New Chief Starts Monday at Fireman's Fund Insurance

Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., a $6 billion property and casualty insurer that is a significant source of funding for fire departments, will be under the direction of a new president/chief executive officer as of Monday. Michael LaRocco, 51, joins the Novato, Calif.-based unit of Allianz of America on that date, having most recently served as president and chief operating officer of Seattle-based Safeco, a $5 billion property and casualty insurer.

FFI announced recently that the Fireman's Fund Heritage(SM) program awarded about $6.4 million in grants to more than 400 fire departments in 2007. The money went for training, community education programs, and new equipment including thermal imaging cameras, turnout gear, extrication equipment, portable radios, ventilation saws, nozzles, SCBAs, and defibrillators.

While Heritage started in 2004 and has thus far awarded $16.5 million in fire service grants, the donations continue a 145-year tradition for Fireman's Fund, which was founded in San Francisco and named for an arrangement in which it paid 10 percent of its profits to firefighters' widows and orphans. Today's grants average $20,000 but can exceed $100,000.

LaRocco held senior management positions at Geico Corp. before joining Safeco, according to FFI's news release. He will report to Chuck Kavitsky, president and CEO of Allianz of America, and will serve on the International Executive Committee of Allianz SE.

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