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Officers & Directors

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Officers & Directors

Senior Management

John Forney
John Forney
Chief Executive Officer
John Forney John Forney has over 21 years of executive experience in a variety of industries, primarily financial services. From 1996 to 1999 and from 2002 until June 2012, Mr. Forney served in a number of different capacities at Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), a diversified financial services company based in St. Petersburg, Florida. His last position there was as Managing Director of the Public Finance Department. During his tenure at Raymond James, he developed special expertise in the property insurance sector through his work with government-sponsored insurance entities in Florida, California, Louisiana, and Texas, as well as a major national insurance industry consortium. As part of his work for these entities, he led teams that successfully completed over $20 billion of capital markets financings, helped design and execute multi-billion dollar risk transfer programs, including the implementation of innovative catastrophe bond financings, and designed and implemented investment policies for over $25 billion of assets. He has been a frequent speaker at insurance industry conferences and has testified on insurance industry issues for legislatures in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York, and California. Mr. Forney holds a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of a Morgenthau Public Policy Fellowship. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, and is a former Infantry Officer and graduate of the U.S Army's Ranger School, the military's most challenging course for combat leaders.
Bennett Bradford Martz
Bennett Bradford Martz
Chief Financial Officer
Bennett Bradford Martz Bennett Bradford Martz has served as our Chief Financial Officer since October 1, 2012.  From 2001, until his appointment as our Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Martz held a series of financial roles with progressively responsible leadership experience including Vice President of Corporate Planning and Finance and Chief Accounting Officer, which lead him to becoming CFO in 2007 at Bankers Financial Corporation, a Florida-based diversified holding company system with operations in the property and casualty insurance, life/annuity insurance, warranty, insurance agency, insurance business process outsourcing and real estate markets. Prior to 2001, Mr. Martz served as the Chief Financial Officer of Bonded Builders Service Corporation, a specialty insurance company with national home warranty operations, for approximately six years. During his career, Mr. Martz also gained experience in the technology, homebuilding and public accounting sectors. Mr. Martz is a Certified Public Accountant actively licensed in Florida and also holds the Global Certified Management Accountant designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Martz obtained a B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a M.B.A. from Northeastern University.
Deepak Menon
Deepak Menon
Chief Revenue Officer
Deepak Menon Deepak Menon serves as our Chief Revenue Officer and has been with UPC since July of 2013. Mr. Menon brings to UPC Insurance an extensive over 18-year background in the insurance industry, with experience in marketing leadership positions focused on distribution strategy, executing new initiatives, and successful state expansion. Prior to joining UPC, Mr. Menon served as the Director of Marketing for American Strategic Insurance, a top 20 homeowners writer in the country based out of St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. Menon holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Tampa, as well as a B.S. in Finance from the University of South Carolina. His professional designations include Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM).
Paul Frederick DiFrancesco
Paul Frederick DiFrancesco
Chief Underwriting Officer
Paul Frederick DiFrancesco Paul F. DiFrancesco was appointed as our Chief Underwriting Officer in November of 2015. and was recently appointed our Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for all aspects of UPC’s product management and underwriting functions. Mr. DiFrancesco has over 35 years of multi-line property casualty experience with leadership roles in both regional and multi-national Fortune 100 insurance companies. This includes President and CEO of AutoOne Insurance, a White Mountains subsidiary, and EVP at ACE-INA, where he had product and new business development responsibilities for specialty consumer products. Mr. DiFrancesco obtained a B.S. in Finance from Fordham University and an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Hartford. He has also completed extensive executive development programs at the Center for Creative Leadership and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Scott St. John
Scott St. John
Chief Claims Officer
Scott St. John Scott St. John has served as our Chief Claims Officer since August of 2016. Mr. St. John has over 25 years of industry experience including claims management, solutions, automation, and process improvements. He specializes in multi-line property and casualty claims, national catastrophe operations, and executing on national initiatives as well as the successful expansion of claims operations in new states. Prior to joining UPC, he was the national Manager for Catastrophic Operations and later, the Director of Field Property Claims at Farmers Insurance. Mr. St. John obtained a B.S. and a B.A. in the Marketing and Logistics from Ohio State University. His professional designations include Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Senior Claim Law Associate (SCLA), Associate in Claims (AIC), and Graduate in Claims Administration (GCA).
Chris Griffith
Chris Griffith
Chief Information Officer
Chris Griffith Chris Griffith has served as our Chief Information Officer since October 2018. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Griffith served as the Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Safety National Casualty Corp (Safety National), a specialty insurance and reinsurance provider and a member of the Tokio Marine Group. Mr. Griffith has over 12 years of experience in the Insurance industry and over 20 years of technology-related experience. He has a strong background in both data and digital innovation, has implemented many large-scale transformative projects, and has lead teams of over 200 IT professionals. Mr. Griffith holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of South Carolina Upstate, as well as an Executive MBA from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Board of Directors

