Aviva USA, part of Aviva plc, the world's sixth-largest insurance group, today announced the retirement of Mark V. Heitz as president of sales and distribution, naming Michael H. Miller as Aviva USA’s sales and distribution leader. Heitz is retiring from Aviva after 35 years in the life insurance and annuity industry. Heitz has served Aviva USA and its predecessor companies in several executive leadership roles since joining AmVestors Financial Corporation in 1986. When AmerUs Group acquired the company in 1997, Heitz became president and CEO of the annuity division and held that position until 2007. He assumed his current position after the acquisition of AmerUs by Aviva plc. Miller will assume his new duties as executive vice president of sales and distribution immediately, with Heitz continuing in an advisory capacity during the next six months to ensure a seamless transition. Richard C. Cohan, associate general counsel, will replace Miller as executive vice president and general counsel. Both Miller and Cohan will report directly to Chris Littlefield, Aviva USA president and chief executive officer. “We will miss Mark’s unparalleled knowledge of the industry and our products, and we appreciate the long-standing relationships he has developed with our distribution partners, agents and employees,” Littlefield said. “During the past several years, Mark successfully led our sales and distribution team through a very challenging environment. Through his leadership and commitment, Mark has guided Aviva in maintaining and building stronger and deeper connections with our distribution partners and agents, and we are indebted to Mark for his contributions to our growth and success.” In his new position, Miller will oversee the delivery of the company’s life insurance and annuity products, closely working with the company’s Key Distribution Partners and agents who sell Aviva products in all 50 states. Since joining American Investors Life – a predecessor company of Aviva USA – in 1989, Miller has served in a number of senior management positions including chief operating officer of the company’s annuity operations and, in sales, managing director of the company’s owned marketing organizations. In 2010, he led Aviva USA’s insurance operations on an interim basis. Miller has his law degree from Washburn University and his MBA from the University of Chicago.
“Over the years, Mike has been exposed to all aspects of our company – including sales and distribution, operations, product development and regulation,” Littlefield said. “Given his depth of experience and his strong connections with our distribution partners and producers, he is the ideal person to lead our sales and distribution team. Mike has tremendous business judgment and instincts, and he will play a critical role in continuing to grow and build our business.”Cohan, who joined Aviva USA in 2003, will assume the position of executive vice president and general counsel, a position he held on an interim basis in 2010. Previously as associate general counsel, Cohan – who will join Aviva USA’s Executive Committee – supported Aviva’s insurance operations, sales and distribution, insurance administration and product management, and managed the legal aspects of the marketing organizations and agency-related issues. He has his undergraduate degree in finance and accounting from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from the University of Chicago. “Rich is an outstanding attorney who possesses a great mix of business experience, financial acumen and legal insight,” Littlefield said. “He knows our business extremely well and will do a great job leading our legal and compliance areas. I am particularly pleased that we are able to make each of these organizational changes from within Aviva – demonstrating our incredibly strong talent and well-developed succession plans.” About Aviva USA Aviva USA is a sales leader of indexed life insurance and indexed annuities. Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, Aviva USA also has offices in Topeka, Kan., and Melville, N.Y. Aviva USA has approximately 1 million customers and employs more than 1,500 people across the country. Aviva USA is part of Aviva plc and can trace its presence in the United States back to 1896.