Sy Foguel - ACAS, FILAA
Chief Executive Officer & President
As Chief Executive Officer and President, Sy Foguel leads the strategic planning and positioning of the organization, helping to promote initiatives that make realization of both short- and long-term goals possible. His involvement with the company has been marked by numerous accomplishments. While at Clal Insurance of Israel, he was the individual who first recognized the potential of a small, regional monoline carrier (i.e., GUARD in 2006) and was instrumental in the acquisition of this organization in 2007, which ultimately resulted in him being named Chief Executive Officer and President of GUARD. Since 2007, the company’s annual premiums have more than tripled (despite very challenging economic times) while maintaining a combined ratio well below industry peers and diversifying into new lines of property and casualty coverage. In 2012, he then helped orchestrate the profitable sale of GUARD to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (specifically National Indemnity Company) and has continued in his role as CEO/President – rebranding the group as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies and becoming a nationwide carrier.
Prior to his current tenure, Sy had accumulated diverse international, executive-level insurance industry experience, including roles as CEO of IDI Bituch Yashir of Israel, Executive Vice President of Clal Insurance of Israel, and Senior Vice President of Arch Insurance in the United States as well as being in charge of other international insurance ventures such as a Lloyd’s Syndicate and a Romanian entity.
Sy is an honors graduate of the Computer Engineering and Mathematics Faculties at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is a certified actuary in both the U.S. and Israel, and is a member of several actuarial societies in both countries (ACAS, FILAA).
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Chief Operating Officer & Executive VP
Chief Operating Officer Carl Witkowski joined the organization in 1996 after working for nearly a decade as a consultant. Throughout his tenure, he has spearheaded numerous initiatives such as transforming the organization to 100% paperless processing in the early 2000’s and leading the re-platforming of our proprietary systems to a browser-based environment. Similarly, Carl’s prior leadership experience in the health care field has enabled him to serve a key role in formulating and shaping managed care strategies that have allowed Berkshire Hathaway GUARD to excel in delivering superior claims service that provides quality care to injured workers while containing costs. As
current President of GUARDCo, he ensures standards of excellence and best practices are achieved.
As part of his current duties, he leads Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s information and technology group and is also “curator” of the company’s “human capital” and culture. In 2001 (the only year the company participated), GUARD was named the second Best Large Place to Work in Pennsylvania. All operational units currently fall under Carl’s leadership, including Claims processing, Small and Intermediate Business Unit underwriting, and
Customer Service and Support functions.
Carl has extensive past management, executive, and leadership experiences. He exited his two-decade career in behavioral health as Clinical Director of one of Pennsylvania’s most diverse behavioral health organizations. He was also engaged in private practice (providing both clinical counseling and management consulting), was a graduate faculty member of Marywood University for 12 years, and is a frequent presenter on information technology and human capital topics at national conferences. A cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton, Carl received his Master’s degree through the Marywood University Graduate School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
Eitan brings two decades of global business experience to his responsibilities as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. In addition to the duties typically associated with those roles, he also supervises the company’s reinsurance and enterprise risk management functions, the corporate legal department, and facilities, internal audit, premium audit, and compliance and government relations staff.
Prior to his current appointment, he served as Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s Chief Risk and Financial Planning Officer and was part of the executive team involved in the organization’s acquisition by National Indemnity Company (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway). Before that, Eitan was a long-term consultant with Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings, Ltd., and member of the GUARD Board of Directors. His professional experiences are international in scope and involved a number of senior management positions, including tenures as both a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). He has led negotiations and business development activities globally, has a background that encompasses diverse industries, and has served on (and worked with) the Boards of Directors of various public and private organizations.
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA Isr.), Eitan is a graduate of Tel Aviv University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting and economics.
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Allan Kerin - FCAS, MAAA
Chief Actuary & Executive VP
Allan brings over 25 years of experience to his responsibilities as Chief Actuary and Executive Vice President. His responsibilities include overseeing Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies’ Actuarial, State Filings, and Technical Analysis units. Via his role managing these departments, Allan is responsible for gathering and analyzing data that forms the foundation upon which our strategic plans and new products are built. Allan is instrumental in implementing the organization’s long-term business plan, which includes broadening our commercial insurance specialty with additional lines of coverage.
Prior to joining GUARD in 2007, Allan held a variety of actuarial positions. Most recently, he served as Vice President and Senior Pricing Actuary for Arch Insurance Group in New York. In this capacity, he was Actuary for the Executive Insurance Division. He also was responsible for coordinating and setting standards and procedures for rate and rules filings for all lines of insurance; was involved in numerous modeling projects related to both pricing and loss analysis; and participated in the organization’s strategic planning process. Before joining Arch, Allan worked at Insurance Services Office (ISO), Inc. from 1981 to 2003 in positions of steadily increasing responsibility and scope. Between 1990 and 1997, he served as a Manager in the Actuarial Development Department and the Personal Lines Actuarial Division. From 1997 to 2003, he was Assistant Vice President in charge of the Increased Limits and Rating Plans Division.
