Fifth Third Bank has named an executive to lead its insurance services business, a position that has been open since its last chief left the post in October.

The Cincinnati-based bank appointed Christopher Bell, a 20-year company veteran, to develop and implement a comprehensive insurance strategy across Fifth Third, which it said includes "evaluating opportunities to enhance the bank's insurance offerings and seeking out growth and expansion opportunities."

The bank's prior leader, Howard McClure, was charged with similar responsibilities when it recruited him in January 2016.

Bell will report to Brian Lamb, the recently named head of the bank's Wealth and Asset Management division.

Christopher Bell, Fifth Third Bank's newly appointed president of Insurance Services, is charged with developing and leading a comprehensive insurance strategy across Fifth Third.
Christopher Bell will develop a comprehensive insurance strategy across Fifth Third in his new role as president of Insurance Services.

Lamb praised Bell's track record of success, noting his experience in leading several insurance and wealth acquisitions. "This experience makes him a terrific choice as we look to grow the business," Lamb said.

Over the past year, the bank has acquired two insurance agencies in a bid to bolster its insurance services capabilities. Last March, it purchased R.G. McGraw, a Cincinnati-based insurance agency with a strong focus on personal and commercial insurance, followed by the acquisition Epic Insurance Solutions, a Louisville, Kentucky-based provider of commercial and property and casualty insurance as well as employee benefits services, in November.

John Neace and Don Thompson, formerly of Epic Insurance Solutions, and Mike McGraw, formerly of R.G. McGraw, will report to Bell.

Bell was previously managing director of Fifth Third's private bank, a role he held for six years. He joined the bank in 1998 and has served in a number of key leaderships positions within the bank's Wealth & Asset Management division, according to Fifth Third.

Fifth Third's wealth and asset management business posted a solid fourth quarter, generating $106 million in revenue, up 6% year-over-year, according to the bank's latest press release.