Taylor Benefield serves as an actuarial analyst for the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA). The RSA is entrusted with administering over 45 billion in pension funds for participants within the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and Judicial Retirement Fund (JRF).
Over the course of 7 years, Taylor has led the implementation of multiple retirement plan changes as well as the addition of over 40 municipalities within the ERS. As Actuarial Analyst, he is responsible for managing the actuarial valuation processes for all plans administered by the RSA.
Prior to his work with the RSA, Taylor studied at the University of Alabama, graduating in 2014 with a degree in Finance/Actuarial Science.
Wade grew up in the small town of York, Alabama and was a student at the Capstone in the early 90’s. His favorite classes were business law, business leadership and a survey in world religions. He worked as an RA in Friedman Hall and Rose Towers. Wade majored in business management and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration degree in 1995. He gained insurance and risk management experience in Birmingham at EMC Insurance, Compass Bank and Vulcan Materials before his UA homecoming in April of 2014.
Tyler Watts is the son of a high school coach and school teacher, and learned about respect and commitment at an early age. A natural athlete with drive and self-discipline, Tyler became the starting quarterback as a high school freshman and graduated with honors such as All-State, Gatorade Player of the Year, and USA’s Top recruit.
Tyler signed with The University of Alabama in 1998 where he served as team captain both his junior and senior years. Watts notably led The Tide to an SEC Championship in 1999 and a victory over rival Tennessee after a 7-year losing streak.
Tyler graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from The University of Alabama in 2002. He served 14 years as the color commentator for MY68 Friday Night Lights. Tyler has also served as co-host for Crimson Tide Sports Network’s pre and post-game radio show, since 2003. Currently, he serves as President of an Independent Insurance Agency, Tyler Watts & Associates.
Tyler grew up in Pelham, AL where he currently resides with his wife, Jana. They are the proud parents of four children; Tanner, JohnTyler, Harper, and Chandler.
Jill is Department Manager of Actuarial Services at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Samford University and a Master of Education from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Jill taught middle school math in Hoover, AL before beginning her actuarial career at Blue Cross. She has been in management since 2006 and attained her Fellowship in 2007. She currently leads the Individual/Small Group and Senior Products pricing teams, as well as Valuation/Financial Reporting. She enjoys reading and her current community involvement includes food rescues for Grace Klein Community Food Bank, volunteering at Green Valley Church, and supporting March of Dimes.
Tenesia is an Actuary at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. Her roles prior to Blue Cross include Senior Actuarial Consultant at Optum, Actuarial Analyst at Anthem, and Pension Consultant at Towers Watson. Tenesia graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Actuarial Science and she received her Fellowship designation in 2014. She is a dedicated volunteer serving as a Board Member of the International Association of Black Actuaries, a Society of Actuaries (SOA) Professional Conduct Task Force Co-Chair, and an SOA Professional Development Committee Member. She is also an avid traveler and has been to all seven continents.
Don Curtin is a Senior Vice President of Treaty Marketing for Gen Re. He has worked in the reinsurance business for the past 39 years. After graduation from The University of Alabama in 1983, he went to work for General Reinsurance Corporation in Kansas City as a Casualty Facultative Underwriter. In 1985, he moved to the Los Angeles office and in 1987, was a founder of The Program Department specializing in managing the books of businesses. Over the next several years the team grew the books to over $100m of premium. In 1993, he moved to Atlanta to become The Program Manager. He has become a Regional Manager and Treaty Account Executive since that time as well.
Mr. Curtin has managed casualty lines of business all over North America & Puerto Rico. He has managed a wide array of clients and segments of business. Books of businesses that he has managed range from the Commercial and Personal umbrella business to Movie Completion Bonds and Professional lines coverage for Hospitals and Blood/Tissue Banks.
Mr. Curtin resides in Suwanee, GA with his wife, Cindy and German Shorthaired Pointer. His children and grandchildren all live in the Atlanta area as well.
