Aflac Hires Highmark’s Lebish in Group Benefits Push

Aflac Inc., the largest provider of supplemental medical insurance, hired Daniel Lebish as chief operating officer for group coverage as the company seeks business tied to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

Lebish, 59, will work in the newly created position in Columbia, South Carolina, and report to Aflac U.S. President Kenneth Janke, the Columbus, Georgia-based insurer said today in a statement. He joined today from Highmark Inc., where he was executive vice president at Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Aflac is seeking to increase sales to larger businesses in the U.S. as Obama’s Affordable Care Act requires more employer-provided coverage. Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos said July 31 that possibilities for selling insurance include creating a private exchange to help clients and brokers.

Lebish’s “extensive experience with both the group insurance market and insurance broker distribution, combined with his strong leadership skills, will complement and strengthen the Aflac Group,” Janke said in the statement.

Aflac sells coverage that provides cash directly to policyholders if they suffer an accident or illness. It is usually bought by employees to help pay expenses not covered by their work plans. The company in January hired Drew Niziak from Sun Life Financial Inc. to work as the senior vice president of broker sales and benefits solutions.

The insurer slipped 20 cents to $59.99 at 11:57 a.m. in New York. The company, which generates most of its sales in Japan, has gained 13 percent this year, the smallest advance in the seven-company Standard and Poor’s 500 Life & Health Insurance Index, as a weaker yen pressured results.