Leadership

Stephan Cooper

President, Workers' Compensation Division

Steve Cooper is president of AF Group’s Workers’ Compensation Division and has more than 30 years of property-casualty experience. Prior to his appointment to this role, he served as president of United Heartland and Third Coast Underwriters, and previously as vice president of Claim Operations & TPA for Accident Fund Insurance Company of America. 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 board member of St. Anne’s, LindenGrove and La Casa de Esperanza Foundation, and is a member of the Waukesha Business Alliance.

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

Vice President of Claims and Loss Control

As vice president, Rick is responsible for creating, implementing and monitoring the strategic direction of the Claims and Loss Control departments, 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, Business Development

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.

Her proven insights on customer experience and knowledge of the industry are of tremendous value as she leads the Business Development and Underwriting team, which serves agents and their customers nationwide. Michelle’s experience, grounded in building collaborative teams and achieving positive customer outcomes, is critical as we continue to strengthen and grow our workers’ compensation brands.

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University, where she was a member of the Political Science Honor Society. Additionally, she holds the Senior Claims Law Associate (SCLA) designation. Outside of work, Michelle is active in her community, volunteering time to the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight for veterans, as well as serving on the board of the Cedarburg Community Scholarship Fund.

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.