Canadian Underwriter

Former State Farm Canada head Bellissimo joins industry regulator board

August 17, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Barbara Bellissimo, former chief agent for State Farm Canada, is now on the board of Ontario’s insurance regulator.

The Ontario Financial Services Regulatory Authority announced Monday that Bellissimo is a member of its board of directors effective Aug. 12.

Bellissimo joined State Farm Canada as an underwriter in the 1980s, and was chief agent from 2009 through 2014.

In 2015, Quebec City-based Desjardins Group closed its acquisition of State Farm’s operations in Canada. After the acquisition, Bellissimo stayed on as senior vice-president of the Desjardins Agent Network, a position she held until she retired in 2019. Her successor at Desjardins is Benaaz Irani.

Bellissimo was previously chair of the board of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

Bellissimo “has overseen all aspects of property & casualty insurance and had a leadership role in one of its largest transitions,” FSRA said Monday in a release.

“Barbara is a high-calibre leader who will bring significant insights to the Board as FSRA aims to enhance consumer choice, and promote innovation and competition in the auto insurance marketplace,” FSRA chairwoman Joanne De Laurentiis said in a statement.

FSRA replaced the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) as the Ontario’s insurance industry regulator in June 2019.

FSRA’s other board members are Kathryn Bouey, Blair Cowper-Smith, Joseph Iannicelli, Dexter John, Stewart Lyons, Lawrence Ritchie and Brent Zorgdrager.

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