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Equal Opportunity Employers.

It doesn't take 30 years of service in the insurance industry to make it to the top of an insurance company anymore. Executives from retail, banking and other financial-services companies are being tapped to lead major insurers. These new chief executives are bringing with them fresh ideas from outside the sometimes staid confines of the insurance industry. (See "The New Breed of CEO," page 25.)

But can their new ways of thinking be assimilated into the corporate cultures of insurance companies?

Sean Sweeney, vice president of Bonifield Associates, a Marlton, N.J.-based executive recruitment firm, said the answer often is no. "There have been many, many attempts to bring the outside influence into the industry," he said, "and very few have stuck long term."

Sweeney said insurance company boards of directors usually are trying to shake things up when they hire executives from outside the industry. "The people that they've brought in have been more identified for their financial investment acumen rather than their insurance background," he said. But longtime company loyalists often turn a distrustful eye to these newcomers, Sweeney said.

Time will tell how this new breed of CEO will fare in the face of the insurance industry's natural selection.

A Pat on the Back

Best's Review received two national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Managing Editor Sally Whitney received the silver award for single news article for "Anatomy of a Failure," which was published in the September 2000 edition. The story details how fraud brought down National Heritage Life Insurance Co. Also, News Production Supervisor Karen McNamara and graphics artist Armond Delabruere won the gold award for special report front cover for the January 2000 life/health edition of Review/Preview. Both also won gold awards from the Eastern Region competition.

Best's Review won two other Eastern Region Awards:

* Bronze, front cover illustration, William Waggoner, "Car Wars," October 2000.

* Bronze, contents pages, McNamara, Waggoner, Laura Plumpton, September 2000.

David T. Hilgen

David Hilgen is editor. You may reach him at (908) 439-2200, Ext. 5038, by writing to A.M. Best Co., Ambest Road, Oldwick, NJ 08858, or by e-mail at The e-mail address for Best's Review is
COPYRIGHT 2001 A.M. Best Company, Inc.
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Editor's page
Publication:Best's Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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