Leading Insurance Professionals in the USA | Hot 100 2024

Heavy hitters

Going the extra mile and making the difference is the calling card for Insurance Business America’s Hot 100
of 2024.

This century of insurance professionals represents a collection of pioneers shaping the future of the 
industry with their innovation and excellence.

IB America features three individuals on the list, who are changing the face of insurance in their own distinctive ways.

Jacey Norberg, Risk Placement Services, area president

Dax Craig, Pie Insurance Services, co-founder and president

Chad Hall, RT Specialty, president

Secrets of success

Norberg is riding high as the past 12 months have seen the culmination of exacting standards and devising a strategy of how to achieve them. She took on the role of area president for the RPS office in Eau Claire, WI; Waukesha, WI; and Omaha, NE.

“It had been struggling for quite some time but since I took over, we just kept getting better and better. It was about continuing to develop our young talent and some of our existing talent.”

Under her direction, in the past year the branch has recorded growth levels of:

  • 19 percent revenue

  • 26 percent premiums

  • 15 percent new business 

Over the entire four years, the corresponding figures are:

  • 47 percent revenue

  • 70 percent premiums

  • 223 percent new business

The key for Norberg was changing the mindset.

“We are such a big, diverse company and the legacy staff had come from a very small mom-and-pop shop. So, I’ve been teaching them about the pieces of RPS and how to access those, and what they can use them for.”

Norberg also encouraged staff to shadow her dealings with clients to learn firsthand. She explains, “I wanted to add customer value, trying to get service up to a higher standard and almost a white glove service. As soon as they were able to see it, they realized it was completely achievable. I don’t want to say it was easy. But the key was to bring everyone in on creating our vision of service. Then, it was an easier path for everyone to work together to achieve it.”

Mirroring this trajectory is Craig, who also credits his success as the culmination of a team effort.

Pie is the fastest-growing workers’ compensation insurer in the US, and is active in 38 states and Washington, DC. Over the past 12 months, the firm has:

  • grown its partner agent network by almost 30 percent

  • announced a $315-million Series D round of funding, making it the largest round of financing for any US-based P&C insurtech company in 2022

Dax also spearheaded a partnership with Ford Motor Credit Company to launch Ford Pro Insure, a new commercial auto insurance product powered by Pie, that delivers customized commercial auto coverage and services to small businesses with the goal of helping them reduce overall fleet costs.

“Throughout a challenging economic landscape, especially within the commercial insurance industry, the past 12 months were undeniably demanding yet equally rewarding. Looking back, I feel incredibly proud of my accomplishments as a leader,” Craig says.

And he adds, “The past 12 months were a mix of planned strategies and unexpected challenges. While we anticipated growth and innovation, the industry faced shifts in economic conditions that were challenging for me, our team, customers, and partners.”

Keeping a laser-like focus on performance is why Hall has delivered impressive results for his team of 30 brokers and 150 staff.

In the past year, he has:

  • created the BOR Tour, an educational and networking series of events where insurance agents and underwriters can come together to learn about construction insurance-related topics

  • launched Labor Guard Online, an online insurance pre-qualification and risk management service to manage risk transfer for construction projects and large builders and general contractors across the country

  • produced a personal book of business with $450+ million in premium and 300+ projects in 2022, bringing a total 12-year career with RT Specialty of over 19,000 construction policies

He also stresses the importance of leading with a collective excellence mindset.

“I’m in a constant state of reflection about the performance of my team, but I’m not as concerned about the performance of the past 12 months as I am about the performance of 30-, 60-, and 90-day periods. I break it down to smaller increments and look for trends in weekly and monthly data. “

Hall utilizes data analyses to track:

  • productivity

  • deal flow

  • submission-quote-bind conversion rates

  • quality of relationship vs. quantity

“I look for trends while tinkering with the team to find the optimal balance to yield the greatest result for our clients. Spending too little time gets you beat and spending too much time makes you inefficient and hard to scale. It takes experience to learn the art, but the indicators are in the metrics if you look closely for them.”

