Julio Soria was recently appointed general manager of National Life’s South Florida agency. Before joining National Life, he worked with Mass Mutual as agency director for South Florida. As general manager, Soria will lead market development and agent recruiting in South Florida for the insurance company. He is an active member of the PR Hispanic Chamber of Palm Beach, ALPHA, the Hispanic Chamber of Palm Beach, Broward Chamber and the American Cancer Society.
Avery A. Dial, Peter J. Melaragno, Richard P. Morris, and Yelena Shneyderman have been promoted to shareholders at the law firm of Fowler White Burnett, P.A.
Dial is a member of the firm’s insurance group. He focuses his practice on products liability, professional and medical liability, general liability, bad faith and transportation issues. He joined the firm in 2009 and works out of the Fort Lauderdale office.
Melaragno focuses his practice on toxic tort litigation. He represents manufacturers, distributors, insurers and retailers in the defense of claims that arise from alleged exposure to hazardous materials. He has been with the firm since 2003 and works out of the Miami office.
Morris is a member of the firm’s aviation group. His practice focuses on the defense of casualty and commercial litigation claims involving aviation, maritime, premises and products liability, medical malpractice, and general liability. He has been with the firm for three years and works at the Miami office.
Shneyderman is a member of the insurance group. She represents major insurance carriers and focuses her insurance defense practice on coverage disputes and bad faith litigation. She has worked with the firm for the last three years at the Fort Lauderdale office.
Michele Centeno has been named senior managing director, risk management practice at Frank Crystal & Co., an insurance brokerage firm. She will be based in Miami and will be responsible for the growth of the risk management practice on a national level. She was most recently managing director of Beecher Carlson.
Jose M. Hernandez has been named managing partner at Plasencia, Hernandez & Company, an insurance and financial services firm in Miami. He will consult in the areas of life insurance, health, disability, long term care, employee benefits and retirement planning. He was financial consultant at New England Financial from 2002-2008. Before that, he was engine parts coordinator at AeroThrust Corporation.
The national firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, has promoted three Miami-based associates, Tracy L. Kramer, Maureen G. Pearcy, and Edward T. Sylvester, to partners in the firm.
Kramer represents insurers in first- and third-party insurance coverage disputes during litigation and in the pre-suit claim process. She also counsels property and casualty insurers on best practices for establishing and maintaining proper claims handling procedures.
Pearcy represents clients in appeals in state and federal courts, including before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Florida Supreme Court and several Florida district courts of appeal. She also provides appellate assistance and advice to trial attorneys during litigation. She handles professional liability, first-party, and other insurance coverage.
Sylvester represents insurers in complex insurance coverage disputes, including common law and bad faith litigation. He handles matters involving commercial property and auto, life insurance, personal auto and professional liability policies.
Anthony F. Sierra has been named chief executive officer of BMI Financial Group Inc. (BMI), replacing Tony M. Sierra, founder and chairman of the board of BMI, who will resign his position as CEO effective Sept. 1. Anthony Sierra is president and CEO of Best Meridian Insurance Company. BMI is a provider of life and health insurance. Tony Sierra will continue as chairman of the board of BMI. He will maintain involvement in the company's foreign operations and will head various committees. BMI's board of directors also have named Manuel Pelati as chief financial officer of BMI. He will retain his position of CFO of Best Meridian Insurance Company and Best Meridian International Insurance Company.
Edward A. Latour has been named senior director of operations and risk management at Gulliver Schools. His responsibilities will include oversight of technology, cafeteria services, maintenance and facilities, legal compliance, security, transportation, and risk management. He also will play an integral role in the schools’ strategic initiatives. He has nine years of experience in private school finance and operations, having worked as director of finance and operations at Palmer Trinity School and most recently for the past nine years as director of finance for Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove.
Barbara M. Arco has joined Rojas Law Firm LLP as senior counsel. She focuses her practice in commercial and civil litigation, insurance matters, and real property litigation. Before joining Rojas, she was at Holland & Knight where she had a diverse commercial litigation practice in state, federal and appellate courts. Before that, she worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Alan S. Gold, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.