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Insurance Company CEO Panel 2016
Greg SomervilleGreg Somerville, President & CEO, Aviva
Prior to his appointment as CEO (in October 2013), Greg was Executive Vice President responsible for Broker Distribution, Sales and Marketing, a position he held since 2010.

Greg joined General Accident (now Aviva Canada Inc.) through the acquisition of the Prudential Insurance Company in 1992 as Vice President, Claims. Since then, he has held several increasingly senior management positions in claims, reinsurance, and surety operations.

Greg is currently chair of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) Ontario Committee, a member of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) CEO Advisory Committee, and a member of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA) Leadership Council.

Greg holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Waterloo.
Karen Gavan, President & CEO, Economical
Karen Gavan, EconomicalKaren was appointed to Economical’s Board of Directors in 2008 as an independent director and chaired the Special Committee during the time of its strategic review and decision to demutualize. She also chaired the Audit Committee until her appointment as President and CEO in June 2011.

Karen is an alumnus of PwC (Coopers & Lybrand) where she began her career over thirty years ago, focused on the financial services industry and, in particular, the insurance sector. She was formerly the Chief Operating Officer of Transamerica Life Canada, where she spent 13 years, starting as their Chief Financial Officer in 1992. Karen also held senior management positions with Imperial Life Assurance Company and Canada Life Assurance Company.

Karen currently sits on the board of Mackenzie Financial Corporation and Swiss Re America Holding Corporation and has served on the boards of a number of corporations, primarily in the financial services industry. She is a past director of a number of charitable organizations, including the Children’s Aid Foundation.

Karen is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Jean-François Blais, President, Intact
Jean-François Blais, IntactJean-François was named President of Intact Insurance in 2011 after leading AXA Canada’s operations as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a Board member for seven years. At the helm of Intact Insurance, he makes himself readily accessible, is an active listener, and appreciates the support of the 3500 people in more than 20 offices across Canada. He understands that their collective efforts in providing high-quality service to brokers and an outstanding experience to customers make the company a strong partner for more than 2000 brokers and their customers.
Jean-François and his colleagues are working hard to ensure that Intact continues to build a world-class P&C insurer. They are confident that their efforts will prove successful by living their values of behaving with integrity, respecting each other, being customer-driven, striving for excellence, and being socially responsible.
Jean-François holds a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from Laval University. He is also a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Gene Paulsen, President & CEO, Peace Hills
Gene Paulsen, Peace HillsGene is no stranger to insurance, although he originally had no intention of following in his father’s footsteps. While Gene was growing up in Erickson, Manitoba, his father owned H.R. Paulsen Insurance. Gene has held various positions across the country with Kernaghan Adjusters, Manitoba Public Insurance, Guardian Insurance, Royal Sun Alliance, and Economical Insurance Group before joining Peace Hills in 2012. He became president & CEO in January 2015.

An avid sports fan and casual curler and golfer, Gene is a proud father of three grown children and lives with his wife, Helena, in Edmonton.
J.R. (Bob) Tisdale, President & COO, Pembridge
J.R. (Bob) Tisdale, PembridgeBob is also President and COO of Pafco Insurance Company, Chair of the Insurance Institute of Canada, and Chair of the Facility Association. He is a strong advocate of industry professionalism through education.
Rowan Saunders, President & CEO, RSA
Rowan Saunders, RSARowan has been President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (RSA Canada), one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurance companies in terms of direct premiums written, since September 2003. He is also a member of the global Executive Committee of RSA Insurance Group plc. Since joining RSA Canada in 1987, Rowan has held progressive leadership positions in the areas of underwriting, marketing, sales, and finance. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and was the IBC’s past Chair. Rowan was appointed to the Board of Directors of Equitable Group Inc. (TSX:ETC) in May 2013 and participates as a member of its Audit and Corporate Governance Committees.
Duane Sanders, President & CEO, Travelers

Duane Sanders, TravelersDuane is also a member of the International Leadership Board for Travelers International. He brings more than 32 years of insurance experience to these leadership roles.


Duane joined Travelers in 2001 and has held several senior management positions during his tenure at the company. Joining International in 2012 as the lead for International Product Development, he has spearheaded the introduction of new products for Canada, UK, and other emerging markets.


In 2010–2012, Duane served as Senior Vice President of U.S. Claim Operations with responsibility for national Claim operations, including Claim product development and Claim service. Prior to his Claim assignment, he served as Vice President of Select Product Management in 2008–2010, focusing on the insurance needs of small businesses. In 2005–2008, he was Vice President of Auto Claims, where he led a series of strategic initiatives around developing common objectives, consistency, innovation, and performance excellence. In 2004–2005, Duane was Vice President for Claim Strategy, and in 2001–2004, he was Vice President of the company’s Non-Standard Auto programs.


Prior to joining Travelers, Duane held various senior leadership positions at Mobile America Insurance Group, Consolidated International Insurance Group, Cigna Financial Institutional Services, and Progressive Insurance.


He is active in the community, having served as the South East Division lead for the United Way, and has been a volunteer with the Hartford Jaycees for nine years. Duane earned his bachelor’s degree in Natural Science and Mathematics from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. He and his wife, Maureen, have four children.

Jeff Goy, President & CEO, Wawanesa
Jeff Goy, WawanesaJeff works for Wawanesa Mutual Insurance in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and was appointed President and CEO in May 2014.  

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from the University of Manitoba and is an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS). In 2007 he earned the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation.

He currently sits on the IBC Board of Directors and previously served on the Boards of the General Insurance Statistical Agency and the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO). He is a member of the Winnipeg United Way Campaign Cabinet as the Chair of the Major Corporations Division and is also a Director on the Board of the Manitoba Jockey Club.
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