January 4, 2022
Western National Announces Upcoming Retirement of Rich Kalina, Chief Underwriting Officer; New Management Roles
(Minneapolis, Minn.) After 42 years in the insurance industry and nine years leading underwriting operations at Western National, Rich Kalina (Senior Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer) has announced his plan to retire in April 2022. This leadership transition has prompted a realignment and reorganization of two key areas at Western National: Product and Underwriting.
“Rich’s upcoming retirement creates a need to both fill his role and to realign our current organizational structure to support the growing scope and needs of our group of companies,” said Rick Long, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western National. “We are grateful for Rich’s contributions to Western National, and we appreciate his assistance as we realign these two areas.”
As part of this reorganization, the following members of Western National Insurance Group’s management team have assumed new roles:
- Jeff Couchman, MBA, CPCU, ARe, AU, formerly Senior Vice President – Marketing and Agency Sales, has been promoted to Executive Vice President – Underwriting and Sales. In this new role, he will oversee the underwriting, marketing, sales, and business development functions. Mr. Couchman is in his fourteenth year with the Group.
- Patricia Harris, CPCU, formerly Senior Vice President – Personal Lines and Product and Data Management, has been promoted to Executive Vice President – Product and Operations. This newly formed Product and Operations Department will include Operations for Personal and Commercial Lines, Data and Analytics, Product, and the addition of a new Product Implementation Team. Ms. Harris is in her eighth year with the Group.
- Dan Anderson, AIC, formerly Vice President – Commercial Lines Underwriting, has been promoted to Senior Vice President – Underwriting. In this new role, he will oversee the Personal and Commercial Lines (Central and Western Regions) Underwriting teams. Mr. Anderson has been with Western National since 2008.
- Nick Lukson, MBA, CPCU, ARM, AIM, AAI, AU, formerly Vice President and General Manager – Seattle, has been promoted to Senior Vice President – Marketing and Agency Sales. Mr. Lukson has been with the Group since 2018.
- Steve Norman, CPCU, M.A., AIT, formerly Vice President – Customer Experience and Communications, has been promoted to Senior Vice President – Communications and Customer Experience. Mr. Norman joined Western National in 2005.
- Kelly Becker, CPCU, formerly Assistant Vice President – Customer Support, will be promoted to Vice President – Operations. Ms. Becker joined Western National in 2011.
- Susan Cavanagh, MBA, formerly Assistant Vice President – Claims, will be promoted to Vice President – Claims. Ms. Cavanagh is in her tenth year with the Group.
- Maggie Kirschner, J.D., formerly Assistant Vice President – Claims, will be promoted to Vice President – Claims & General Manager – Seattle. In this new role, Ms. Kirschner will assume responsibility for the Seattle regional office. She has been with the Group since 2013.
“We are very fortunate to have built such a strong internal talent pool over the years, so we can promote entirely from within our Group. This opportunity to build on our past successes and advance the organization to our next phase gives me great confidence in our direction moving forward,” said Rick Long.
Western National Insurance, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of property-and-casualty insurance companies. The Group writes business through seven active insurance companies—Western National Mutual Insurance Company, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company, Arizona Auto Insurance Company, Umialik Insurance Company, American Freedom Insurance Company, and Nevada General Insurance Company — and is affiliated with Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. Together, the affiliated companies write over $800 million in personal and commercial direct premium in 22 states across the Northern, Midwestern, and Western U.S. as well as in Alaska; and surety bonds in 41 states. All of the affiliated companies’ products are sold exclusively through professional Independent Insurance Agents.
For further information, please contact:
Steve Norman, CPCU, M.A., AIT
Senior Vice President - Communications & Customer Experience
(952) 921-3820 or (800) 862-6070 (Ext. 7680)