Economical Insurance

About Economical

Executive Team Profiles

Karen Gavan

Karen Gavan, FCPA, FCA, ICD.D


President and chief executive officer


Karen was appointed president and CEO in June 2011. Previously, she was a director of Economical Mutual Insurance Company since 2008 and served as Chair of the Special Committee with responsibility for Economical's demutualization since 2010. She was formerly the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Transamerica Life and AEGON Fund Management Inc. Prior to that, she held senior management positions with Imperial Life Assurance Company and with Canada Life Assurance Company during its demutualization.


Mary Beth Alexander

Mary Beth Alexander, BA, CLC


Vice-president, corporate communications and public relations


Mary Beth has leadership accountability of Economical's corporate communications, public and media relations and strategic communications functions. Reporting to Innes Dey, senior vice-president, legal and corporate affairs, she also has leadership of Economical's organizational development team, as well as accountability and oversight of the corporate marketing team. Mary Beth joined Economical in 2005, and has held various leadership roles in the human resources department with accountability for learning and education, employee relations, organizational development and corporate marketing. Under her guidance and leadership, Economical has earned, in each of the last five years, top 20 honours in Training magazine's Top 125 international list of companies that excel at human capital development. She is a Certified Executive Coach, and was named Learning Champion of the Year by Skillsoft Corporation in 2013.


Jorge Arruda

Jorge Arruda, B.Comm.


Senior vice-president, corporate strategy


In April 2014, Jorge began leading our corporate strategy office and a number of key strategic initiatives, including stakeholder management as we progress towards demutualization. Prior to this, he was senior vice-president, sales, distribution and underwriting operations. He was previously the chief transformation officer; senior vice-president, SBU and delivery management; senior vice-president, operations; and vice-president, claims. Jorge has more than 25 years of insurance industry experience and has been with Economical since 1995.


Aneeta Bains

Aneeta Bains, B.Sc.


Vice-president, information technology


Aneeta is responsible for the service delivery and support of Economical's applications and technologies, as well as leading the IT Business Transformation program. She also has responsibility for enterprise architecture, business analysis, software development and quality assurance best practices throughout the IT organization. She joined Economical in May 2013 with more than 20 years' experience in the IT industry, including executive and senior consulting roles with Deloitte, CGI, Nortel Networks and MD Physician Services.


Ed Berko

Ed Berko, B.Sc, MBA


Senior vice-president and chief risk officer


With more than 25 years of enterprise risk management experience, Ed is accountable for developing and maintaining comprehensive processes for identifying, assessing, measuring, monitoring, reporting and, where appropriate, reducing pertinent risks that could interfere with the company's objectives and goals. Reporting to the president and CEO, he chairs the Management Risk Committee and is a key member of the Executive Committee. He most recently served as the chief risk officer at Protective Life Insurance Company and Protective Life Corporation. Prior to that, he was chief risk officer for the Investments Department at MetLife.


Pamela Derksen

Pamela Derksen, BA, FCIP 


Vice-president, commercial insurance


Pam has accountability for Economical's commercial insurance portfolio and leads the development and implementation of the commercial insurance strategy. Reporting to the chief underwriting officer, she also has oversight of Western General. Previously, Pam was manager of commercial insurance in the Western region and was most recently division vice-president of Western General.


Innes Dey

Innes Dey, B.Sc. (Hons), LL.B


Senior vice-president, legal and corporate affairs


Innes oversees Economical's legal function and provides counsel on capital markets, M&A, strategic investments, regulatory affairs, corporate governance and non-claims litigation. He also has responsibility for corporate communications, public relations and organizational change management. He joined Economical with more than 14 years of legal experience and 10 years in advisory and senior management positions within Canada's financial services sector. He previously served as vice-president, corporate affairs and corporate secretary of Northbridge Financial Corporation, and as a senior legal advisor to Canada Life Financial Corporation during its successful take-over defence and privatization.


Cheryl Edmunson

Cheryl Edmunson


Vice-president, sales and distribution, B.C.


Based in our Vancouver branch, Cheryl reports to Javier Ibanez and is accountable for the company's sales and distribution operations in B.C., focusing on our profitable growth strategy for the province. She also oversees Family Insurance Solutions, the largest provider of private optional auto insurance in British Columbia. Cheryl has over 25 years of experience in the property and casualty industry, including various leadership positions in claims, underwriting and operations.


