Brenda L. Cohen, Esq. – Liability Claims Manager
Ms. Cohen has been in the insurance industry for 24 years. She graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Albany and holds a Juris Doctor from Fordham University Law School. Following law school, Ms. Cohen worked as a Senior Litigation Associate for several major insurance defense firms in New York City, including Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker and Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold. She then became a General Liability Claims Attorney for several hospitals and social service agencies in the greater New York metropolitan area.
In her current position, Ms. Cohen manages claims and lawsuits for a variety of clients including commercial property owners, shopping center managers, construction managers/contractors, a hotel, parking garages and a small supermarket chain. She has managed Rockland County’s self-funded liability program since 2005. She also oversees a program of approximately 450 family entertainment centers nationwide.
Tracey A. Nixon – Senior Claims Specialist
Tracey is a Licensed Independent Adjuster, and has been in the insurance industry for 25 years. She holds a BA degree from SUNY Old Westbury, a designation of Legal Principles Claim Specialist by the American Educational Institute and a General Law Studies Certification through Adelphi University’s Lawyers Assistance Program. Ms. Nixon has held both insurance rating and claims positions for three national insurance carriers. Tracey handles general liability claims for family entertainment centers, shopping centers, a supermarket chain, a “big box” wholesale chain, and the County of Rockland.
Helen Behek – Senior Claims Specialist
Helen Behek has over 25 years of claims handling experience in the insurance industry. Helen started her career at Liberty Mutual Insurance Company managing their national corporate fleet account for automobile and general liability claims. Through her career with several national insurance carriers she has become proficient in the investigation and evaluation process as well as analyzing cases for potential fraud and subrogation opportunities. She interacts extensively with plaintiff and defense attorneys and is a strong negotiator. She attends mediation arbitration and trials on a routine basis to resolve cases in a prompt and cost effective manner for her client. She is a certificated arbitrator with National Arbitration Association. Ms. Behek is fluent in Word, Excel and in our Filehandler claims system.
Linda Vanella, Esq. – Claim Attorney
Linda Vanella graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. She received her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law. Linda began her career as a Deputy Town Attorney in the Town Attorney’s Office in Hempstead. Since then, she has worked in private practice, including Sobel and Kelly, P.C. (currently the Sobel Law Group) and Greenfield and Ruhl, P.C. During that time, she practiced negligence defense, including premises liability, auto cases, labor law, and property damage. She also served as in-house counsel for Travelers Insurance.
Maria O’Connor – Claims Assistant
Maria O’Connor, Claims Assistant has been in the insurance industry for 10 years. She provides assistance to the claim specialists in ES&P. Of note, Maria is responsible for all of the billing for claim administrative services. Maria worked previously for Chase Manhattan Bank and Stock Investment Companies.
Steven A. Markowitz, CSP, ARM, ALCM – Vice President of Loss Control
Steven Markowitz, Vice President of Loss Control for SterlingRisk, has over of 30 years experience in the field of loss control and accident prevention. After receiving a Masters Degree in Occupational Safety and Health from New York University in 1980, Steve worked in private industry for five years as the Manager of Occupational Safety and Health. During this time, Steve developed and implemented employee, fleet and property safety programs for an industrial organization with 14 production plants throughout the Northeast US and a fleet of over 500 commercial vehicles.
Over the next 25 years, Steve worked for several national insurance carriers, conducting risk assessment evaluations and providing risk improvement programs and advice. Steve has developed expertise in various lines of coverage, including property protection, general and product liability, auto liability and workers’ compensation. These programs included presentations, guides and checklists in several subject areas, including preventing slip/trip/fall accidents, emergency evacuation and response procedures, ergonomic improvements to prevent strain/sprain injuries, inspection and testing of fire protection systems, and safe driving techniques.
While in the insurance industry, Steve achieved the Certified Safety Professional, Associate in Risk Management and Associate in Loss Control Management designations. Steve is also a New York State Certified Safety Auditor.