Jacery Norberg
“I’m living proof that with the positive outlook and tenacity to take on any challenge, you can be a waitress and move up to being an area president of a very successful branch in a wholesale brokerage firm”
Jacey NorbergRisk Placement Services


Key to being a Top 100 Insurance Professional

A strategy Hall has explored is time management. As his team and responsibility has grown, he has had to delegate to maintain quality. To do this, he placed an emphasis on honing his ability to assemble a team.

“A high-performing team is built by providing enough support and coaching opportunities that allows your team to continue in developing their skill set. Scaling your team too fast can diminish its value to your client and is a serious concern if you don’t have a solid foundation in place first to build from,” he explains. 

“It is a fine balance and requires developing strong best practices that set expectations that are measurable and hold your team accountable when they don’t meet expectations and reward them when they do.”

For Craig, the target over the last 12 months was adopting the mantra of the need to remain fluid.

“Working by the same playbook as I did a year ago, or even six months ago, wasn’t going to cut it. The world is changing rapidly around us and requires a more flexible approach.”

In practice, this manifested as a test-and-learn mindset.

He says, “My role is to guide and encourage our teams to try new things without fear of failure. To move fast and meet the demands of our customers and partners, continual learning, and the ability to pivot when something wasn’t working became a critical lesson.”

Enabling him to offer his team a wider insight, Craig undertakes a series of additional industry roles:

  • serves on the board of advisors for Kovrr, an Israeli company that enables reinsurers to predict and price cyber risk, transparently utilizing advanced artificial intelligence and data

  • founding member of the Colorado Inclusive Economy, a statewide movement of design, intent, and action led by local CEOs and leaders

  • advisory board member for the Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa

  • member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, which connects 21,000 business leaders in more than 125 countries around a shared mission: Better Leaders Through Education

While Norberg’s biggest takeaway was how best to create a team ethic. It was about setting benchmarks that different members would respond to.

“When you’re in sixth grade and everybody asks what you want to be when you grow up, nobody says insurance. I always wanted to be a teacher. I now get the best of both worlds because my job is writing business, but I also get to mentor people.”

She has also used a variety of bonding activities, such as a Winnebago trip to a winery and ATV rides, resulting in 97 percent employee retention. Some members of her team have been working in the office for 30 to 40 years, and she is attuned to what motivates each of them.

“It is about sitting down with every individual person, even the new employees, so everybody knows who comes in. I take the time to get to know them and try to figure out what makes them tick. Every new person that I bring in or if I see someone struggling, my reward is seeing them all become successful," he says.

Dax Craig
“We spend a lot of time developing goals and objectives and strategies, but businesses don’t run in a vacuum, and we need to be able to have flexibility in how we react to shifting environments”
Dax CraigPie Insurance Services


Top 100 Insurance Professionals look forward

RPS has tasked Norberg with spreading her genius, as she is now going to oversee the firm’s North Barrington office. She will use her special ability to identify talent and hone it.

One of her top performers was a former Harley-Davidson salesman.

“I knew he had the drive but just needed to add the industry knowledge as he was great with clients, so could add customer value. When I’m looking for new recruits, it’s not necessarily somebody who really knows insurance.”

In addition to scouring the market for talent, she also inspires others with additional roles:

  • instructor for the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association 

  • founding member of the RPS Women’s Network

  • active within the Wisconsin chapters of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and Professional Insurance Agents 

At RT Specialty, Hall has weathered a tough time to come through stronger. By the end of the third quarter of 2022, fewer projects were being green lit.

“That led to greater competition for deals by insurance agents and brokers. To find growth you needed to outthink, outwork, and outexecute the competition. This can equate to putting in longer hours, more marketing, diversifying into new products, and creative thinking that would set you apart from everyone else to win you the business,” he says. 

And he revealed how he drove his team to never take the small details for granted.

