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The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. The American Equity Underwriters, Inc.

Leadership Team

AEU is led by a team of seasoned professionals with extensive maritime industry experience.  The strength of our expertise is the driving force behind AEU’s commitment to provide creative, value-oriented solutions to our members and brokers.

Executive Team

Mike L. Lapeyrouse

Michael L. Lapeyrouse

Chief Executive Officer

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Michael L. Lapeyrouse

Chief Executive Officer

Mike has served as President and CEO of The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. since its inception in 1993. Prior to AEU, he worked for Cooper/T. Smith Corporation. He is a member of the Mobile Bar Association and the Alabama State Bar Association and has served as coordinator of the Ports, Marine Terminals, Stevedores and Shipbuilders Industry Section of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. Mike also serves on the Boards of the American Longshore Mutual Association, Ltd, St. Paul’s Episcopal School and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.

Adele Hapworth

Adele Hapworth

Chief Operating Officer

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Adele Hapworth

Chief Operating Officer

Adele Hapworth joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2007 and serves as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining AEU, Adele worked at McGriff, Seibels, & Williams in the Energy and Marine Division. Prior to her career in insurance, she worked in strategy consulting. Adele received her bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Virginia.

Holly Chapman

Holly Chapman

Chief Financial Officer

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Holly Chapman

Chief Financial Officer

Holly Chapman joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2004 and serves as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining AEU, Holly worked in finance areas of Inchcape Shipping Services, Inc. and Norton Lilly International. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Alabama with a major in accounting and now serves on the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council.

Managing Directors

Mike Adams

Mike Adams

Managing Director

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Mike Adams

Managing Director

Mike Adams joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1995 as Controller. He has served AEU in management roles that include finance, underwriting and sales. He is currently Executive Vice President, Managing Director. Prior to joining AEU, he was employed at Smith, Dukes, and Buckalew, LLC, where he specialized in auditing, taxation and system consulting. Mike is a graduate of the University of South Alabama, is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mike also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Longshore Mutual Association, Ltd.

Tim Finnorn

Tim Finnorn

Managing Director

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Tim Finnorn

Managing Director

Tim Finnorn joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1995. He serves as Senior Vice President, Managing Director and concentrates on new business and large renewal pricing. Prior to joining AEU, he worked in loss control and claims for a stevedoring company. In 1997, ALMA was created and Tim has been a lead underwriter for the program from its inception. Tim received a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance and investment management from the University of Alabama.

Sandra Parker

Sandra Parker

Managing Director

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Sandra Parker

Managing Director

Sandra Parker joined AEU in 1995 and serves as Senior Vice President, Managing Director. Prior to joining AEU, Sandra was a claims adjuster for a Third Party Administrator and worked onsite at a large self-insured shipyard, later serving as a claims unit supervisor. Sandra earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama.

Teresa Rowell

Teresa Rowell

Managing Director

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Teresa Rowell

Managing Director

Teresa Rowell joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1997 and serves as Managing Director. Prior to joining AEU, Teresa worked for a large insurance brokerage. Teresa holds her Property & Casualty license and has earned the Associate in Underwriting and Associate in Risk Management designations.

Rob Stuardi

Rob Stuardi

Managing Director

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Rob Stuardi

Managing Director

Rob Stuardi joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2010 and serves as Vice President, Managing Director. Prior to joining AEU, Rob had extensive experience in workers’ compensation insurance and risk management practices as the Director of Sales, Safety and Loss Control for a large property and casualty insurance company. Rob also acted as Assistant Operations and Loss Control Manager for a Southeastern fuel distributor, and was also responsible for loss control training for stevedoring, tug boats and offshore supply boats for a large stevedoring company. Rob received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Auburn University.

Winchester Thurber

Winchester Thurber

Managing Director

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Winchester Thurber

Managing Director

Winchester Thurber joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2012 and serves as Vice President, Managing Director. Prior to joining AEU, he held positions in the marine industry with responsibilities including vessel husbandry, line management and operational and commercial management in the marine agency and stevedoring industries throughout the United States. Winchester also founded a new 3PL Logistics Division for a large shipping agent, growing revenues 25% quarter-over-quarter. Winchester served for three years as a Board Member for the New York/New Jersey Maritime Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Senior Leadership Team

Julie Bland

Julie Bland

Senior Vice President, Director of Underwriting

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Julie Bland

Senior Vice President, Director of Underwriting

Julie Bland joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2006. She serves as Senior Vice President, Director of Underwriting. Prior to joining AEU, Julie had many years of workers’ compensation underwriting experience with Alternative Risk & Insurance Concepts Agency, Inc.

Jimmy Burgin

Jimmy Burgin

Senior Vice President, Director of Loss Control

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Jimmy Burgin

Senior Vice President, Director of Loss Control

Jimmy Burgin joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1988. He serves as Senior Vice President, Director of Loss Control. Prior to AEU, he served as Regional Director of Loss Control for a large stevedoring company in bulk, break bulk and container cargo handing operations, as well as administered loss control programs for vessel crews in the marine towing industry. Jimmy is a member of the National Maritime Safety Association’s Technical Committee, and has also served on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Maritime Advisory Committee (MACOSH). Jimmy received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana Monroe.

