Kris’ excellent support, to invest in the best servicing and client operation in the business.”

 

Westall said:

Since 2011 my focus has been to enhance the reinsurance servicing platform for BMS clients, I am proud to say we have been very successful at creating unique global teams of brokering, analytics, contracts and claims experts. This ‘single-team’ approach makes us operationally efficient and extremely adaptable to the needs of each client. I am excited to be a part of BMS’ continuing growth.”

 

BMS opens Ottawa office

BMS Group announced today that is continuing its expansion with the opening of its second Canadian office. The office, which will be located in Ottawa, will be the headquarters of its newly formed Healthcare Professionals Insurance Alliance and Group Program portfolio business. The Canadian operation will be lead by industry expert Brian Gomes.

Gomes, formerly a Vice President within Aon Canada’s affinity practice and more recently the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Chief Operating Officer, is an expert in the area of health care professional liability and group risk structures, frequently consulted by stakeholders across the country to discuss and present on the topic.

The Speciality group, headquartered in Ottawa, will provide unparalleled risk management and brokerage services offering a range of products and resources to clients. It will focus on specialized segment expertise providing group and commercial risk solutions to organizations, professionals, groups and associations.

Brian commented:

I am thrilled to join BMS and lead this unique operation in Canada. With executive risk, health care and other regulated professionals requiring expanding liability and practice risk needs, we see a tremendous opportunity to partner with many of Canada’s leading associations in designing programs for members, by members. Our suite of services will focus on delivering insurance and risk management resources, along with tailored structures and products designed to be most advantageous for our clients. We continue to assemble a tremendous team of specialists in this segment and are excited to share how our model and commitment to this sector will be unlike any other in the industry.”

Paul Daly, Managing Director BMS Specialty Risk, commented:

Brian brings tremendous experience to BMS. Over the past few years, Brian has worked with many of Canada’s largest member association insurance programs, making him the perfect candidate to lead this new alliance. He has over a decade of understanding of the industry and first-hand experience designing and managing successful retention and insurance program models. We are delighted to have him on board.”

 

Please click here to visit the HPIA page and learn more about our unique proposition.

 


Severe Weather in a Warming World

Andy Siffert, BMS’ resident Meteorologist, discusses Severe Weather in a Warming World

As we have all seen in the media it would appear that on May 15 Mother Nature has turned on the severe convective storm season, which to date had been historically quiet in terms of insurance losses and severe convective storm reports.

Since May 15 the preliminary tornado count stands at 305 tornadoes, but considering the nation is currently at the climatological peak of the severe convective storm season and the tornadoes are occurring precisely where historically they should occur, the impacts of the severe weather should be expected and can be easily explained by understanding the current weather pattern.

The reason we have seen the recent uptick in severe weather activity to more normal levels is the spring of 2013 has been climatologically cooler than normal over the eastern two-thirds of the country, which has kept instability levels low. This is most likely due to a weather pattern associated with the a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which has kept a low amplitude jet stream pattern in place over the eastern portion of the U.S., allowing cool air from Canada to spill southwards into the U.S. blocking warm moist air northward progression from the Gulf of Mexico.

Starting in mid May a shift in the jet stream winds resulted in a weather pattern that allowed for frequent weather systems to draw upon the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to clash with the cooler, drier air moving east off the Rocky Mountains. This different weather pattern has provided the main ingredients necessary to produce what have been widespread multi-day severe weather events.

Understanding weather patterns can fluctuate explains the last three years of tornado activity, which have experienced both a record minimum and record maximum tornado count. These two extremes of recent tornado surplus (2011) and the current tornado drought are rare and considering they are back to back it makes the occurrence even more unusual. However, these patterns have resulted in several contradictory views on the impact a warming world might have on severe convective storms in the U.S. In a warming world should we experience more seasons like 2011 or fewer tornadoes like 2012? Are extreme tornadoes like Moore, OK, a result of this warming world?

In the latest BMS Introspect – Severe Weather in a Warming World and Its Impact to the Insurance Industry we attempt to answer these questions.