Gregory Croswell Branch
Chairman
Gregory Croswell Branch has served as the Chairman of the Board of United Insurance Holdings Corp. since September 2008. From its inception in 1999 through the merger in September 2008, Mr. Branch served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of United Insurance Holdings, L.C. Mr. Branch has served as the Chairman and Owner of Branch Properties, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of equine feed, since 1986 and has also served as the President of Branch Properties since 1986. Mr. Branch served as Chairman of Summit Holding Southeast, Inc., an insurance holding company that completed its initial public offering in 1997 and was acquired by Liberty Mutual in 1998. Mr. Branch serves as a Director of Prime Holdings, Inc. and of Raffles Insurance Company. Mr. Branch was the founding Chairman of Sunz Insurance Holding, a Florida workers compensation company that was sold in 2008. Mr. Branch was a founding Member of, and remains a Director of and past Chairman of American Feed Industry Insurance Company RRG. Mr. Branch operated as an underwriting Member of Lloyd’s of London from 1986 through 2004. Mr. Branch graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Agriculture Economics and served at the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army.
Alec Loyd Poitevint II
Lead Director
Alec Loyd Poitevint, II has served as a Member of the Board of United Insurance Holdings Corp. since September 2008. Mr. Poitevint served as a Director of United Insurance Holdings, L.C. (UIH), an insurance holding company that writes and services property and casualty policies, from 2001 through the merger on September 30, 2008. He has been the Chairman and President of Southeastern Minerals, Inc. and its affiliated companies headquartered in Bainbridge, Georgia since 1981. These companies are manufacturers and distributors of mineral ingredients. Mr. Poitevint joined Southeastern Minerals, Inc. in 1970. He served as Vice Chairman from 1994 to 2010, and as a director of First Port City Bank of Bainbridge from 1989 to 2010. Mr. Poitevint also served as a Director of Agri-Nutrition/Virbac Corporation from 1996 - 2006 and at various times during his tenure held the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Mr. Poitevint has also served as the Chairman of the American Feed Industry Insurance Company since 2002 and is the former Chairman of the American Feed Industry Association and National Feed Ingredients Association. Mr. Poitevint serves on the Republican National Committee (RNC) as Committeeman for Georgia and was the RNC Treasurer from 1997-2001.
Kent Guy Whittemore
Kent Guy Whittemore has served as a Member of the Board of United Insurance Holdings Corp. since September 2008. Mr. Whittemore served as a Director of United Insurance Holdings, L.C., an insurance holding company that writes and services property and casualty policies, from 2001 through September 2008. He has been the President and a shareholder of The Whittemore Law Group, P.A., a law firm that he co-founded in 1987. Mr. Whittemore served as President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association from 1996 through 1997, and served as President of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association from 2003 through 2004. He is currently a Director of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and is a former Director of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. He also served on St. Petersburg’s Charter Review Commission. Mr. Whittemore received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctorate from Stetson College of Law.
Robert Daniel Peed
Vice Chairman
Kern Michael Davis
Kern M. Davis has served as Director of United Insurance Holdings Corp. since March 2012. He served as a Board Member of United Insurance Holdings, L.C. (UIH) from January 2006 through the merger in September 2008. Mr. Davis earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from the University of Florida in 1976, and a medical degree from the University of South Florida in 1980; he completed his residency at the University of Florida in 1985. In 1985, Mr. Davis joined Pathology Associates, P.A., and has served as its President since 1992. Mr. Davis received an MBA from the University of South Florida in 1993.
John Forney
John Forney has over 21 years of executive experience in a variety of industries, primarily financial services. From 1996 to 1999 and from 2002 until June 2012, Mr. Forney served in a number of different capacities at Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), a diversified financial services company based in St. Petersburg, Florida. His last position there was as Managing Director of the Public Finance Department. During his tenure at Raymond James, he developed special expertise in the property insurance sector through his work with government-sponsored insurance entities in Florida, California, Louisiana, and Texas, as well as a major national insurance industry consortium. As part of his work for these entities, he led teams that successfully completed over $20 billion of capital markets financings, helped design and execute multi-billion dollar risk transfer programs, including the implementation of innovative catastrophe bond financings, and designed and implemented investment policies for over $25 billion of assets. He has been a frequent speaker at insurance industry conferences and has testified on insurance industry issues for legislatures in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York, and California. Mr. Forney holds a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the recipient of a Morgenthau Public Policy Fellowship. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, and is a former Infantry Officer and graduate of the U.S Army's Ranger School, the military's most challenging course for combat leaders.
Michael Randolph Hogan

In 1972 Mr. Hogan graduated from Furman University with a Bachelors of Arts in business and economics. Mr. Hogan attended Furman University on an academic and athletic scholarship where he played golf for four years.

