WR Berkley, an insurance holding company, has named Steven Gallacher as new president of Preferred Employers Insurance Company, effective immediately.

Gallacher will succeed Linda Smith, who has served as president of Preferred Employers since its inception in 1998 and has overseen its growth into a successful member company of WR Berkley.

Smith will become chairman of Preferred Employers and assist Gallacher and the company with this transition.

Gallacher has 30 years of experience in the property casualty insurance industry, most recently served as senior vice president responsible for underwriting and marketing at another California-focused property and casualty insurer specializing in workers’ compensation insurance.

Preferred Employers is a provider of workers’ compensation coverage for small owner-managed businesses in California and serves approximately 12,000 customers covering a spectrum of industries throughout the state.

WR Berkley chairman of the board and CEO William Berkley said under Steve’s guidance, Preferred Employers and the professionals who have made it so successful, will continue to serve the specific needs of California employers.