Also: Fuel cells power Fireman's Fund; Heffernan covers Burning Man; Okrepkie joins George Petersen

Lori Dickerson Fouche has been named the new president and chief executive officer of Novato-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.

She succeeds Michael LaRocco, who left the company to "pursue other professional opportunities."

[caption id="attachment_36233" align="alignleft" width="176" caption="Lori Fouche"][/caption]

Ms. Fouche joined Fireman’s Fund in February 2006 and most recently served as president of commercial insurance. Previously, she was chief operating officer for Fireman’s Fund’s Specialty business.

Prior to Fireman’s Fund, Ms. Fouche was senior vice president, private company product manager at Chubb & Son and also served as a management consultant at The Parthenon Group.

She received a bachelor’s degree in history with a certificate in American studies from Princeton University, and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.


Fireman’s Fund in late June announced that it has installed Bloom Energy fuel-cell "servers," which the property and casualty insurance company said will significantly reduce its carbon footprint at company headquarters in Novato.

A total of seven servers were recently installed, which will permit Fireman’s Fund to self-produce 60 percent of the energy used at its main campus, according to the company, which has a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 25 percent come 2012.

Each server is about the size of one parking space and contains thousands of Bloom fuel cells -- flat, solid ceramic squares made from a sand-like powder -- that covert air and biogas into electricity by way of an electrochemical process, producing zero net carbon emissions.

“Bloom Energy fuel cells allow Fireman’s Fund to use a clean and reliable onsite energy source that reduces its energy costs and carbon footprint, is good for the environment and further demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainability,” said former Chief Executive Officer Michael LaRocco.

Fireman’s Fund, Marin County’s third largest private employer, has been drawing power from the new servers since April.

The company also offers green insurance for LEED-certified buildings.


[caption id="attachment_36237" align="alignleft" width="154" caption="Bruce Okrepkie"][/caption]

Bruce Okrepkie, a 30-year veteran of the North Bay insurance market, joined George Petersen Insurance Agency’s Santa Rosa office.

Much of Mr. Okrepkie’s experience has centered on the construction industry, and he will be responsible for managing the agency’s surety and construction operations.

Mr. Okrepkie began his career in Sonoma County in 1984, when he joined the former Ellinson & Jones as the bond department manager. He oversaw the firm’s surety operations in California and Oregon. He stayed on with the company through two mergers, first with ABD in 1993 and again with Wells Fargo in 2007. Most recently, he served as vice president of Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.’s North Bay construction practice.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Bruce to our team,” said Doug Dilley, chief operations officer of George Petersen. “He has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in his 30 years of experience, and we know he will be a valuable asset to our firm’s surety and construction operations.

Mr. Okrepkie is affiliated with a number of associations, including currently serving on the board of the Northern California Association of General Contractors and as a planning commissioner for the town of Windsor. Others include the North Coast Builders Exchange, National Association of Surety Bond Professionals, American Subcontractors Association and the Engineering Contractors Association.


Heffernan Insurance Brokers, which has a Petaluma branch, announced it has launched an insurance product specifically for participants in the Burning Man festival, called Insurance on the Playa.

Coverage can include liability for theme camps, art cars and art installations as well as coverage for owned or rented property, according to the brokerage firm.

Participants of the event have historically had difficulty obtaining insurance for the Burning Man annual festival, according to Heffernan.

The coverage was designed by two Heffernan employees who themselves have participated in the event in the Nevada desert.

Underwriting risks posed a challenge for those unfamiliar with the event, according to the agency. So the Heffernan duo -- Amy Vitarelli and Benjamin Stern -- crafted a policy underwritten by a top-rated large carrier.

More information can be found at www.heffins.com.


Submit items for this column to Dan Verel at dverel@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4257 or fax 707-521-5292.