Will Johnston graduated from UA in 2015 with an MSF. While in school, he held the Actuarial Chair position for the AIS. He completed my FSA in 2018 and has worked at Protective Life his whole career. Will has been in a variety of roles from financial reporting & reserving, product development and pricing, and enterprise risk management. But for the last few years, he’s worked in the Investment department as a derivatives hedger, trading mostly equity futures and options on the various major US indices.
Rodney Smith joined Lloyd’s as US Regional Director of the Southeast region in late 2010.
Rodney is a graduate of the Risk Management and Insurance department of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry.
He was originally trained as a property/casualty underwriter by Aetna, moving from there to Southeast Regional Director of Claims & Risk Control at GAB and Gates McDonald.
James Washer, CEO of The Infinite Actuary, graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Applied Mathematics. He received his FSA in 2006 after passing all of his exams on the first attempts. He is the instructor for TIA’s Exam FM and LTAM courses. He has instructed at TIA since 2006 and helped thousands of students in that time.
James lives in Helena, AL with his wife, Laura, and their two sons, Thomas and Carson.
Shep Tapasak has 25+ years underwriting experience with healthcare professional liability. His background includes both home office and field operations leadership roles in several large property/casualty insurance companies. Shep began his insurance career as an actuary. He received his B.S. from SUNY-Binghamton, and J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. Additionally, he completed his CPCU.
I am a native of Louisville, KY, with a degree in Economics and Management from Centre College in Danville KY (we beat Harvard in 1921 for the greatest upset of the century). I have over thirty-four years of total life underwriting experience with three companies. I have been employed with Protective Life for over 26 years where I am currently the technical lead working with the Direct Writing Team.
Twice I was president of the Alabama Home Office Underwriter’s and Claims Association. I have been married for 36 years to my wife Susan and we have three children- two girls and one boy. My interests include reading, working with men from The Fire House Ministries in Birmingham, running and participating in triathlons.
Kevin Burke, PhD, ARe, CPCU, AU, FCAS, MAAA is an actuary at Alfa Mutual Insurance Company and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Prior to working at Alfa, Kevin worked at Southern Farm Bureau Insurance Company and Florida Farm Bureau Insurance. He has a PhD in mathematics from the State University of New York University at Albany and a BA from the Massachusetts College for the Liberal Arts.
Brennen Slaney is originally from Cincinnati, OH and attended the University of Alabama from 2016-2019. He majored in Finance with a specialization in Actuarial Science. He also completed the AMP program in Applied Statistics. During his time at UA, Brennen was involved in the Alabama Insurance Society and was a Culverhouse Ambassador. He interned at Western & Southern Life in Cincinnati during summer 2018, working on their Forecasting & Risk Analysis team. In 2019, Brennen interned at Cigna in Nashville with their AEDP in Individual & Family Plans, and returned to Cigna full time after graduating in 2020. He works in Medicare Advantage Pricing, and prices the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets for Cigna. Brennen also is involved in the Intern Committee and Campus Recruiting for the AEDP. When not working or studying, Brennen enjoys working out, hiking and finding new restaurants.
Cory Reamer is a former American football linebacker who played for the New York Jets in the NFL. Prior to that, he graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Finance. With over 10 years of experience in financial markets he is the Vice President of Capital Markets for Bryant Bank in Huntsville, Alabama.
W. H. “Skip” Cooper, CPCU, served as president of Amwins for 11 years before transitioning into his current role as vice chair. With 35 years in the industry, Skip has extensive knowledge of large property account structures and placement management, as well as product research and development. His expertise in customer, client and market relationships has helped drive Amwins to its position as a leading specialty brokerage and underwriting organization.
Prior to joining Amwins, Skip had served as executive vice president of CRC Insurance Services, a company he joined in 1985 as its 12th employee. During his time at CRC, Skip formed the Property Department, along with AmRisc Underwriting, and held many leadership positions within the firm. Prior to 1985, he worked in various industry positions including underwriting at Fireman’s Fund and internships at Lloyds of London. Skip graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Finance.
Corinne Anderson is a Product Development Actuary with Protective Life’s Retirement Division in Birmingham, AL. With a background in annuity product pricing and competitive intelligence, her focus is on design and creation of new products to address consumer’s retirement needs. She is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst through the SOA, and member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She graduated from The University of Alabama in 2014 with a Master’s Degree in Applied Statistics and a Bachelor’s in Finance and Mathematics.
