Following the departure of former CEO John Donahue, now president of E&S broker MJ Hall, Topa Insurance has promoted Denise Pavlov to chief operating officer.

Denise Pavlov – Topa

Pavlov joined Calabasas, California-based Topa in April 2018 as senior vice president, a title she still holds, and chief underwriting officer. Most recently, she introduced commercial package program Topa Premier Commercial Insurance. 

In her new role, Pavlov will continue to focus on improving underwriting, products and program development, and will now oversee claims. 

She previously held roles at Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance, GMAC Insurance, the California State Automobile Association and Western United Insurance Company. 

Donahue resigned as Topa president and CEO in December, with board member Michael Day appointed in those roles on an interim basis.

Donahue explained the resignation was for personal reasons, and that the commute from the Bay Area to southern California had been difficult for his family. 

It emerged at the beginning of this year that Donahue has taken the role of president of MJ Hall. The Stockton, California-based company represents more than 100 insurance carriers on a brokerage and underwriting authority basis.

The release announcing Pavlov’s appointment listed Day simply as president and CEO of Topa, and did not stipulate that he was still serving on an interim basis.

Donahue’s departure followed private equity firm Altamont in August announcing a deal to buy Topa Insurance from Topa Equities, a private family investment company in Los Angeles founded by John Anderson and run by executive chairman and CEO Bill Anderson.

Altamont will assume majority control with Topa Equities maintaining a minority equity stake in the business following the closing.

Last week it was announced that Joe Zuk had left Orchid Underwriters after less than a year to join Altamont as an operating partner focused on its insurance investments.