Stephan Cooper

President, Commercial Markets

Steve is president of AF Group’s Commercial Markets Division and has more than 30 years of property-casualty experience. Prior to his appointment to this role, he served as president of the Workers’ Compensation Division (Accident Fund, CompWest, United Heartland, Third Coast Underwriters) for AF Group, president of United Heartland and Third Coast Underwriters, and vice president of Claim Operations & TPA for Accident Fund. He’s also held senior leadership roles at Specialty Underwriters Alliance, General Electric Insurance Solutions, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Travelers Insurance Company.

He is a former board member of St. Anne’s, LindenGrove, La Casa de Esperanza Foundation, Waukesha Business Alliance and Ele’s Place. Steve is very active in his local community.

Steve served in the United States Navy and holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Central Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Rick Hobbs, CPCU, AIC, AIM

Senior Vice President of Claims

As senior vice president of Claims, Rick is responsible for creating, implementing and monitoring the strategic direction of the Claims department, while executing operational plans for continual improvement.

In 1986 Rick began his career in commercial casualty insurance with a focus on claims, underwriting and loss control. Prior to joining United Heartland in 2012, he held various leadership roles with Wausau Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Rick earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in management from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He’s also earned the following professional insurance designations: Charter Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Claims (AIC) and Associate in Management (AIM).

Rick was born and raised in southeast Wisconsin and is a long-time fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers.

Michelle McLane

Senior Vice President, Middle Market & National Accounts

With a strong background in underwriting, broker relations and territory management, Michelle joined the team in 2021 from M3 Insurance, a valued AF Group agency partner, where she most recently served as executive vice president of Sales. Prior to this, Michelle spent more than 16 years with Liberty Mutual Insurance in a variety of senior leadership roles.

In her role, Michelle leads business development, underwriting and distribution for AF Group’s Middle Market and National Account segments within their Commercial Markets division. Her experience, grounded in building collaborative teams and achieving positive customer outcomes, also plays a critical role as we continue to strengthen and grow our Commercial Markets brands.

Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University, where she was a junior fellow in International Relations – and holds the Senior Claims Law Associate (SCLA) designation. In January 2024, Michelle joined the Spencer Educational Foundation Board and also serves on their scholarship committee.

Scott Babcock

Vice President of Customer Operations and Corporate Loss Control

Scott has more than 25 years of experience working with complex national accounts and specialty companies. He has a diverse insurance background, comprised of his roles as senior vice president of a regional specialty operation, senior loss control manager and risk manager. He has also served as a vice president account executive, where he directly managed multiple Fortune 500 insurance programs in multiple lines and for international accounts. His extensive background in customer experience and his knowledge of many industries enables him to serve customers with effective account management processes and loss mitigation consultations. Scott also provides enterprise oversight of Loss Control processes to ensure consistency across all brands and is responsible for enterprise adherence to individual state policy and procedures and for quality control and continuous process improvement.

Scott is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and has completed numerous continuing education courses in risk management and insurance.

Justin Bealhen

Vice President of Business Development, United Heartland and Third Coast Underwriters

Justin has led the Business Development, Agency Management and Risk Management Services teams for United Heartland since 2015. In 2020, his role was expanded to oversee the same functions for Third Coast Underwriters along with leadership of Loss Control functions at UH.

Between 2015 and 2019, he led United Heartland’s national expansion efforts entering eight additional states, helping to grow UH’s top line by $100 million, a 40% increase in direct written premiums. Prior to serving as vice president of field operations, Justin was regional director of the Kansas City region. In this role, he was responsible for opening a new office and leading claims, loss control and underwriting disciplines in a four-state region, generating $60 million in written premium and achieving a combined ratio of 90%. Prior to that, he worked as a regional underwriting manager and senior underwriter with United Heartland.

Justin has a Bachelor of Science in occupational safety from UW-Whitewater, a Master of Business Administration from Baker University and is a graduate of AF Group’s Accelerated Leadership Program.

Brad Schmitt, AIC

Managing Director, Claims

Brad has spent more than 25 years serving large national and middle-market accounts while working for national and specialty insurance carriers. His passion for claims and delivering top-notch customer service brings value to policyholders and security to injured workers. He continues to develop and drive industry-leading tools and strategies to help customers reduce loss costs.

Brad earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and holds an Associate in Claims (AIC) designation in addition to various specialty certifications.