RT Specialty promotes two leaders

Company veterans step into expanded roles

RT Specialty promotes two leaders

Insurance News

By Ryan Smith

Ryan Specialty Holdings has announced the promotions of Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld and Chris Houska to president and CEO of their respective RT Specialty practices. RT Specialty is the wholesale brokerage within Ryan Specialty.

Austenfeld has been promoted to president and CEO of RT Specialty’s national property practice. She has been with RT Specialty since 2013, joining the company with its acquisition of Westrope, where she was a partner. Prior to expanding her role to include the CEO position, Austenfeld served as the president of the national property practice.

“Under Brenda’s executive guidance, RT Specialty’s property practice has grown exponentially and has become well-known for its ability to creatively and effectively handle specialized and catastrophic casualty exposures,” said Tim Turner, chairman and CEO of RT Specialty and president of Ryan Specialty.

Houska has been promoted to president of RT Specialty’s national casualty practice. He has more than 30 years of casualty insurance experience. Houska joined RT Specialty as part of the original founding group in 2010.

“I have worked with Chris for many years and have admired his deep relationships throughout the industry as well as his business acumen,” Turner said. “Chris has been instrumental to RT Specialty in cultivating acquisitions and growing our casualty practice. He is very deserving of this promotion.”

Last month, the company announced the promotion of Michael VanAcker to executive vice president. In August, Ryan Specialty named Michael Blackshear head of diversity, equity and inclusion.

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