Key PRMS Executives
Our experienced team of insurance and risk management professionals is uniquely qualified to handle large, complex, and multi-member insurance programs.
- Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer: Stephen Sills
- Chief Underwriting Officer and Executive Vice President: Jacqueline Palumbo
- Senior Vice President, Client Relations: Melanie Smith
- Senior Vice President, Claims: Jean Clark Bates, RN, BSN, MPPM
- Vice President, Risk Management: Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD
- Head of Marketing: Leigh Baker
Stephen Sills brings to PRMS over 30 years of insurance industry experience with a record of proven success and commitment to customers. He founded Darwin Professional Underwriters, Inc. in 2003 and served as its Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer until 2008 when Darwin was purchased by Allied World Assurance Company. Prior to this, he founded Executive Risk Inc., where he served as its Chief Underwriting Officer from 1988 to 1996 and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 to 1999.
With his trademark entrepreneurial and innovative management skills, Mr. Sills grew both of these companies from start-ups into NYSE publicly traded organizations. With Executive Risk, Mr. Sills grew an insurance company focusing on directors and officers insurance into a multi-lines specialty insurance carrier with over $600 million in premium when it was sold to Chubb in 1999; it is now an integral part of the Chubb organization.
In 2003, Mr. Sills started Darwin Professional Underwriters. In just three years, the company went public, reflecting its growth and success regardless of a crowded market. When he left Darwin in 2008, the premium volume was more than $200 million.
Nationally recognized as an industry leader, Mr. Sills is often asked to share his insight on insurance issues and trends and has been quoted in major insurance and business publications. Mr. Sills previously served as a member of the board of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. He also served as president of PLUS, the leading professional liability trade organization. Awards include the Professional Liability Underwriting Society's (PLUS) Founders' Award. This award recognizes a member who has made a significant contribution to the society. Mr. Sills received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee. Mr. Sills serves on the Board of Directors of the MCC Theater, a leading off-Broadway theater company. Contact Stephen Sills.
Jacqueline Palumbo has been a senior manager with PRMS for 22 years. She has almost 40 years of experience underwriting healthcare professional liability insurance with a specialization in behavioral healthcare. In her role as the Chief Underwriting Officer, Ms. Palumbo directs the underwriting, sales, client services, product development, and policy production functions for PRMS.
Prior to joining PRMS, she was the Director of Underwriting with Healthcare Underwriters Mutual Insurance Company. Her previous experience includes management positions with Pro Assurance (formerly PIC Wisconsin), The Doctors Company, and Illinois State Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange.
Ms. Palumbo holds a property and casualty insurance agent license in all 50 states and DC. She is member of the Professional Liability Insurance Society (PLUS) and has been used as an expert witness for insurance coverage litigation cases. Ms. Palumbo is also a certified professional coach and energy leadership master practitioner. Contact Jacqueline Palumbo.
Melanie Smith manages the client relations and partnerships for PRMS including serving as the contact person for state, regional, and national psychiatric associations. She creates opportunities for company growth and collaboration. Ms. Smith identifies and coordinates service projects for PRMS participation, such as initiatives to support NAMI, mental health organizations, Kraftlove, local food banks, and disaster outreach projects.
Ms. Smith has worked in the marketing, communications and public relations fields since 1979. She was employed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Office of Member and Staff Benefits in 1986. When the APA established PRMS, Ms. Smith then became a PRMS employee. Previously, she was a marketing manager for an educational association. Ms. Smith earned a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations Management from George Mason University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Kraftlove, a charity that provides art kits to hospitalized children. Contact Melanie Smith.
Jean Bates is an experienced medical malpractice claims manager and negotiator, particularly involving behavioral healthcare litigation. She joined PRMS in 1989 and is currently directing and overseeing the claims department while still maintaining an active role in adjusting complex malpractice cases.
Ms. Bates has over 27 years of experience in healthcare liability insurance, investigating and managing malpractice claims for a broad range of specialties including emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, obstetrics/gynecology, and general surgery. She brought into this profession her clinical experience in the neurosurgery intensive care unit of a university hospital and the emergency department of a large county facility.
Ms. Bates received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Montevallo and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also earned a Master of Arts in Public and Private Management degree from Birmingham-Southern College. She is a licensed claims adjuster and a member of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society. Contact Jean Bates.
Donna Vanderpool is responsible for the development and implementation of risk management services for PRMS. Ms. Vanderpool has developed expertise in the areas of telepsychiatry, HIPAA and forensic practice, and has consulted, written and spoken nationally on these and other healthcare law and risk management topics. She most recently contributed to a chapter in Gun Violence and Mental Health (APPI), authored chapters on telepsychiatry in Mental Health Practice in a Digital World (Springer) and Psychoanalysis Online 2 (Karnac). She also has co-edited and contributed chapters to several other clinical textbooks. Prior to joining PRMS in 2000, Ms. Vanderpool practiced criminal defense law, taught business and legal courses, and spent eight years managing a general surgical practice.
Ms. Vanderpool received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from James Madison University. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree and Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University. Contact Donna Vanderpool.
As the Head of Marketing, Leigh Baker leads the development and execution of acquisition, retention and brand building initiatives that utilize effective multi-channel marketing methods to meet the company’s revenue and business objectives, generate excitement among our clients and partners, and further our favorable reputation. This includes overall strategy, digital direction, social media, branded materials and collateral, internal and external communications, events, advertising, and more.
Prior to joining PRMS, Ms. Baker worked in the publishing industry developing award-winning integrated marketing campaigns for advertisers, most recently at InStyle magazine. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and International Studies from Marymount Manhattan College. Contact Leigh Baker.
From Underwriting to Risk Management to Claims Services, learn more about the many services that PRMS provides to its clients.More on PRMS Services