Global Corporate & Specialty

Leadership team

Urs Uhlmann

Managing Director – Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS)

Urs Uhlmann joined Aviva Canada in January 2021 as Managing Director of Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS). Urs will be responsible for the GCS and Surety teams, as well as supporting Aviva’s Global GCS ambitions.

A strong property and casualty leader with more than 35 years of experience and a track record of driving profitable growth, Urs brings tremendous amount of experience and expertise to the role.

Prior to joining Aviva, Urs was Chief Executive Officer, Global Corporate at Zurich Canada and most recently, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Agent at AXA XL Canada.

Urs served as a Captain in the Swiss Army and graduated from the Swiss business school in Weinfelden, Switzerland. He holds the Swiss Federal Insurance Diploma and completed his C.R.M at the University of Toronto.

Susan Penwarden

Chief Technical Underwriter

Susan Penwarden joined Aviva Canada in January 2020 as Chief Performance Officer, Commercial Lines. With effect from July 1, 2020, she has assumed the role of Chief Technical Underwriter.

In addition to reinsurance and exposure management for Aviva Canada, Susan is focused on developing and driving commercial technical strategies and technical performance in the areas of risk concentration, governance, underwriting, pricing and reinsurance, and customer to support growth, enabling Aviva Commercial Lines –  Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS) and Small Medium Enterprise (SME) – to deliver significant profitable growth while maintaining a robust control environment aligned with Aviva Group and Aviva Canada’s standards and policies.

Most recently Susan was Director General of the General Insurance business in Aviva France, responsible for the General Insurance profit and loss and end-to-end performance including strategy, underwriting, pricing, and claims operations.  Prior to that Susan was the Chief Underwriting Officer for Commercial Lines in the United Kingdom, including the SME, GCS and Irish businesses.  For a period she also supported the Global General Insurance Council as Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Commercial Lines.

Prior to joining Aviva, Susan worked for RSA, first in Canada as Director of Commercial Technical Underwriting, then as Chief Risk Officer for the Codan Group in Denmark, and finally as Director, Global Specialty Lines, based in London.  After being away for 12 years Susan and her family are happy to return to Canada on a permanent basis.

Terry Michalakos, Vice President, Surety, Global Corporate and Specialty

Terry Michalakos

VP, Surety

Terry Michalakos oversees all surety lines of business including Contract, Commercial, and Developer surety across Canada. His team provides support to the construction industry, developers and resource companies in Canada and the United States. He launched his surety career in 2000 at London Guarantee (now Travelers Canada), and joined Aviva Canada in 2013.

John Hastings, AVP Client Relationship Management, Global Corporate and Specialty

John Hastings

VP, Programs

John Hastings, Vice President, Programs, is responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of Aviva Canada programs under the Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS) division of Aviva Canada’s Commercial Insurance offering.

John, along with many skilled underwriting leaders and their teams, serves customers and distributors across a wide range of industry segments and risks. John and his team seek to optimize outcomes for customers with legacy portfolios while thinking creatively about new opportunities for delivering Aviva products and services in a dynamic market.

John has shaped his outlook from collaborating with various teams, mentors, customers and industry associations throughout his career. With 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, he brings his knowledge of underwriting, distribution, and broker and client relationship management to this role.  

Lisa Leo

VP Operations & EBI

As Vice President, Operations & EBI, Lisa is responsible for Commercial Equipment Breakdown Underwriting, as well as Aviva’s Engineering Inspection Services. She has a frontline team that provides machinery breakdown solutions to Aviva Commercial Lines Underwriters, Broker Partners and Customers.  In addition to that, her operations team supports all of GCS in developing new insights and understandings of business performance that will drive competitive advantage and overall efficiency.

Lisa launched her career in Equipment Breakdown with Aviva Canada in 2006.


James King

Head of Fronting

James King joined Aviva Canada in August 2021. As Head of Fronting, he is responsible for the implementation and execution of Fronting arrangements for Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS).

James started his career with Commonwealth Insurance Company working in Property insurance for the energy and mining sectors and then moved on to gain experience at Marsh as a broker for large corporate risk.

Prior to joining Aviva, James spent 17 years at Zurich where he grew his career in several roles, including AVP of Eastern Property, Director of Consumer Goods and Transportation, Head of Auto, and Head of Alternative Risk Transfer and Captive Services.

Bryan Kirton

AVP Loss Control, Head of Risk Management Solutions

Bryan Kirton is responsible for our national team of risk management professionals who are responsible for the understanding, analyzing and offering of risk improvement strategies that have the potential to impact Aviva’s customers. He is responsible for the operations, service, technical training and effectiveness of the risk management department. Bryan brings more than 25 years of consulting, teaching and risk management experience. Prior to joining Aviva in 2019, he held the Fire Protection Practice Leader role at MRC Canada.

Leszek Bialy

VP, Corporate and Specialty Risk

Leszek Bialy joined Aviva Canada in June 2022 as Vice President, Corporate and Specialty Risk, in the GCS division. Leszek is responsible for leading, growing and defining the strategy and risk appetite for the large commercial market segment. 

Leszek is a strong leader with over 25 years in the commercial insurance industry. He brings a wealth of experience in managing profitable underwriting portfolios and exceptional customer and broker relationship management skills. 

Prior to joining Aviva, Leszek spent over 20 years at Zurich Canada where he grew his career in several roles in Commercial Insurance, some including: Director of Forestry, Real Estate and Financial Institutions for the Global Corporate Division, Vice President of Programs, Head of Customer and Distribution Management, and most recently as Head of Alternative Risk Transfer.  

Sharlane Bugarin

Head of MGA (GCS)

Sharlane Bugarin joined the Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS) team in 2022 as the Head of MGA. Together with the team, she continues to build strong relationships with our MGA partners, ensure their ability to grow profitably and find new opportunities to expand our portfolio of the MGAs we do business with.

Sharlane has been with Aviva since 2016 and has held various roles within Finance at Aviva Canada, as well as in the UK. She was most recently VP Business Manager in the Executive Office providing operational, strategic and consultative services to Aviva Canada’s CEO.

Prior to joining Aviva, Sharlane worked in the assurance practice at EY in Canada and in the US, primarily focused on the audit of large insurance clients. She is a qualified accountant (CPA, CA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto.  

Jamie Yoon

Jaime Yoon

VP Client Relationship Management 

Jaime is responsible for leading the Client Relationship Management (CRM) team, executing the CRM strategy and positioning CRM as a key resource to round out the Global Corporate & Specialty (GCS) offering. CRM supports the ambitions of GCS while balancing relationships and advocacy of customers and brokers.

Jaime joined Aviva in July 2019 and is an experienced professional in the commercial risk and insurance industry having worked 20+ years as a broker, underwriter, and most recently as VP Client & Market Development at technology startup KNØX. Prior to that, Jaime was AVP, National Product Line Leader for environmental risks at Markel International, accountable for all facets of the Canadian environmental book of business.

Jaime earned her CRM, FCIP, and holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Applied Economics from Queen's University. She is also co-chair of the Insurance Institute’s CIP Society Symposium Committee.