Allan is an alumnus of the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics. He is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and has served on numerous CAS committees and task forces. He is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and the NCCI Retrospective Rating Plan Working Group, and he served on the ISO Commercial Casualty Actuarial Panel. Allan co-authored a paper published in the CAS Forum on the effect of tort reform legislation on expected liability insurance losses.
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Lyle Hitt - CPCU
Executive VP of Property & Liability Insurance
In his role as Executive Vice President, Lyle Hitt brings with him over a quarter century of experience in the insurance industry in positions of increasing responsibility. For Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, Lyle is responsible for overseeing activities related to lines used to complement the company’s traditional specialty – Workers’ Compensation coverage. Specifically, he will help Berkshire Hathaway GUARD realize the goal of becoming a “One-Stop Insurance Shop” for small- to medium-sized commercial accounts. He will lead the expansion of the organization’s Property and Liability lines into new states; refine existing products to address the needs of an even wider audience of commercial accounts; and develop new complementary coverages and products such as Professional Liability insurance (a long-term area of expertise for Lyle).
Prior to his current tenure, he served as an executive at Arch Insurance Group where he most recently oversaw the insurer’s Professional Liability Division, Corporate Training, and Travel Insurance Division. During his time at that carrier, he successfully grew the written premium of several divisions and served as a member of the company’s strategy group. Prior to his tenure at Arch, he held executive positions at Zurich North America.
Lyle is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He has obtained his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation.
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Senior VP of Claims
As Senior Vice President of Claims, Dan Brennan has assumed responsibility for consolidating all of Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s claims-related functions into a single department. Specifically, he is in charge of GUARDCo and the Early Intervention Unit (which he helped to create), the Complex Claims Unit, Medical-Only Unit, Third-Party Claims Unit, and other claims lines. In this capacity, he establishes the policies and procedures used to orchestrate the efforts of each group while introducing new forms of automation to ensure the efficient and effective use of resources. Over the past several years, he has been instrumental in developing assistive adjudication technologies used to streamline much of the simpler, repetitive work of the discipline. He is also in charge of implementing the reserving practices and philosophies of the corporate management team.
Dan first joined the organization as a GUARDCo Cooperative Care Administrative Specialist and was part of the group that introduced the techniques of managed care to the handling of Workers’ Compensation claims at GUARD. More recently, Dan served as Vice President of Insurance Operations.
Prior to his tenure at Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, Dan served as the Manager of Quality and Risk Management for the Wyoming Valley Health Care System while working for General Medical Services Corporation in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He also served as the Regional Managed Care Manager for the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Radnor, working with physicians in providing comprehensive case management for patients. Before assuming that position, he was the Managed Care Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. Dan also spent nearly a decade
as a Nurse at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia.
A graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, he earned his Master of Science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dan is a member of the Medical Issues Committee of PCI and is currently pursuing his Chartered Property/Casualty Underwriting designation.
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As General Counsel for Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, Mike Dulin oversees our in-house Legal Department of Attorneys, Paralegals, and Assistants involved in a wide range of activities, including: preparing contracts; coordinating resources to ensure appropriate trademark and patent registrations; handling legal questions involving regulatory and licensing issues; and interpreting laws. Mike advises our staff on day-to-day legal issues affecting operational matters. He establishes guidelines for appointing and overseeing litigators utilized by the insurance company subsidiaries in more complicated cases, and he is involved with administering internal legal resources and outside vendors utilized for collections, premium audit matters, and policy issues.
Prior to joining GUARD in 1995, Mike spent six years as a Corporate Counsel for the PMA Group in Philadelphia. In this capacity, he negotiated and drafted various contracts, managed litigation assigned to outside counsel, and assisted Underwriters and the Controller in assessing the financial risk associated with potential policyholders and the corresponding security arrangements which could be taken to offset those risks. Before working at the PMA Group, Mike was a self-employed attorney in Philadelphia.
Mike is an alumnus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in management. He later earned both his Master of Business Administration in finance and his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Mike is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar Associations and is actively involved in a number of professional organizations such as the American Bar Association (ABA), the Pennsylvania Association of Corporate Insurance Counsel, the American Corporate Counsel Association (ACCA), and Beta Gamma Sigma honorary business fraternity.
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Senior VP of Underwriting
As the Senior Vice President of Underwriting, Sean helps to establish Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s underwriting philosophy, appetite, and procedures for all lines of coverage to ensure that corporate goals for profitability are achieved. He is also directly responsible for all of the company’s Underwriting Business Units.
Throughout his tenure, Sean has had many accomplishments. He is credited with refining an expert-type system for our Small Business Unit (which has historically issued over 90% of the companies’ policies) with guidelines, rules, and logic in place to limit the number and nature of the decisions that had to be made and, thereby, expediting processing. In addition, he was instrumental in introducing the concept of Small Business Unit Teams to better manage workflow AND still satisfy rigorous customer service standards. For Premium Audit (his original point of entry within the industry), he spearheaded the creation of a new, voluntary on-line audit procedure to supplement existing methodologies.
With over 20 years of experience within the insurance industry (including about a decade and a half with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD), he was previously employed by Legion Insurance Company in Philadelphia. Sean has worked in various roles on the agency side of operations and obtained his Pennsylvania producer license in the early 1990’s.
