Industry Veterans Join Insurtech Advisory Board | Insurance Business America
Experts will accompany the company in its next growth phase
Insurance payments platform Ascend announced that Jim Hackbarth, former President and CEO of Assurex Global, and Robert W. Smith, former President of Agency Operations at PCF Insurance Services, have been named founding members of its Advisory Board.
As board members, Hackbarth and Smith will help lead the company into the next phase of growth. Ascend intends to expand its network of insurance brokers, MGAs, agency networks, insurtechs and carriers.
Hackbarth has more than 30 years of insurance experience. He began his career at IBM and has held senior positions at Price Waterhouse, Policy Management Systems and Agency Management Systems (now Vertafore).
Hackbarth founded Cornerstone Partners, a consulting firm specializing in executive recruitment, early-stage investing and startup creation. From 2003 to 2021 he was President and CEO of Assurex Global, the world’s largest private risk management and commercial insurance brokerage group. He currently works as a consultant for insurtechs and as a board member for two venture capital backed companies in the insurance sector.
“Ascend has the potential to streamline one of the most outdated aspects of insurance,” Hackbarth said. “The payment infrastructure and processes between customers, brokers, wholesalers and carriers have lagged behind many other innovations in the insurance space, and I’m pleased that Ascend is addressing these issues across the space.”
Robert W. Smith has over 25 years of leadership experience in the financial products industry. Previously, he held regional and national leadership positions in practice groups at Acrisure and Aon and was president of agency operations at PCF Insurance Services.
Smith recently founded Fideles Advisors, a consulting firm for independent insurance agencies, private equity investors, insurers seeking sales insight and corporations seeking to work with insurance agents.
“I’m excited to support and promote Ascend’s differentiated value proposition, particularly to larger and more complex buyers,” said Smith. “With my experience working with both independent agencies and large aggregators, I see the transformative potential of Ascend’s cutting-edge technology in streamlining and modernizing financial insurance infrastructure through automation. With that in mind, I believe Ascend’s approach will significantly increase agency revenue while also propelling the industry as a whole into the future.”
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