Executive Officers

Marita Zuraitis, President and Chief Executive Officer
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Marita Zuraitis is Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Horace Mann Educators Corporation. She joined Horace Mann as President and Chief Executive officer–elect in May 2013 and assumed her present role in September of that year. Prior to joining Horace Mann, she was President of the property and casualty insurance companies of The Hanover Insurance Group with responsibilities for both personal and commercial lines representing $3 billion in annual premium. She was also a member of Hanover’s Executive Leadership team. Prior to joining The Hanover in 2004, she served in senior management positions at The St. Paul/ Travelers Companies, USF&G and Aetna Life and Casualty.

Zuraitis is a proven leader in the property and casualty industry, and her 30-year career includes leadership positions in both home office and field environments. The breadth of her experience provides her with a unique understanding of the industry, which has enabled her to bring exceptional knowledge and insight to the organizations she has supported. She has a strong connection to Horace Mann’s educator niche through several family members who are teachers.

Zuraitis holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut and has completed the Advanced Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (The Institutes), and is a member of the Board of Directors of Citizens Financial Group. She is a past board member of the Worcester Academy, a private secondary school in Worcester, Ma.

Bret A. Conklin, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
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Mr. Conklin was appointed to his present position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in April 2017. He joined the Company as Senior Vice President and Controller in January 2002 and was named the Acting Chief Financial Officer in January 2017. Mr. Conklin previously served as Vice President of Kemper Insurance from January 2000 through January 2002, where he was responsible for all corporate financial reporting and accounting operations; Vice President and Controller of the Company from July 1998 through January 2000; and Vice President and Controller of Pekin Insurance from September 1992 through June 1998. He has seven years of public accounting experience with KPMG Peat Marwick from 1985 to 1992, specializing in its insurance industry practice.

Matthew P. Sharpe, Executive Vice President, Distribution and Business Development
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Mr. Sharpe joined the Company in January 2012 as Executive Vice President, Annuity and Life. Mr. Sharpe was previously with Genworth Financial, Inc. from 1999 to 2011 where he most recently served as Senior Vice President. Over the last 12 years in various positions with Genworth, Mr. Sharpe gained an extensive annuity and life background while leading a variety of successful growth, product development, strategic, marketing and sales initiatives.

Wade A. Rugenstein, Executive Vice President, Supplemental and Operations
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Mr. Rugenstein joined the Company in 2019 as Executive Vice President. Prior to joining Horace Mann, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of NTA Life and its insurance holding company group. His previous experience includes senior management positions at NTA Life, The Republic Group, Kemper Insurance, and Greyhound Lines. Mr. Rugenstein is a graduate of Baylor University with a BBA in Management Information Systems, and is active in the Society for Information Managers and the Project Management Institute.

Mark R. Desrochers, Senior Vice President, Property & Casualty and Chief Corporate Actuary
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Mr. Desrochers was appointed as acting head of the Property & Casualty business in April 2020. He has more than 30 years of experience in the property and casualty insurance industry, primarily in personal lines. He joined Horace Mann in 2015 as Chief Corporate Actuary. Prior to joining Horace Mann, Desrochers held the position of president for the Personal Lines business unit of The Hanover Insurance Group from 2008 to 2014. He is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, a Member of the American Actuarial Association, and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

Mike Weckenbrock, Senior Vice President, Retirement & Life
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Mr. Weckenbrock was appointed to the position of head of the Life & Retirement business in October 2019. He joined the Company as Vice President, Life & Retirement in March 2018. Prior to joining Horace Mann, Weckenbrock held senior positions leading sales, product and business development, as well as legal and compliance teams at Ameritas and Union Central Life Insurance Companies. He holds a B.A. in Economics/Government from Centre College, a J.D. from Salmon P. Chase School of Law, as well as multiple industry designations and licenses.