Donelon chooses new head for Citizens

Indiana insurance executive David Thomas has been tapped by Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon to head Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Thomas was president and chief executive officer of Silveus Insurance Partners. He joined the Indiana company in 2010 as president. He has nearly 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a background in finance, operations, customer service and information technology in companies from start-ups to well-established firms.

“Dave had all of the qualifications we were looking for in the CEO of Citizens,” Donelon said. “His varied executive experience will prove to be a real asset and he has a proven track record of developing a strategic vision and executing it successfully, which will serve Citizens well.”

State-run Citizens insures property that private insurance companies will not. The company has around 107,000 policies in force.

According to state law and Citizens’ operating policies, Donelon is responsible for hiring and firing top-level managers at the state’s insurer of last resort.

Thomas’ compensation package, which includes a salary of $275,000, will be presented for approval to Citizens’ board of directors at its July meeting. Richard Robertson, who headed Citizens before retiring June 1, was paid $240,000 a year and $2,000 a month in expenses.

Under Robertson, Citizens’ share of the homeowner’s market dropped from 5.3 percent in 2010 to 2.9 percent in 2012, proof, Donelon has said, that more homeowners can find coverage through the private market.