“A hard market will challenge a broker, but a hard market with fewer deals will really challenge a broker to bring their A-game. As you get further along in your career and have cast a wider and wider net, you can get spread too thin quickly. You must stay disciplined, keep your head down, grind, continue to learn and keep developing fresh strategy, products, and solutions.”

Holding a long-term mindset has also set Craig up for repeat success. He has made sure there has been no tradeoff between revenue and standards.

“I’ve made it a priority to guarantee that Pie’s expansion doesn’t come at the expense of delivering exceptional service. This will remain at the forefront of my decision-making next year as we double down on our commitment to both sustainable growth and innovative solutions that elevate the experiences of our small business customers and partners who serve them.”

He continues, “This mindset is not just a current focus but a guiding principle I intend to carry forward throughout my career.”

Chad Hall
“You need to stay one step ahead and keep that fire burning inside, or you’ll be watching from the back, not leading from the front”
Chad HallRT Specialty 


Leading Insurance Professionals in the USA | Hot 100 2024

  • Akhil Chopra
    Managing Director and Cyber Brokerage Leader
    Lockton Financial Services
  • Alexandra Glickman
    Area Vice Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Global Practice Leader – Real Estate and Hospitality Practice
  • Alka Manaktala
    Managing Partner
    IOA Insurance
  • Amy Shore
    EVP, Chief Customer Officer
  • Anthony Dagostino
    Global cyber chief underwriting officer for commercial lines
    AXA XL
  • Bill Creedon
    Global Head of Construction
    Willis Towers Watson
  • Brad Nevins
    President and Founding Partner
    FastrackCE, a Direct Connection Advertising and Marketing Company
  • Carolyn Toomey
    Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer, Arch Healthcare
    Arch Insurance
  • Casey Hartley
    SVP, Head of E&S Wholesale Casualty and Environmental
    Everest Insurance
  • Charles Williamson
    Victor Insurance
  • Chase Johnson
    Senior Vice President, Construction and Design Team Leader
    Lockton Financial Services
  • Chaya Cooperberg
    EVP, Chief People and Communications Officer
    AmTrust Financial
  • Cory Friedman
    Managing Director, Veterinary Division
    Alera Group
  • Danette Beck
    National Construction Practice Leader
    USI Insurance Services
  • Daniel Ginden
    Managing Director
    Novatae Risk Group
  • Danielle Elizabeth Lenzi
    Head of Risk Management/Risk Executive
    Rudin Management
  • Dawn D’Onofrio
    Chief Executive Officer
    WKFC, AgRisk, and Ryan Specialty National Programs
  • Deborah Fox
    Vice President
  • Denise Campbell
    Senior Vice President, Client Executive
  • Dwight Williams
    National Account Director, Management Liability Practice
    Risk Strategies Company
  • Eileen Frank
    President and CEO
    JP West
  • Fela Abioye
    Managing Director
    The Hartford
  • Garrett Droege
    Director of Innovation and Digital Risk Practice Leader
    IMA Financial Group
  • George Woods
    Head of US P&C Broker Sales Management
    Swiss Re
  • Jack Ramsey
    VP, Agency Channel
    Next Insurance
  • Jacqueline A. Waters
    Managing Partner and Practice Leader - Financial Services, Legal and Claims, Commercial Risk Solutions
  • Jacqueline Roth
    President of Employee Benefits
    IMA Financial Group
  • Jeff Breskin
    Senior Vice President, Risk Management
    The J. Morey Company
  • Jeff Lamb
    Executive Director, Programs and Alliances
    Markel Specialty
  • Jen Jacobson
    Head of North America, Professional Lines
    AXIS Capital
  • Jen Tadin
    MD, Global Small Business and President of Gallagher Agency Alliance
  • Jennifer Hammersley
    Senior Vice President, Head of Financial Lines Underwriting
    Swiss Re
  • Jennifer Wilson
    Senior Vice President, National Cyber Practice Lead
  • John Chu
    Founder and CEO
    Bamboo Insurance
  • Katie Davies
    CEO and President of JEM Underwriting Managers and CEO of Technical Risk Underwriters
    Ryan Specialty
  • Ken Leibow
    Chief Executive Officer
    InsurTech Express
  • Kent Hamilton
    President /Insurance Broker/Producer
    Front Row Insurance Brokers LLC
  • Kimberly George
    Global Head, Innovation & Product Development