Wayne Edwards

Wayne Edwards, FCAS


Vice-president, corporate actuarial


Wayne comes to Economical from Partner Reinsurance Company where he worked for nearly 10 years as a senior actuary in the group actuarial unit in their Bermuda office. He has broad experience in capital allocation and return modeling, loss reserving and financial reporting. His knowledge of reinsurance pricing and underwriting and experience with acquisition valuation and integration from the corporate actuarial perspective are an asset to Economical.


David Fitzpatrick

David Fitzpatrick, BA


Vice-president, Economical Financial


David has more than 25 years of experience, the majority having been gained in the general insurance industry. He joined Economical in 1995, and has held positions as the vice-president, human resources; vice-president, field operations; vice-president, corporate services; and vice-president, sales and distribution.


Michael Gagnier

Michael Gagnier, B.Comm.


Senior vice-president and chief information officer


With more than 22 years of leadership experience, Michael is highly skilled in process re-engineering, organizational design and technology in the financial services, retail, manufacturing, and software sectors. Michael most recently served as executive vice-president, sales with MD Management. Prior to that, he was the vice-president and chief information officer with MD Management and led their technology transformation. He also held executive-level IT positions with Novator, Citigroup and Indigo Books and Music.


Linda Goss

Linda Goss, B.Sc. (Hons), FCIA, FCAS


Senior vice-president and chief actuary


Linda was appointed to the position of senior vice-president and chief actuary in January 2005. Prior to this, she was the chief actuary. She joined Economical in July 2000 as the assistant vice-president, actuarial services and became vice-president, actuarial services in July 2001. Before joining Economical, Linda held positions with two other large insurers as assistant vice- president, actuarial services and vice-president, pricing actuary. Previous to those senior positions, she was a consulting actuary with a large actuarial consulting firm. Linda has more than 27 years of actuarial experience.


Robert Gow

Robert Gow, CCLA, CFE


Vice-president, sales and distribution, Ontario region


Robert Gow is responsible for Economical's sales and distribution operations in Ontario. On joining the company in 2006 until his current appointment in 2013, he grew and strengthened Economical's presence in the rapidly changing western Canadian market where he served as vice-president, Western region. With more than 35 years of insurance industry experience, Rob has held many executive level positions within the property and casualty industry.


Javier Ibanez

Javier Ibanez, BA, M.Ad.Ed


Vice-president, national sales and distribution


Javier is responsible for national sales and distribution, which encompasses managing the effectiveness of the broker channel and broker solutions across Canada. Prior to joining Economical in November 2013, he held senior positions in the P&C industry including national sales for personal, commercial and specialty lines as well as broker distribution effectiveness. His experience also includes leading training initiatives in leadership, business development and broker education.


Karen Kaminska

Karen Kaminska, FCIP, CRM


Vice-president, sales and distribution, Atlantic region


Karen was appointed vice-president, sales and distribution for the Atlantic region in March 2014. She brings 25 years of industry experience to this role, and has been with Economical since 1994. Most recently, Karen led the Atlantic region claims team as manager, regional claims and has held previous underwriting leadership accountability at Economical Select.


Pamela Marson

Pamela Marson, FCIP


Vice-president, underwriting initiatives


As vice-president, underwriting initiatives, Pam has leadership accountability within our strategic programs, including the replacement of our policy administration systems, as well as our strategic growth initiatives. Pam reports to Chris Van Kooten, senior vice-president and chief underwriting officer. Prior to her role of vice-president, underwriting initiatives, Pam led our underwriting transformation program as vice-president, underwriting transformation, and was previously vice-president, personal insurance. Pam joined Economical in 2002, where she held leadership roles in our Ottawa location.



Philip Mather

Philip Mather, CA, B.Sc. (Hons)


Senior vice-president and chief financial officer, president of Economical Financial


As CFO, Phil provides the leadership team and the broader organization with strategic financial counsel and support and has overall responsibility for procurement and reinsurance. He is also president of Economical Financial, the company's broker financing arm. Prior to joining Economical in 2011, he was a partner in the audit and assurance group of global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, specializing in financial services and, in particular, property and casualty insurance in which he has more than nine years' experience.


Rocco Neglia

Rocco Neglia, BA (Hons), CIP


Vice-president, claims


Rocco was appointed to the position of vice-president, claims in January 2005. He also has oversight and accountability for the claims operation at Family Insurance Solutions Inc. Prior to his appointment, Rocco was the national technical claims manager and was instrumental in developing and supporting Economical's claims strategy. He joined Economical in May 1996.


Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill, BA, MBA, CFA


Vice-president, investments


Appointed vice-president, investments in November 2001, Mike is responsible for Economical's investment activity and develops strategy to position investment activities and achieve growth and risk/return objectives for the short and long term. Prior to this appointment, Mike was the manager of fixed income.  Before joining Economical Mike was employed with investment dealer Gordon Capital and Royal Trust.


Hans Reidl

Hans Reidl, BBA, CA, CFA


Vice-president, finance


Hans brings strong operational expertise and experience in financial reporting within a public company environment, integral to the company's continued focus on demutualization and public company readiness. Reporting to the CFO, he leads the corporate financial accounting and reporting teams, the financial planning and analysis team and the finance operations function. He also provides oversight and support to the reinsurance and procurement functions. Prior to joining Economical, he was vice-president, finance at ATS Automation Tooling Systems where he acted as the finance lead for a number of divisions as well as having previous corporate controller responsibilities. 


Tom Reikman

Tom Reikman, B.Sc., MBA, CIP


Senior vice-president and chief operating officer


Tom has more than 22 years' experience in senior leadership roles and an extensive level of expertise in the property and casualty industry - including commercial and personal lines underwriting, marketing, and sales and distribution management. As COO, Tom is responsible for leadership of national underwriting and claims operations, marketing and business development. Most recently, Tom held various senior executive roles with Aviva Canada. Tom also worked previously for Economical Insurance in senior leadership roles between 1995 and 2006. 


Mayssa Rifaï

Mayssa Rifaï, BA, CIP


Vice-president, sales and distribution, Quebec region


Mayssa is responsible for Economical's sales and distribution operations in Quebec. Previously, she was regional vice-president, commercial insurance in Quebec. Before joining the company in 2010, Mayssa held a number of management positions with renowned insurers and brokerage firms, including Chubb Insurance Company of Canada, Travelers Canada and Marsh Canada Limited.


Michael Shostak

Michael Shostak, BA (Hons), MBA


Senior vice-president and chief marketing officer


Michael brings more than 20 years of notable leadership and marketing experience in both agency and corporate sectors. Reporting to the president, he has leadership accountability for the company's brand and marketing programs, helping Economical discover creative new ways to meet the needs of our broker partners and insureds.  Most recently, Michael was vice-president, general management at SapientNitro, where he worked with global brands to guide their marketing and customer experience strategies. Previously, he held executive positions at advertising agencies Young & Rubicam and Arnold Worldwide.


Chris Van Kooten

Chris Van Kooten, FCIA, FCAS


Senior vice-president and chief underwriting officer


Chris has leadership accountability for both personal and commercial insurance, as well as continuing to increase the level of sophistication in Economical's pricing and analytics. Reporting to the president and chief executive officer, he is also the business lead for the implementation of the new policy administration system, PolicyCenter® from Guidewire Software, Inc. As a member of Economical's executive team since October 2008, Chris has held various executive roles with accountability for corporate actuarial, pricing, analytics and personal insurance. Chris holds both his FCAS (Fellow, Casualty Actuarial Society) and FCIA (Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries) designations. He has also been actively involved in the actuarial community outside of Economical. He previously held the position of president of the Ontario Conference of Casualty Actuaries.


Chris Weber

Chris Weber, BA (Hons), MA


Vice-president, sales and distribution, Alberta and the Prairies


Based in Calgary, Chris Weber is responsible for Economical's sales and distribution operations in the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, focusing on our profitable growth strategy in the three provinces.  Chris joined Economical in 2001 and has held a number of senior leadership and executive roles, including vice-president, sales and distribution, Western region. Formerly vice-president, analytics, Chris helped establish business analytics across the organization. In late 2012 to early 2013, as vice-president, transformation, he played an integral role in the company's ongoing business transformation program.


Max Weis

Max Weis, B.Sc., MBA, CFA


Vice-president, corporate development


With many years of experience in senior leadership roles in corporate finance as well as sophistication in valuation and modeling practices, Max provides expertise and focus to Economical's increasingly sophisticated corporate development capabilities. Reporting to the chief financial officer, he is accountable for the ongoing development and implementation of the company's M&A strategy, strategic partnerships and key stakeholder relationships. Before joining Economical, Max held various roles with RBC Capital Markets, most recently as managing director in corporate finance where he advised on a range of public and private equity and debt transactions, acquisitions, mergers and other related transactions.

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