“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” – John Maxwell
Learn more about WNC’s leadership team.
Pat Blandford joined WNC as board member in 2004 to focus on growth strategies. He assumed an operating role in 2011 as the Managing Director of Strategy and Finance. In that role, he led acquisitions, product line expansion and relationships with key capital partners, including Tokio Marine Kiln. He was named CEO in 2018 to lead WNC’s expansion plans.
Prior to joining WNC, Pat spent 20 years investing in and advising growth services companies. He was a Managing Director of two private equity firms, Frontenac Company and CCCC Growth Fund. He led both firms’ financial services investments.
He began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Pat serves on the boards of directors for ESCO Ear Services, GCH Capital Advance and Source Intelligence.
Linda Long joined WNC in 2001. As Chief Operating Officer, Linda is responsible for all of WNCs operations and financial accounting functions including payroll, general ledger, cash management, budget, and financial statement preparation. She also oversees the annual financial audit and income tax preparation.
Linda has over 25 years of experience in both life and property and casualty insurance accounting. A graduate of Central Oklahoma University, Linda began her career at First Life Assurance Company and rose to Vice President of Subsidiary Accounting. She joined CSC Logic in 1989, serving as Division Controller and assisting the larger corporation in acquired company integration.
Linda is a Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow of the Life Management Institute.
Kiran Achen joined WNC in 2018. As Chief Information Officer, Kiran is responsible for defining and implementing a technology strategic vision aligned to WNCs growth and performance goals. He has oversight of the technology organization and all technology initiatives.
Prior to joining WNC, Kiran Achen was Assistant Vice President in the IT organization of CNA Insurance focused on strategy, roadmaps, IT modernization and simplification, digital innovation, customer experience and cloud computing.
Kiran began his career with Deloitte Consulting and subsequently worked in Healthcare, Telecom, Transportation, Retail industries before joining CNA.
Kiran holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University.
Jeff Garretson joined WNC in 2018 as Chief Claims Officer. In this role, Jeff is responsible for claim strategies and operations for WNC’s wholly owned subsidiary, Precise Adjustments. Precise Adjustments provides industry-leading claims capabilities, including end-to-end claim adjustment, loss appraisals, re-inspections, remediation representation, TPA services, claim file documentation and settlement review, gap analysis, and claim vendor performance reporting. Jeff is responsible for providing a Claims’ Shared Services organization for all key stakeholders throughout WCN and its parent company, Tokio Marine Kiln.
Prior to joining WCN, Jeff was Vice President of Claims at Gulfstream Property & Casualty Insurance, a Business Process Outsourcing carrier with operations in Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. He was responsible for leading Claims operations and served on the executive committee that advised the CEO on business-related decisions outside of claims, including product construction and marketing, portfolio monitoring, and overall go-to-market strategy in current and future states.
Jeff also spent 13 years at Nationwide Insurance, serving in roles of increasing responsibility, including Director of Commercial Property Claims and Director of Property Technical Claims. Prior to that, he managed Large Loss Personal Lines and Commercial Claims Operations at NCA Group–Worley Specialty Services.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University.
Art Lee joined WNC in April of 2018. Art is responsible for overseeing, managing, and maintaining the company’s compliance management system for all the WNC businesses. Art and his team will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the company’s risk and compliance issues in an independent manner, and helping to keep the company current with regulatory issues and compliant with changes in laws applicable to the company’s products and services.
Art has over 20 years of legal, regulatory, product and compliance experience in the financial services and insurance industries, including the last 14 years as senior in-house counsel for a lender-placed insurance provider. A graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School, Art began his career at the Automobile Club of Southern California as a Claims Coverage lawyer and eventually as its Personal Lines Insurance Product Manager.
In 2003, he joined the Balboa Insurance Group as in-house counsel and rose to the position of Senior Vice-President within the successive owners of Balboa’s lender-placed insurance business, including Bank of America, QBE Insurance and National General Insurance.
As President of the Private Flood Division, Norman Heinrich is responsible for the management, marketing and development of Private Flood programs administered out of the WNC First Miami office. His 30-plus years of Property and Casualty sales, marketing and underwriting experience have given Norman the expertise to develop, administer and underwrite Flood insurance programs for insurance companies, wholesalers and reinsurance partners.
Prior to joining WNC, Norman was the Director of Marketing and Flood operations for Capital Assurance Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Skandia Companies. His responsibilities included the marketing and sales functions for the Property and Casualty units and the marketing and underwriting functions for the Flood operations. The Flood operations included voluntary and NFIP flood programs.
Norman Heinrich holds a degree in Accounting from Florida International University and is a licensed Property and Casualty agent and a Surplus Lines insurance agent.
Rick Girden joined WNC in 2015. As President of the Construction Division, Rick is responsible for the P&L and all of the operations within the division.
He started his career 37 years ago with Prudential of England located in Winnipeg, Canada. He has focused the last 30 years in the construction property area. In 1996, he was transferred to the U.S. where he has held senior positions with some of the largest Insurers and Wholesale Brokers.
Eric Wurmser joined WNC in January 2019. As President of the Lender-Placed Insurance Division in Dallas, Texas, Eric is responsible for the design and delivery of WNC’s insurance products and services to financial institutions. This includes the oversight of lender-placed hazard, flood, wind and real estate-owned (REO) insurance, collateral protection insurance (CPI), InvestorSelect, guaranteed asset protection (GAP), and related outsourcing solutions.
Prior to joining WNC, Eric spent more than 16 years with multiple providers in the lender-placed insurance industry serving in several senior leadership roles that spanned across operations, finance and product. His responsibilities included the development of operational strategies, financial and management reporting, operational analytics, and strategic and tactical planning. In his most recent role with a lender-placed provider, Eric had P&L responsibility over all insurance products sold within the financial institution space. This comprised of creating and executing on plans to improve production, strategic guidance around underwriting/operational improvement initiatives, product development, and partnering with sales and account management on improving product penetration and client acquisition strategies.
Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration, with an emphasis in management information systems from California State University, Northridge.
As President of the HomeownerSelect Division, Robert Shekell is responsible for the strategic growth of WNC’s consumer-centric lender-placed insurance alternative product. Before joining WNC in July 2016, Robert worked at QBE Insurance Group for 17 years where he held many leadership roles, including Director of Client Development, Operations, Executive of Best Shores Global Operations and Director of Account Management and Industry Relations.
At QBE, Robert was also responsible for client advocacy and best practices while initiating and facilitating strategic industry initiatives. Through more than 15 years of membership on the Loan Administration Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association, Robert has been instrumental in helping to modernize and protect the mortgage servicing and hazard insurance industries.
Further, Robert has held senior leadership roles in Corporate Training, Escrow Administration, and Default Management. He has been active in the Institute of Financial Education and was President of the Los Angeles Chapter for two terms and an instructor for six years, teaching among others, the fundamentals of Mortgage Loan Servicing and Loan Originations. Robert also authored a First-time Homebuyers Program that was used nationwide to facilitate minority homeownership.