Nick Zito is a Director, Actuary at Unum Group, where he leads the Experience Analysis function for the Voluntary Benefits (VB) products lines. In this role, he partners with Underwriting, Pricing, and Valuation teams to provide data insights on voluntary Accident, Critical Illness, Cancer, Hospital, Disability, and Life insurance products. He currently resides in Chattanooga, TN, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama (2011) and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
Phillip Stano‘s 40 years of experience—as a state insurance regulator, chief litigation counsel and lobbyist for the nation’s largest life insurer trade association, and law firm partner—enabled him to achieve positive outcomes in complex class action and other financial services litigation and regulatory, legislative, and compliance disputes. Phillip represented many of the nation’s insurers, which write all lines of insurance. Phillip appeared on their behalf in administrative hearings and state and federal trial and appellate courts nationwide on a variety of regulatory, compliance, marketing, and legal issues.
Prior to his career as a partner at two law firms, Phillip served as chief litigation counsel at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), where he filed more than 350 briefs on “first impression” issues affecting all aspects of the insurance industry’s practices. He organized and directed ACLI’s class action, state tort/judicial reform, insurer legal privileges, arbitration and insurance anti-fraud legislative reform efforts. Before ACLI, Phillip was assistant attorney general and general counsel to the Alabama Insurance Department, where he litigated numerous civil and some criminal matters at the administrative, trial and appellate court levels. He has extensive experience from insurer formation/ acquisition to rehabilitation/liquidation, along with all facets of insurer, agent, and insured activity.
Scott Huisinga is an Assistant Pricing Manager for Allstate Insurance, leading personal lines pricing for Oklahoma and New Mexico. He joined Allstate in 2016 and has worked primarily on Home and Auto pricing in many states across the country, most recently focusing on the Southwest region of the United States. Scott has experience with traditional and predictive modeling ratemaking techniques, covering a variety of topics including catastrophes, telematics, and usage-based insurance. Scott is a 2016 graduate of The University of Alabama and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society.
Danny Bentley, President of BrightBenefits, is a leader in fostering innovation, driving organizational change and strategic planning. Prior to leading BrightBenefits, he served as President of Davis Vision, the nation’s third largest insurer with approximately 22 million members.
Bentley began his career at Protective Life where he created and pioneered the voluntary, ancillary benefits products industry by introducing the nation’s first voluntary dental product. He later joined A.G. Edwards Investment Banking, serving as a Managing Director and Head of the firm’s Insurance Practice before rejoining the insurance industry.
“Our goal for BrightBenefits is to be a trusted partner and leading provider of employee benefits products and services that help employers and their employees protect their families,” said Bentley.
Lee Bowron’s practice focuses on extended warranty, F&I products, personal and commercial lines, and environmental reserving.
Lee has been in the insurance industry since 1990 and has been a consultant since 2001. Previously, he was the Chief Actuary for The General auto insurance. He has written articles on GAP insurance, Vehicle Service Contracts and other topics for journals and magazines, including Best’s Review.
He is an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Denny Hughes concentrates on the defense of bad faith, fraud and punitive damage actions and other insurance defense matters at the trial and appellate levels, as well as the defense of class actions and complex litigation. He also assists insurers in coverage evaluations and the litigation of coverage issues. In addition, he represents employers in the defense of employment discrimination claims and advises employers on preventive employment law.
Mr. Hughes was appointed to the Board of the Alabama Insurance Planning Commission at the University of Alabama in 2012, for which he has been elected to serve as Chairman for 2021—2022. He is an Associate Member of the Board of the Association of Alabama Life Insurance Companies and a member of the Alabama Association of Arson Investigators. In 2001 Mr. Hughes was appointed as a Deputy Attorney General to represent the State of Alabama in the defense of civil actions against state agencies. He is a past member of the Board of Directors (President 2011—2012) of Camp Smile-a-Mile, which provides year-round programs for children with cancer and their families.