Mike began his insurance career in 1992 working in the personal lines and small commercial markets with Meadors-Pickens Insurance Agency. In 1977, Mike took a position with Puckett and Sosby as a commercial sales agent. Puckett and Sosby specialized in group property programs for lumber dealers and condominium associations. In 1979 Puckett and Sosby decided to open an office in Myrtle Beach, SC since they already had a growing book of business. After a brief search, the principals of Puckett and Sosby decided to give the job to Mike. Mike was given equity in the new entity which opened its doors in January of 1980 under the name of Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan Insurance Agency. Under Mike’s leadership, Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan grew to written premium of over $10,000,000 by 1989. In 1989, the principals of the Puckett Group decided to merge with the national broker, Caroon and Black. Mike decided to exercise his buy sell option and purchased the agency on September 15, 1989. On September 22, 1989 Hurricane Hugo hit Myrtle Beach leaving Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan with over 600 claims. Mike led the new company successfully through this tough time which resulted in higher premiums and increased business based on the agencies exemplary performance after a major storm. Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan continued its growth in the early 90’s.

In 1993 and 1994 Mike opened offices in Greenville, SC, Columbia, SC and Atlanta, GA. The Greenville operation was a new independent agency with his old partner, Ron Scheetz. The Columbia office was a TPA which handled the SC Merchants Association Self Insured Workers Compensation fund. The Atlanta office was an MGA which handled small business in Georgia for The Travelers Insurance Company. Over the next 13 years, these entities grew to over $125,000,000 in combined written annual premiums. During this time period Mike served on numerous boards including The Travelers National Agents Board and The South Financial Corporate Board. In January of 2008, Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan received the Best Practices Agent of the Year for agencies with revenue between $7,500,000 and $15,000,000.

In August of 2008, Mike agreed to sell Puckett, Scheetz & Hogan Insurance Agency to BB&T Insurance Services. Mike continued to manage the Myrtle Beach operation until his retirement in October of 2013. Since retirement, Mike has been actively involved in the management of The Hogan Investment Group which includes investments in broad spectrum of business. In November of 2015, Mr. Hogan joined Mr. Peed on the board of American Coastal Insurance Company as an independent director. In April of 2017, ACIC merged with UPC and Mr. Hogan now serves on their board as an in dependent director. He is currently on the Marketing and Corporate Governance Committees.

William H. Hood III
William H. Hood, III has served as a Director of United Insurance Holdings Corp. since March 2012. Mr. Hood served as a Board Member of United Insurance Holdings, L.C. from 2000 through the merger in September 2008. In 1984, Mr. Hood formed a national partnership marketing company and served as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Mr. Hood sold the company in 1999 to a private equity firm, and he continued to manage the company until he retired in 2006. In January 2001, Mr. Hood formed Hall Estate Management LLC and, as the sole member of the firm, Mr. Hood manages his investments and entrepreneurial interests. In July 2009, the firm changed its name to Hall Capital Holdings LLC.
Sherrill Wayne Hudson
Sherrill W. Hudson has served as Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of United Insurance Holdings Corp since May 2013. Mr. Hudson currently serves as the Chairman of TECO Energy’s board. He served as TECO’s executive chairman from August of 2010 until December 2012, after having served as Chairman and CEO since July 2004. Mr. Hudson joined TECO’s board in January 2003 and previously was chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. Hudson also serves on the boards of Publix Super Markets, and Lennar Corporation. Mr. Hudson retired from Deloitte & Touche, LLP in August 2002, after 37 years of service. He spent 19 years in Miami as Managing Partner for its South Florida offices, which included oversight responsibilities for Deloitte's Florida and Puerto Rico offices for much of that time. Mr. Hudson is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Hudson received his bachelor's degree and graduated cum laude, valedictorian from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.
Patrick Francis Maroney
Patrick F. Maroney is the Kathryn Magee Kip Professor Emeritus, Department of Risk Management/ Insurance, Florida State University. He was a faculty member at Florida State University from 1981 until his retirement in 2013. He was the founding director of the Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center in 2008 and held that position until his retirement in 2013. Prior to that position he served as the associate dean for Graduate Programs in the College of Business from 2003 until January 2008. He also served as MBA director from 2001 until 2003 and as the Chairman of the Risk Management and Insurance Department from 1994 until the fall semester of 2001. Prior to entering an academic career, he was an attorney with the Florida Department of Insurance, house counsel with CNA Insurance, and personal lines manager with West Coast Insurors in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He has served as president of the Southern Risk and Insurance Association, the Florida CFO’s Risk Management Advisory Council, and the NCCI Insurance Fraud Commission among many other committees. He has also served as a board member of American Coastal Insurance Company, Florida Home Builders Insurance and First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Company. Professor Maroney authored or co-authored more than fifty articles and books. Professor Maroney’s research concentration was in the area of insurance law and regulation. Articles have appeared in the Journal of Insurance Regulation, Risk Management and Insurance Review, Florida State University Law Review, Florida Bar Journal, Journal of Insurance Issues, Insurance Counsel Journal, and the American Business Law Journal. He presented papers at regional and national academic conferences. He received a Teaching Incentive Program award for excellence in teaching and has been named Student Organization Advisor of the Year.