The Insurance Professional of the Year Award was first made possible by the establishment in 2001 of the Richard B. Simches Fund. Mr. Simches, who founded Safety Insurance Company, believed that it was important to recognize outstanding individuals in the insurance industry. The award was created by the Library’s Board of Trustees in the tradition of an award bestowed annually from the 1950s through 1996 by the Boston Board of Fire Underwriters. The recipient each year is chosen by a selection committee comprised of individuals from a variety of insurance-related organizations, who consider nominations submitted by Library members and members of the public.

Since 2002, when the Library first presented this award, a wide array of members of the insurance, financial security, risk management, and legal communities has gathered to recognize an individual who demonstrates outstanding leadership and exemplifies qualities that foster commitment to, understanding of, and respect for the insurance industry.

We are proud of this award and happy to bring hundreds of people together year after year to acknowledge an outstanding insurance professional.

William F. Hofmann, III was the first winner of the Award. Bill was selected to receive this award in recognition of the outstanding services he has provided in promoting the interest of the public and the insurance profession.

John B. Conners was the second winner of this award. He was chosen, in part, because of the important work he has done in the auto insurance field, both for consumers and for the industry.

David J. Lane was the third winner of the award. He was selected in recognition of his exemplary service to the public and to the insurance industry, both in his work in the insurance field and in his work as a state representative.

Ralph “Buddy” Iannaco was the fourth winner of the award. Buddy was selected because of his long career in the public sector both at the Division of Insurance and currently with the Commonwealth Auto Reinsurers.

Daniel J. Johnston was the fifth winner of the award. He was selected because of  his dedicated work for the public and the industry both as president of the Auto Insurers Bureau and Executive Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

John K. Golembeski was the sixth winner of the award. He was selected because of his work in the public sector through his role as president of both the Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association and Rhode Island Joint Reinsurance Association. He has been appointed to numerous arson task forces and has been involved with several fire training programs. 

Ronald Mariano was the seventh winner of the award. He was chosen because of his commitment to the public and the Insurance Industry through his work as a House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.

Richard “Dick” W. Brewer was the eighth winner of the Award. He was chosen because of his impeccable reputation among his peers for his keen insight and his ability to understand the viewpoints of others. Dick’s distinguished career in a variety of roles has meant that he has met and worked with many different people with divergent interests.

Michael J. Sabbagh was the ninth winner of the Award. He was chosen because of outstanding contribution to the many communities in which he is active. His long service with the Massachusetts Division of Insurance in several key roles and as Insurance Commissioner benefited the insurance industry and consumers alike. His membership on numerous boards and board committees is a testament to the respect of his peers.

Sandra G. Parrillo was the 10th winner of the Award. Not only was she the first woman to win the award, but she was the first recipient from the greater New England area! Her service to insurance organizations in leadership roles is exceptional. She has also contributed to the wider community through such organizations as the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, the Diocese of Providence, The Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Rhode Island Governors Insurance Council.

Hope A. Aldrich was the 11th winner of the Award. She is an inspiration to many, having contributed to the insurance industry in many distinguished roles. Ms. Aldrich has been the President and CEO of Eastern Insurance since 1997, and is responsible for the leadership of one of the largest full service insurance agencies in New England. With over thirty years of experience in the insurance industry, Ms. Aldrich has held leadership roles at AON Risk Services and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Francis X. Bellotti was the 12th winner of the Award. He has a reputation for encouraging those around him to grow professionally and to succeed. Because of his dedication and approachability, people have a deep-seated affection for him. Mr. Bellotti was first elected to public office in 1962 as Lieutenant Governor. He later served as Attorney General. Mr. Bellotti is also one of the Founders of Arbella Insurance Company.

Francis A. Mancini was the 13th winner of the Award. Mr. Mancini was chosen for his ability to inspire his fellow state executives and legislators throughout the country, as well has his passion for the industry and concern for consumers. Mr. Mancini has served on numerous state and national industry and government committees and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of InsurPAC, the political action committee of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA).

John A Myers was the 14th winner of the Award.  Mr. Myers has worked in the insurance industry for 45 years, nineteen of which were spent as Chief Executive officer at A.I.M. Mutual. To his credit, A.I.M. Mutual has become known as one of the more forward-thinking and innovative insurers in the workers compensation marketplace. Mr. Myers was chosen for his significant contributions to the the way employers view the workers compensation market and the way injured employees receive medical treatment.

Charles J. “Charley” Brophy, III, was the 15th winner of the Award. Mr. Brophy has been the President and CEO of HUB International New England since 2006, and has greatly contributed to the insurance industry though fierce leadership and successful relationship building.

Timothy Hegarty was the 16th winner of the Award. Mr. Hegarty joined the Norfolk  & Dedham Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1984 as VP of Marking and was named in 1990. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Hegarty was chosen for his dedication to the community and for engendering that same spirit in his agents, urging them to focus on the value add that they bring.

J. Bruce Cochrane was the 17th winner of the Award. Mr. Cochrane is the President and founder of Renaissance Alliance, an agency aggregation venture which consists of more than 90 agencies writing more than $600 million in premium. Mr. Cochrane has consistently been a leader in the industry, employing niche marketing before many others in New England, pioneering workers’ compensation self-insurance groups, and participating in the drafting of the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Reform Act of 1991. He was chosen for these leadership skills and his devotion to the insurance industry.

Nancy Z. Bender was the 18th winner of the Award. Ms. Bender is the President Bender Hatch Insurance, an agency created by the merger of the Nancy Z. Bender Insurance Agency and H.R. Hatch Insurance Agency. As one of the first women to own her own independent agency in Massachusetts, Ms. Bender is considered a role model for many women in the industry. She was chosen for her commitment to the community and her focus on building relationships.

K. Douglas Briggs was the 19th winner of the Award. Mr. Briggs serves as Chairman and CEO of Quincy Mutual Group and its affiliates. He was appointed CEO and President in 1985. Doug’s receipt of this award is an example of his commitment to community. Preferring not to be the subject of the attention that comes with such a distinguished honor, he nevertheless accepted after being informed of his nomination and giving it thorough consideration “if it helps the Library.” Especially in challenging times when we were not able to hold our annual event in the traditional manner, it did indeed help the Library immensely by giving us an opportunity to gather as a community for a special reason.

Mary Boyd was the 20th winner of the Award. Ms. Boyd is President and CEO of Plymouth Rock Assurance. A seasoned senior executive with over 25 years in the industry, she joined Plymouth Rock in 2018. Mary views challenges as opportunities to learn, grow and elevate. It is with this mindset that she has transformed the industry with several significant innovations over the course of her career. We are pleased to recognize Mary’s leadership skills, her innovation and constant endeavor to improve the insurance community.

Daniel J. Bridge was the 21st winner of the Award. Mr. Bridge is CEO & Board Chair of the Vermont Mutual Insurance Group (and was at the time of his award also the President of the company). He has had a long career in the industry. His 15+ years at Vermont Mutual were marked by exceptional financial performance. He is responsible for the creation in 2014 of the Vermont Mutual Charitable Giving Fund, which has granted millions of dollars to community organizations throughout the Northeast, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Vermont communities devastated by the 2023 flooding. Mr. Bridge is most proud, however, of his work with the STAR Basketball program for special needs children in Vermont.