The Spencer Educational Foundation announced that it elected six individuals to its board: Joseph Cellura (Allied World), Jeffrey M. Cohen (Advisen Ltd.), Duncan Ellis (Marsh USA, LLC), Johnell Holly (FM Global), Joseph V. LaRocco, Jr. (Willis Towers Watson), and Michele J. Sansone (AXA XL).
“I welcome Joe, Jeff, Duncan, Johnell, Joe and Michele to the Spencer board. We look forward to working with them and their companies as we continue funding the education of tomorrow’s risk management and insurance industry leaders,” said Zakia Phillips, chairperson of Spencer.
Joseph Cellura is the President of the North American Casualty Division at Allied World. In this role, Mr. Cellura is responsible for the production and profitability of the following lines of business: Primary Casualty, Excess Casualty, Environmental, Surety, Primary Construction and Programs. Prior to joining Allied World in 2008 as Senior Vice President, U.S. Casualty in New York, he held various roles at AIG. These roles included, responsibilities as a senior manager for the umbrella/excess casualty group, senior management responsibilities in the environmental risk division and leadership responsibilities in the construction practice group. Joseph holds a B.S. Degree from the University of California at Davis.
Jeffrey M. Cohen is Executive Vice President of Global Business Development at Advisen. He is a sales & marketing executive with over 30 years of experience focused on data, analytics, media, and news businesses aimed at the insurance and financial sectors. Mr. Cohen is responsible for setting and implementing Advisen’s strategy for global business development. He reports directly to the CEO, and is a member of the firm's Strategy Group and the Executive Committee. In Aug 2018, he was named as a Board Observer to the Board of Directors. Mr. Cohen joined Advisen in July 2003 after spending over 15 years at Bloomberg, where he played pivotal roles in sales, sales management and global marketing. He graduated from Cornell University with a BA in Biology. He is a board member and past president at the Center for Hearing and Communication, a non-profit agency based in New York City which serves all people with hearing loss.
Duncan Ellis is a Managing Director and Leader of Marsh’s US Property Practice based in NYC. Mr. Ellis oversees approximately 217 brokers handling approximately 3,000 clients and $3.2 billion in premium in the Risk Management and Corporate segments. Mr. Ellis’ responsibilities include the program design, marketing, and servicing of new and existing global, international and domestic property programs. Mr. Ellis is also overseeing Marsh’s Alternative Risk Transfer Group, a dedicated group of Marsh colleagues focusing on innovative financial solutions for clients that draw on a mix of traditional and alternative capital sources. Mr. Ellis began his career in 1986 as a Commercial Lines underwriter for The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies in NYC. He joined Marsh’s Multinational Resources Department (MRD) in June 1992, leaving his position as department underwriting manager of Chubb’s Midtown International department in NYC. Mr. Ellis holds a BS from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and an MBA in corporate finance and international business from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He is currently an active board member at The John Street Club.
Johnell Holly is the Operations Senior Vice President, Operations Manager for FM Global – New York, and has been in this role since January 2017. He directs client service, engineering and processing, and creates strategies for retaining clients and developing new business opportunities for New York Operations. He previously served as the Operations Vice President for Asia Operations based in Singapore. Mr. Holly has been in several positions worldwide over his seventeen (17) year tenure with FM Global beginning in 2001. Prior positions have included: Client Service Management; Business Development Executive; Account Manager; Underwriter; and Consultant Engineer. Before joining FM Global, he served seven (7) years in the U.S. Army as part of various commands concluding his military career with the US Special Forces Command. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science/Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Joseph V. LaRocco, Jr. is Head of Carrier Management – North America, for Willis Towers Watson’s (WTW) Corporate Risk & Broking (CRB) segment. In this role Joe is responsible for the proactive engagement with the company’s major insurer trading partners and handling complex business challenges. He is involved in numerous major client transactions and passionate about elevating the overall credibility of the organization. Mr. LaRocco is also focused on maintaining and improving executive connectivity between insurer partners and WTW senior leadership. He is a member of both the North American CRB Broking Executive team and the Global CRB Broking Executive team. Mr. LaRocco started his insurance career with Johnson & Higgins. He also worked for Marsh, The Park Group, and Risk Placement Services (RPS) Arthur J. Gallagher’s wholly owned Managing General Agent, Program Manager & Wholesaler. He joined Willis in 2012 and previously served as Regional Broking Officer (RBO) for the US Midwest Region, leading the company’s regional Property, Casualty, Middle Market, International and Construction brokerage operations. He has served as a mentor and advisor, and is often cited for his inclusive leadership, integrity, work ethic, ability to strategize and negotiation skills. He received an MBA from the University of Connecticut with dual concentrations in International Business and Finance. He holds a BA degree from Binghamton University and pursued graduate studies at Duke University.
As President of AXA XL North America Property business, Michele J. Sansone directs AXA XL’s property underwriting activities, including General Property, E&S and Equipment Breakdown across the US, Canada and Bermuda. She was promoted to this position in May 2014. Previously, she served as Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) of the business and was responsible for establishing underwriting standards and protocols that helped XL Catlin (now AXA XL) in effectively and profitably address businesses’ most complex property risks. Ms. Sansone joined XL Catlin (now AXA XL) in October 2011 as Senior Vice President, Eastern Zone Executive. With more than 30 years serving the global property market, her knowledge of managing large global property risks is unparalleled. She started her career at AIG and Home Insurance Company, attending one of their underwriting trainee programs. Since then, Ms. Sansone held numerous underwriting positions including progressively senior positions at Zurich, most recently managing the company’s US Eastern Property Division. She also dedicates her time to numerous charitable activities. She served on the March of Dimes Board since 2014 and co-chaired their Gourmet Gala in 2014 & 2015. In addition, Michele has sponsored the Tom Joyce Scholarship Fund Golf Outing since 1998 with proceeds benefiting St. John’s School of Risk Management, Insurance & Actuarial Science since 2012.