Sean graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Moravian College. He is currently working on getting his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
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Senior VP of Sales
As Senior Vice President of Sales, Dave Simmons is responsible for overseeing all activities relating to the marketing, communications and sales operations of the organization. He manages GUARD’s Field Sales Operations and Home Office Sales responsible for business growth in all jurisdictions. Dave maintains a focus on strengthening relationships with the existing Independent Agency groups that represent GUARD throughout the United States while adding new appointments in targeted areas. By successfully coordinating these activities (including involvement in product development and oversight of advertising, public relations, and other sales support initiatives) and by creating a culture responsive to the needs of customers, he helps maintain Berkshire Hathaway GUARD’s growth and revenue stream. He also remains personally involved with key strategic partnerships to ensure the full potential of opportunities is realized in a mutually beneficial way.
Dave has over 35 years of experience within the insurance industry in positions of increasing scope and authority. He has worked in management at the field and home office level in both commercial lines and personal lines. Since much of his earlier insurance experience encompassed underwriting duties, he has an appreciation for the complexities involved in developing, writing, and retaining profitable production.
A graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, Dave has augmented his education through various programs, including the Insurance Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and executive education classes through the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia. He has obtained his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation and has earned a certificate in General Insurance from the Insurance Institute.
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Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analytics
As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Analytics (SBAU), Jim works closely with all disciplines and the executive management team in providing the information needed to measure the effectiveness of GUARD’s performance and make key operational and strategic planning decisions. In addition to his role with internal departments, he interacts regularly with a number of outside business partners such as reinsurers and third-party data modelers. Directly reporting to the CEO, he works in close conjunction with GUARD’s entire management team to facilitate key decisions.
On a daily basis, Jim oversees the efforts of the SBAU in compiling critical company data into meaningful reports used by various audiences. Since he has been with the unit from the earliest days, he has personally developed a number of the benchmarks and metrics that have become part of the fabric of GUARD’s culture. He oversaw the implementation of Business Intelligence into the Company as well as methods for monitoring emerging risks - thus helping us become “a data-driven organization.”
One way in which Jim fulfills his interdisciplinary responsibilities is through participation in key committees such as Agency Review; Pricing; Product Review; and Enterprise Risk Management (which he Chairs). These involvements enable him to have a global perspective on the operations of GUARD while contributing valuable input in key areas.
Jim has over a quarter century of experience with the organization in roles of increasing scope and authority, including various positions related to investments, statutory accounting, and technical analysis. As an original member of SBAU and subsequent head, he helped create and define the mission of the unit, which has grown and evolved over time under his leadership.
Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Scranton and a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wilkes University. He has also earned additional graduate-level credits in management information systems and is a graduate of Leadership Wilkes-Barre, which helps provide individuals with useful professional and civic development skills.
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Vice President of Business Systems
As Vice President of Business Systems at Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, Lisa Thompson is responsible for overseeing a staff that works with internal and external customers to address corporate objectives and process efficiencies requiring system software. Working closely with the Company’s developers, Lisa and her department plan, design, develop and implement specific software solutions to meet those objectives. The department also maintains the Policy and Procedure Manuals of multiple departments as well as on-line help for the Company’s Insurance Software.
Lisa has 34 years of experience with the organization in roles of increasing scope and responsibility. After joining GUARD, she worked in several departments, including Corporate, Claims and Marketing, where she gained a broad knowledge of the business and Company functions. She eventually created what is currently the State Filings Department, overseeing bureau reporting and regulatory filings. Several years later, the Business Systems Department was formed to make the system enhancement process less technical for the business units and more efficient for IT.
Lisa graduated from West Chester State College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
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Melinda Thompson, AIAF, ARe
Melinda joined the management team of Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies as Controller in October 2016. She provides support to the CFO and Executive Management through her leadership of the Finance & Accounting team. The functional areas under her responsibility include accounting operations, treasury, Statutory & GAAP reporting and annual budget & business plan.
Melinda came to GUARD with over 30 years of industry experience with 5 property and casualty insurance groups, which included both personal & commercial lines and admitted & non-admitted carriers. During those 30 years, Melinda held senior roles in accounting & finance as well as IT, reinsurance portfolio management and governmental relations.
Melinda graduated from East Carolina University in North Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.
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Dovid Tkatch, FCAS, MAAA, CPCU
Senior Vice President of Personal Lines
As Senior Vice President of Personal Lines at Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, Dovid Tkatch is responsible for creating and implementing a suite of differentiated Personal Lines products that expand our offering while developing a profitable book of business.
Prior to joining Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, Dovid spent most of the past two decades in various roles at well-known national and international insurance companies. He was the Deputy Head of Commercial Pricing at AIG and introduced a new level of sophistication to the methodologies utilized. Prior to that, he was the Chief Pricing Actuary for Zurich Latin America in Miami, Florida, and oversaw pricing for all lines of business.
Dovid is a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, and a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter. A graduate of Yeshiva University in New York, New York, Dovid received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.
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