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

Senior Vice President, Director of Information Systems

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Tim Dunne

Senior Vice President, Director of Information Systems

Tim Dunne joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2012. He serves as the Senior Vice President, Director of Information Systems. Tim is a Certified Naval Aviator. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and received his master’s degree from the University of Florida.

Diane Hembree

Diane Hembree

Vice President, Director of Human Resources

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Diane Hembree

Vice President, Director of Human Resources

Diane Hembree joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1986. She serves as the Vice President, Director of Human Resources. Diane holds her Certificate of Strategic HR Management.

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Amanda Knapstein

Senior Vice President, Director of Finance

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Amanda Knapstein

Senior Vice President, Director of Finance

Amanda Knapstein joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2010 and serves as Director of Finance. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Rhodes College.

Leslie Lash Headshot

Leslie Lash

Director of Marketing

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Leslie Lash

Director of Marketing

Leslie Lash joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2016 as Director of Marketing. Prior to joining AEU, she was Director of Group Communications and Advertising for AEU’s parent company and the nation’s largest wholesale broker of specialty lines insurance, AmWINS Group, Inc. Leslie has 12 years of strategic marketing, communications, advertising and brand management experience and has spent the majority of her career in the specialty insurance industry. Leslie serves on the Board of Directors for the Insurance Marketing Communications Association (IMCA) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a major in marketing.

Jack Martone

Jack Martone

Senior Vice President, AEU Advisory Services

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Jack Martone

Senior Vice President, AEU Advisory Services

Jack joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2006, where he acts as Senior Vice President, AEU Advisory Services and is the moderator of the AEU Longshore Blog. Prior to AEU, Jack served for 27 years in the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers Compensation Programs, as Chief, Branch of Insurance, Financial Management, and Assessments and Acting Director, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation for the U.S. Department of Labor. As Branch Chief, Jack directed the licensing and regulation of insurance carriers and self-insured employers under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Jack received his bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and his Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law.

Andrea Mills

Andrea Mills

Executive Director, Corporate Strategy

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Andrea Mills

Executive Director, Corporate Strategy

Andrea Mills joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in May 2013 and serves as Executive Director, Corporate Strategy. Previously, she was a broker for 25 years, specializing in the maritime industry and working closely with AEU as she placed the majority of her client’s USL&H coverage with ALMA through AEU. Andrea’s responsibilities include working with AEU’s brokers, leading the ALMA Member Advisory Council and communicating AEU’s unique product offerings to the maritime industry. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

Royce Ray

Royce Ray

Senior Vice President, Director of Special Investigations/ Subrogation Unit

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Royce Ray

Senior Vice President, Director of Special Investigations/ Subrogation Unit

Royce Ray joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 2007 and serves as Director of Special Investigations/Subrogation Unit. Royce’s area of focus is subrogation investigation, management, and recovery. Prior to joining AEU, Royce practiced law in Mobile, Alabama for 17 years, handling litigation with an emphasis on plaintiff personal injury cases. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University, magna cum laude, and his law degree from the University of Alabama. Royce was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1990 and is a member of the Mobile Bar Association. Royce holds the Certified Subrogation Recovery Professional (CSRP) designation conferred by the National Association of Subrogation Professionals.

Jeanette Sander

Jeanette Sander

Vice President, Director of Credit & Compliance

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Jeanette Sander

Vice President, Director of Credit & Compliance

Jeanette Sander joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1999. She serves as the Director of Credit and Compliance. Jeanette received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans.

Will Scheffler

Will Scheffler

Senior Vice President, Director of Claims Services

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Will Scheffler

Senior Vice President, Director of Claims Services

Will Scheffler joined The American Equity Underwriters, Inc. in 1998 and serves as Senior Vice President, Director of Claims. His insurance experience began in 1993 with FARA and continued with the ALMA branch (now AEU) in 1998. He has been a speaker at Loyola Law School’s Annual Longshore Conference, U.S. Department of Labor seminars, and ALMA conferences. Will is licensed as an adjuster in Maine, Alabama, and Louisiana and is a licensed Qualified Manager in California. He serves on the Advisory Board for Loyola’s Annual Longshore Conference. Will received his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and earned the CPCU and AIC designations from The Institutes.

Joe White

Joe White

Director of AEU LEAD

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Joe White

Director of AEU LEAD

Joe White joined The American Equity Underwriters in March 2016 with 26 years of operational safety experience. He is a Program Manager for AEU LEAD™, helping members transform operational goals, primarily involving safety, into actionable plans through a structured change management process. Prior to joining AEU, Joe was a senior consultant for E.I. DuPont’s consulting division, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, where he developed safety practices using extensive research in behavioral sciences compiled over a period of nearly two decades. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a Bachelor of Science in Safety and Risk Administration.

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