Meet our Executive Vice President, Chrisopher J. Pezalla, FSA, MAAA
What does your role at Newcleus entail?
I see my role as helping Newcleus, our clients, our agents, and our employees to be successful in what they do.
For our clients and agents I work on making sure we have the best suite of products and strategies available in the market, and keep us current on regulatory compliance, tax, insurance law. When one of our agents is working on a large transaction, either new or takeover, I often get involved with the agent in bank meetings, giving me a great opportunity to participate in the sale process, and see what is or isn’t working in our approach.
I also work closely with our carriers in an effort develop and maintain strong relations with them. They find our experience in the market valuable, and I’m able to assist with their product development, often leading to us having access to exclusive or limited distribution products, such as the Zurich stable value annuity, or the Global Atlantic IUL. It also helps us to meet the unique needs of banks that our competitors don’t have the expertise to meet.
In the office I spend my time supporting Account Executives, working through whatever challenges they may deal with, along with writing and providing commentary on sales materials, helping with GI problems, digging into administration related issues. Every day seems to bring a new problem that we need to find an answer to.
Where are you from?
I struggle with this question, but here is how I like to answer it: I currently live in Huntingdon Valley PA, was born in Minneapolis Minnesota, but North Dakota is where I think of as home.
What did you do prior to working for Newcleus?
My first job out of college was at AEGON in Cedar Rapids IA working in financial reporting for several insurance companies that AEGON acquired. Then I moved to Woodbury MN and worked for Minnesota Mutual (now MN Life), continuing in financial reporting, but expanded into modeling of insurance blocks, cash flow testing, and ALM.
Then, I moved to Fargo ND to work for Sammons Financial Group, formerly Clarica, and expanded my role into corporate products, product development, underwriting, illustrations, wholesaling to Clark Consulting and Meyer-Chatfield.
Finally, about 12 years ago, Bennett Meyer talked me into moving out east and working for Meyer-Chatfield. I was the brunt of many jokes at Midland, as they considered the career move to be going over to the ‘dark side’, which is how they affectionately refer to all insurance agencies.
What do you like most about working at Newcleus?
The fast pace, never ending variety, and tough challenges that come along with our business.
Tell us two interesting facts about yourself:
1.) My wife Jennifer and I enjoy home remolding projects. We’ve owned six homes, and made significant upgrades to each. Our most recent job was to remodel our kitchen which involved moving a supporting wall to make it bigger, installing distressed hardwood floors, custom building several of the cabinets that were oddly shaped, adding unique cement tiles as accents, plumbing, all new gas and electric, and new ductwork for the industrial vent hood. The results are great, and the kitchen is now a focal part of our home.
2.) One of my goals is to kill all the grass in my yard, and I’m well on the way. I have a two pronged approach: first, I like to dig up the sod and plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Every spring I expand my landscaping using this approach. Second, my pets do a great job of running around, trampling, digging up, and turning into mud all the parts of the yard that are not planned with trees or shrubs. I’m feeling pretty successful about my approach these days!