  • Kristen D. Peed
    Corporate Director, Risk Management and Insurance
    Sequoia Consulting Group
  • Kristin Kraeger
    Chief Executive Officer, Professional Services
  • Lael Chappell
    Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
  • Larry Fine
    Management Liability Coverage Leader, FINEX North America
    Willis Towers Watson
  • Leanne Berry
    Vice President, Distribution
    Vantage Risk Companies
  • Mary Pat Joyce
    Managing Executive, Carrier Alliance
    Markel Specialty
  • Matthew McLellan
    Managing Director
  • Michael J. Sicard
    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
    USI Insurance Services
  • Michele G. Centeno
    Senior Vice President
    Lockton Financial Services
  • Michelle Chia
    Head of Professional Liability and Cyber
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  • Michelle Lopilato
    Head of Distribution and Founding Member
  • Nadia N. Hoyte
    Executive and Professional Risk Solutions
    USI Insurance Services
  • Noah Bank
    Vice President
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  • Patricia Kocsondy
    Head of US Cyber and Technology
  • Paul H. Flowers Jr.
    Regional Director of Broker and Sales Development
    Fountain Health Insurance
  • Peter R. Taffae
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Pilar Summerville
    Senior Vice President
    RT Specialty
  • Quinn Shepherd
    CEO and Managing Partner
    Sheperd Insurance
  • Rachel Miller
    Vice President, Management Liability
    Woodruff Sawyer
  • Rachel Perry
    Chief Innovation Officer, Commercial Risk North America
  • Ronald Keller
    Senior Underwriter, E&S Casualty
    Ascot Group US
  • Rusty Reid
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Sabrina Hart
    President and CEO
    Munich Re Specialty Insurance
  • Sanjay Mehta
    Executive Vice President, Chief Market Officer
    The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers
  • Scott Hudson
    President and CEO
    Gallagher Bassett
  • Senan O’Loughlin
    Executive Vice President, Head of US Mortality Markets
  • Shevawn Barder
    Founder and CEO
    AM Specialty Insurance Company
  • Steve Love
    Founder and CEO
  • Susan Rivera
    CEO and Co-Founder
    Tokio Marine HCC
  • Tammy Kocher
    Assistant Vice President, Cyber Underwriting
    BCS Financial
  • Teaqoshawn Nelson
    Senior Product Marketing Manager
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  • Theresa Le
    Chief Claims Officer
  • Thomas Elfert
    Senior Vice President
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  • Tom Reagan
    Cyber Practice Leader, FINPRO Practice
  • Tony McIntosh
    President and Partner
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  • Tracey Sharis
    President, Global Risk Solutions, North America Programs
    Liberty Mutual
  • Trent Cooksley
    Co-Founder and COO
  • Trish Buckhardt
    Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
    Nautilus Insurance Group
  • Valerie Taylor
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    The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers
  • Yiana Stavrakis
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Starting in August 2023, Insurance Business America invited insurance professionals from across the country to nominate their most exceptional leaders for the ninth annual Hot 100 list. After receiving hundreds of nominations, IB America narrowed the list down to 100 movers and shakers whose contributions have helped shape the insurance industry over the past 12 months. From innovators at the forefront of change to leaders who are transforming the way the industry does business, this year’s Hot 100 list represents the best the industry has to offer.

This report is proudly supported by the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD).

About the supporting association

Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD)

ACORD is a non-profit, industry-owned organization. For 50 years, ACORD has enabled the success of the global insurance industry by facilitating the flow of data and information across all insurance stakeholders through relevant and timely data standards. 

ACORD moves the global insurance industry forward by encouraging and facilitating global information, enabling improved efficiency, and implementing effective, strategic positioning. 

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