Acadia Insurance, a regional underwriter based in Westbrook, Maine, has hired former New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner John Elias to its management team as senior vice president and chief underwriting officer. He will be based in the company’s Westbrook office.
Elias joined the New Hampshire Insurance Department in 2016 and became commissioner in June 2018, before announcing his resignation in December. Chris Nicolopoulos was recently confirmed in February by the New Hampshire Executive Council as insurance commissioner succeeding Elias.
“Understanding how regulators look at insurance companies and how they operate, ultimately, I think adds to the value of a leadership role and understanding the entire industry as you’re managing it,” Elias said of the insights he gained through his regulatory role in New Hampshire. “So coming from the commissioner’s role and understanding regulation a little bit better makes me a better leader for Acadia.”
Prior to his regulatory role, Elias was vice president of Underwriting for two regional property and casualty insurance carriers.
“Being back in underwriting, I’m very happy,” he said about his new role at Acadia. “I was very fortunate to find a great company with wonderful people, so I couldn’t be happier.”
As chief underwriting officer at Acadia, Elias is responsible for driving underwriting results for the company, assisting in the development of new products and evaluating risk. One major challenge he sees in property and casualty underwriting is social inflation, he explained.
“Social inflation is a major problem that’s affecting the entire country,” Elias said. “This potentially raises the cost of each claim and ultimately can impact the prices consumers pay for their insurance.”
As the marketplace continues to change with the use of data and technology to make processes more efficient and build new product lines for customers, Elias added that this growth in the use of technology can also bring challenges and questions for the underwriting industry.
“If you look at autonomous vehicles, it changes the landscape of insurance,” he said. “There’s a thought out there that this may go from an auto coverage to a product liability coverage for both personal and commercial auto. That’s just one example of the questions that we have to answer as technology evolves, and that’s going to happen to many of the things that all companies insure.”
That said, Elias said he believes Acadia Insurance is up for the challenge as it aims to harness data and technology in moving the company forward.
“I believe in data-driven decisions and technology, and fortunately, Acadia absolutely shares this passion,” he said. “At Acadia, we have several technology and data projects in flight, which will collectively help Acadia become an even stronger user of data.”
While challenges and plenty of competition exist in the market today, he said Acadia seeks to continue to differentiate itself by gaining deep understanding of the business it writes and the customers and partners it works with.
“The competition in the marketplace is fierce,” he said. “Pricing is starting to firm up, but I feel and Acadia feels that there’s a great opportunity for growth.”
Acadia Insurance offers commercial and specialty property casualty insurance coverages through independent insurance agents with local offices in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.