Penn National Insurance announced that Robert Brandon has been named executive vice president (VP) and chief operating officer (COO), responsible for the insurance operations of the company.

Brandon’s promotion becomes effective 31 December, when Christine Sears, executive vice president and COO, who was named president and CEO-elect earlier this year, will succeed Kenneth Shutts as president & CEO, upon his retirement.

Brandon will oversee managers in charge of the company’s Underwriting Operations, Claims, Field Operations, Surety, and Penn National Insurance’s affiliated company Partners Mutual Insurance, which operates in Wis. and Iowa.

Kenneth Shutts, president & CEO, said: "These promotions clearly demonstrate that the significant time, focus and resources invested in our corporate succession-planning process have paid dividends in the development of our corporate leadership team. We are filling executive and management positions with quality candidates from inside the organization. This ensures the continuity of our mission and core values as we complete 95 years of business."

Concurrent with Brandon’s naming as executive VP and COO, John Foster has been appointed vice president – Underwriting Operations, and John Buchenauer, III, has been appointed vice president – Personal Lines. Both appointments are effective Dec. 31. Buchenauer will report to Foster, as will Commercial Lines, Internal Operations and Underwriting Initiatives. Foster, who had been serving as vice president – Personal Lines, joined Penn National Insurance in 2006.

Other announcements include a change in the reporting relationships of the company’s regional vice presidents, who manage the company’s field underwriting offices. Those field underwriting office regional vice presidents, the same local leaders as before the reporting change, will report to the vice president of Field Operations, Andrew Potalivo, a position formerly titled vice president – Marketing, Sales and Business Development. Also reporting to Potalivo are the company’s Corporate Communications, Agency Support and Business Development functions.

The company’s vice president – Corporate Underwriting, Sharon Lane, who had been reporting to Brandon, will now report to the company’s CFO, Gregory Stine, in a new position, with the title vice president – Corporate Risk. In this new role, Lane will be responsible for managing all corporate risks, including the identification, evaluation, and mitigation of underwriting and operational risks, with a particular emphasis on reinsurance and catastrophe modeling. Chad Ott will also be reporting to Stine, as the company’s vice president – Actuarial. Ott was named to the position to replace retiring VP – Actuarial John Forney.

The company’s Loss Control and Premium Audit functions, the managers of which had been reporting to Lane, will be reporting to the company’s vice president — Commercial Lines, Randy Mancini, who has held that divisional leadership position since 2012. The company’s third-party claims administration subsidiary, Inservco Insurance Services, Inc., which had been reporting to Sears, will be reporting to Stine.

Employees named in these management appointments are beginning to transition into their new roles, and the transition process will be fully implemented effective Dec. 31.

Christine Sears, president and CEO-elect, said: "We enjoy many benefits that come from having seasoned, experienced insurance professionals who have long tenure with our organization. But those benefits come at the cost of a looming retirement bubble."