Allisyn Houghton

Allisyn Houghton joins Richards Group

BRATTLEBORO — The Richards Group recently hired Allisyn Houghton to join its retirement plan services practice. In her role at the firm, Houghton will advise employers on the management of their retirement plans and will lead onsite education initiatives for plan participants. She is based at the firm’s Brattleboro office. Most recently, Houghton was employed by an international digital publishing company, where she worked as a staff accountant, coordinated sales and marketing efforts and provided financial analysis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting in business administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Schwetlick

Schwetlick joins National Life

MONTPELIER — National Life Group recently hired Achim Schwetlick as a senior vice president to head the firm’s Business Innovation Group. In this position, Schwetlick will oversee the firm’s life and annuity strategy, product design, product marketing and business development. He was previously a partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group in New York, focusing on clients in the insurance industry. Schwetlick joined The Boston Consulting Group in 1999 in Germany and transferred to New York in 2001. He previously held posts at Goldman Sachs and at McKinsey & Co.

Board elects Carol Carlson

MONTPELIER — Carol A. Carlson was elected to the National Life board of directors at its August meeting. During her career in accounting, Carlson specialized in auditing and accounting in the insurance industry. She recently retired as a partner of the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, LLP, after 36 years. Her clients included many of the largest life and annuity writers in the world, as well as many of the largest global property and casualty insurers. Carlson has a special interest in gender equity and inclusiveness and led Ernst & Young’s efforts on those initiatives for a number of years.

National Life gets rating boost

MONTPELIER — The financial strength rating for National Life Group’s insurance companies was boosted by Standard & Poor’s on Thursday based on the company’s improved capital strength and stronger credit quality. S&P Global Ratings formally raised the rating of National Life Insurance Company and Life Insurance Company of the Southwest to “A+” from “A.”

At the same time, SP Global raised its issuer credit rating on NLV Financial Corp., National Life’s holding company, to “BBB+” from “BBB.”

S&P said National Life’s “business risk profile remains strong” and noted that premiums and deposits are almost evenly split between protection and retirement savings. The outlook by S&P was listed as stable and “reflects our expectation that NL Group will maintain its strong business risk profile encompassing engaged and productive distribution and favorable operating performance.”

NFP continues to expand in region

The green, three-letter sign outside the building at 54 Woodstock Avenue in Rutland signifies a change in ownership that took place nearly two years ago with little fanfare. That’s when New York-based NFP acquired Poulos Insurance and its 19 New England branches in August 2014. This year, the Poulos offices were rebranded to represent the change. “The acquisition expanded the NFP New England presence and supported our continued dedication to growing a thriving property casualty (P&C) insurance practice that complements our corporate benefits practice,” Terry Scali, CEO of NFP Property & Casualty, said in an email. Founded in 1919, Poulos offers home, auto, life, health, group and commercial insurance throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

NFP announces Vermont HR team

NFP, a New York-based insurance firm, recently expanded its services in Vermont with a new team of experienced human resources professionals. Susan Graham was hired as human resources advisor. She has over 30 years of human resources experience and has been operating her own consulting business in Vermont since 2009. Gennette Carr develops and serves comprehensive employee benefit plans at NFP. She works with Vermont companies to provide ongoing consultation, support, service, and problem resolution assistance.

SEVCA gets $45K navigator grant

WESTMINSTER — Vermont Health Connect recently awarded a $45,000 grant to Southeastern Vermont Community Action, or SEVCA, to continue to act as a health navigator for Windham and Windsor Counties. SEVCA has been involved in the navigator program since its inception, as a member of a statewide team of community action agencies helping people to sign up for health insurance through the Health Exchange or submit Medicaid/Dr. Dynosaur applications. The collaboration focused on low-income families and individuals. This year, SEVCA submitted an independent application as a local organization, rather than being part of a larger statewide collaboration. This enabled SEVCA to apply for a larger amount of funding than it had received in the past and its award increased by 25 percent.

Insurance business carries on family tradition

Perkins Insurance Agency, Inc. is truly a family business. Started in 1950 by Warren Perkins, his son, grandsons, and their wives now operate the business located at 124 North Main Street in Rutland. Here, one of those grandsons, Brian Perkins, details the family tradition he is proud to be part of.

Farley

Insurer promotes Mary Farley to VP

BURLINGTON — Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group announced the promotion of Mary Farley to vice president of operations and administration. Farley was elected as an officer for the agency during this year’s annual directors meeting. As vice president of operations and administration, Farley will continue to be responsible for the agency’s operations and internal management of teams and systems.

Farley joined the Hickok and Boardman Insurance Group as director of operations and administration in September 2013. Her diverse background in executive management includes organizations such as FedEx, Sunrise Senior Living and Spalding Sporting Goods. Farley has a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University and a bachelor’s degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post.