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SOURCE Heritage Insurance
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Sept. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Heritage Insurance welcomes Mel Russell as its new Chief Underwriting Officer, Executive Vice President and Director of Sales & Marketing. Mr. Russell has 36 years of experience in the property and casualty business, and most recently served as President of United Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPC Insurance).
"Mel Russell brings a wealth of experience and understands the intricacies of the Florida homeowners insurance market," said Chairman Bruce Lucas. "We feel extremely fortunate to have him on our team."
Mel Russell began his career in Boston as a Senior Commercial Lines Underwriter with Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. He spent the next 12 years in the New England market, initially with Fireman's Fund and subsequently with General Accident Insurance Company. He then moved to the General Accident branch office in Orlando in 1989, where he ran the personal and commercial underwriting, loss control, and premium audit departments. In 1999 Mr. Russell was a founding employee at UPC Insurance where he served as Chief Underwriting Officer, Corporate Secretary, head of Marketing, and eventually as President. He played a significant role in taking UPC from a Florida-only startup company in 1999 to the major regional homeowners company it is today, and guided its expansion into seven additional states.
Much of Mr. Russell's time in the industry has been spent in management. Prior to that, he worked with production underwriting of large, complex commercial accounts in both Florida and New England. Mr. Russell holds the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation and has a B.A. in English Literature from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He is married with four sons and three grandchildren.
"Our management team was already extremely experienced, but adding an industry icon like Mel Russell is a huge win for Heritage," said CEO Richard Widdicombe. "Not only will Mel help provide another perspective for strategic decisions regarding our underwriting process, but he will continue to build upon the outstanding sales success we've seen thus far."
Mr. Russell added, "I am very excited to be part of a carrier that is proactive with consumers. Heritage is moving forward in an effort to bring transparency to the Citizens take-out process. Unlike other takeout carriers, we have informed policyholders of the estimated premiums for both their Citizens renewal and Heritage's premium. We want to make sure consumers have the information to make an informed decision. Agents have applauded the efforts made by Heritage to take the guesswork out of the process. I am very pleased to be part of a team that is leading the way in the Florida insurance industry."
"This is an exciting time for Heritage," said Lucas. "The addition of Mel is beneficial for our employees, our shareholders, and most importantly, our valued policyholders."
About Heritage Property & Casualty Company
Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, Heritage Insurance offers home, condo, and rental property insurance through a large network of experienced independent agents. The Heritage Insurance team is committed to providing homeowners with the highest quality property insurance along with some of the most competitive rates in Florida. For more information, visit Heritage online at www.heritagepci.com or call (855) 620-9978.
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