Ryan Specialty Promotes RT Specialty Leaders Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld and Chris Houska

April 18, 2023 | CHICAGO, IL – Ryan Specialty Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: RYAN) (“Ryan Specialty”), a leading international specialty insurance firm, is pleased to announce effective immediately the promotion of both Brenda (Ballard) Austenfeld and Chris Houska to CEO & President of their respective RT Specialty practices. RT Specialty is the wholesale brokerage specialty within Ryan Specialty.

Brenda Austenfeld, CEO & President of RT Specialty’s National Property Practice, has been with RT Specialty since 2013 joining with the acquisition of Westrope, where she was a Partner with the firm. Throughout her years as President of RT Specialty’s National Property Practice, Brenda’s leadership and guidance for sales and strategy initiatives, development of talent and building team culture throughout the national platform has escalated RT Property to be a key leader within the property arena.

Chris Houska, CEO & President of RT Specialty’s National Casualty Practice, joined RT Specialty as part of the original founding group in 2010. Chris’ leadership has been instrumental in the development and foundation of RT Specialty and its exceptional growth. With his 30+ years of casualty insurance experience, Chris has led RT Specialty’s Casualty Practice to be one of the leading casualty teams in the industry today.

Commenting on Brenda’s promotion to CEO in addition to being President, Tim Turner, Chairman & CEO of RT Specialty and President of Ryan Specialty said, “Under Brenda’s executive guidance, RT Specialty’s Property practice has grown exponentially and has become well-known for its ability to creatively and effectively handle specialized and catastrophic property exposures.”

Discussing Chris’ leadership, Tim Turner remarked, “I have worked with Chris for many years and have admired his deep relationships throughout the industry as well as his business acumen. Chris has been instrumental to RT Specialty in cultivating acquisitions and growing our Casualty Practice. He is very deserving of this promotion.”

Brenda can be reached at or 239-206-5150.

Chris can be reached at or 818-937-4253.


About Ryan Specialty

Founded in 2010, Ryan Specialty (NYSE: RYAN) is a service provider of specialty products and solutions for insurance brokers, agents and carriers. Through our licensed subsidiaries, Ryan Specialty provides distribution, underwriting, product development, administration and risk management services by acting as a wholesale broker and a managing underwriter with delegated authority from insurance carriers. Our mission is to provide industry-leading innovative specialty insurance solutions for insurance brokers, agents and carriers. Learn more at

About RT Specialty

RT Specialty, the wholesale broking specialty of Ryan Specialty, is a leading wholesale distributor of specialty insurance products and services. Our experienced brokers are experts in property, casualty, professional lines, transportation and workers’ compensation, providing creative solutions to retail brokerage firms. We define ourselves through our superior execution on behalf of our clients. Learn more at

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