Our Senior Management Team Delivers Exceptional Service

  • Patti Kernaghan
    President & CEO
  • Patti Kernaghan FCIP, CRM, FIFAA, FCIAA

    President & CEO

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    Patti Kernaghan, a well-known and respected professional in the Canadian insurance property and casualty industry, is the chief executive officer of Kernaghan Adjusters. Patti is recognized in her industry as a distinguished and exceptional leader, and as a perceptive entrepreneur.

    The Insurance Institute of Canada granted Patti their Award of Merit in 2002. Her peers in the industry named her the Insurance Person of the Year for BC in 2006.  In 2018 the CIAA granted her the distinction of Fellow of the Canadian Independent Adjusters Association (FCIAA).  These industry recognitions have helped set Kernaghan Adjusters apart as a firm with strong leadership at the helm.

    Patti studied International Relations at UBC and soon afterwards embarked upon a career in banking.   After ten years of various management positions at the Bank of Montreal, she joined her father, Stan Kernaghan, and began her insurance claims career. Patti started as a junior adjuster and ultimately held several management positions before being named President and CEO in 1993. Since then she has focused her attention on the vision and direction of the firm’s position within the adjusting services market.

    Contributing to the professionalism of the industry comes naturally to Patti.  She has served as President of several associations: Canadian Independent Adjusters Association, International Federation of Adjusting Associations, The Insurance Institute of BC, and the Canadian Professionals of Vancouver.  She was also a founding member of several boards: Chair for the National Insurance Industry Advisory Board to the CIAA, the BCIT Advisory Board for Insurance and Risk Management, and the Steering Committee for WICC (Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade BC).  She served as the Western Chair for the Insurance Institute of Canada, and was a member of the Insurance and Risk Management Advisory Board for the University of Calgary.  She has also served on the Academic Council for IIC, the Education Committee for IIC, and on the Advisory Board of the Kinsmen Rehabilitation Foundation of BC. Patti is a Fellow Charter Insurance Professional under seal of Insurance Institutes of Canada and holds a Canadian Risk Management Diploma.

    Patti has a strong record of developing and maintaining critical business relationships.  She is an effective leader who upholds the interests of her staff at the forefront of everything that is done at Kernaghan Adjusters.  Her collaborative work style helps set Kernaghan Adjusters apart in the independent adjusting market in Canada.

    Past President:

    • IFAA
    • CIAA
    • IIBC
    • CIPV

    Past Chairperson:

    • NIIAB to CIAA
    • Western Chair IIC

    Board Memberships:

    • U of C Advisory
    • BCIT Advisory
    • WICC BC
    • Academic Council IIC
    • Education Committee IIC
    • Kinsman Rehabilitation Foundation BC


    • FCIP
    • CRM
    • FIFAA
    • FCIAA


    • Award of Merit IIC 2002
    • Insurance Person of the Year BC 2006
    • Fellow CIAA 2018
  • Scott Hughes
    Director of Finance
  • Scott Hughes BA, CPA, CMA

    Director of Finance

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    Scott Hughes has over 25 years of financial experience. He has worked in a variety of roles that include, CFO and Controller for a chemical manufacturing firm in Calgary, and Controller for an engineering firm in Vancouver. His experience includes managing accounting and financial departments, IT departments and overseeing HR program administration and implementing accounting systems in both large and mid-sized firms. He has worked in Canada and Australia.

    Scott believes that a strong, cohesive team is the key to a successful accounting department. He embraces change and is open to learning new practices. Education and continuous learning are important to Scott. He has a Certified Management Accountant designation and a BA majoring in Economics.

    Scott joined Kernaghan Adjusters in August 2018 as Director of Finance. His collaborative and open approach has made him an essential member of Kernaghan Adjusters Head Office and Senior Management Team.


    • Financial Reports
    • Budgets and Forecasts
    • System Implementation
    • Payroll Services
    • Process Improvement
  • Owen Watson
    Vice President BC Operations
  • Owen Watson BSc, CIP, CERT CII (London Market)

    Vice President BC Operations

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    Owen began his career in the insurance industry in 2005 as a claims examiner, handling a variety of claims from minor property damage losses to multi-million-dollar fires. In 2012, Owen moved to London, England where he gained invaluable Lloyd’s experience at QBE where he worked alongside International Property, Casualty and Marine and Energy departments to manage a global portfolio of third party administrators and coverholders.

    Owen joined Kernaghan Adjusters Head Office in 2017 fulfilling our need for a London Services Manager. Owen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill university, a CIP designation and an Award in London Market Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute (London, UK). He is responsible for growing, developing and managing London market business both nationally and internationally.


    • Technical Claims Specialist
    • London Market Insurance
    • Vendor Management
    • Quality Assurance Audits
    • Lloyd’s Reporting Standards
  • Russ Fitzgerald
    VP Alberta Operations
  • Russ Fitzgerald CIP, CLA, FIFAA

    VP Alberta Operations

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    Russ’ insurance industry experience began in 1994. In 2001 he entered the independent adjusting field, where he worked for three major independent adjusting firms in Edmonton. Russ is currently an industry-recognized specialist in claims for commercial transportation, equipment (industrial, logging and oilfield), cargo losses (marine and inland), downtime, and auto property claims. He also holds certification in the diverse fields of Respirator Training, H2S Alive, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems) and Fall Protection.

    Kernaghan Adjusters was very pleased to have Russ accept the role of Edmonton Branch Manager in August 2008. In 2012 Russ was promoted to the position of Alberta Regional Manager and in 2016 Vice President Alberta Operations. Russ is responsible for all claims handled by our Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie branches. In addition, he is a member of KA National Senior Management Team and Lead Transportation Adjuster. Russ is known for his tireless volunteer work, being a past member of the National CIAA Executive board. An ability to develop strong business relationships, as it combines with an affable personality and attention to claim detail, makes Russ an excellent mentor, and effective manager.


    • Transportation/Cargo:
      • Motor Truck Cargo
      • Environmental Clean-up
      • Physical Damage
      • Damage Inspections
      • Environmental Liability
      • Marine
      • Catastrophe Team Management
  • Michelle Short
    Calgary Branch Manager
  • Michelle Short CIP

    Calgary Branch Manager

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    Michelle began her career with an insurance brokerage in 2000, joining the claims adjustment side of the industry in 2001. Initially serving as a telephone adjuster for property damage claims, she moved on to Section B accident benefits handling, and eventually took up a position as an Examiner and Manager of a telephone unit of ten automobile adjusters. Michelle has extensive CAT claims experience and has applied that expertise to address the 2009 and 2010 hail and flood events in Central Alberta, 2013 Calgary and High River floods and 2016 Fort McMurray Fires. Her expertise includes: bodily injury, Section B, transportation/cargo and liability claims, Michelle also has an excellent professional knowledge of property, personal, farm and commercial claims.

    Michelle joined Kernaghan Adjusters’ Calgary Branch in May 2011. In her capacity as a member of our Senior Management Team, and as Manager of our large and thriving Calgary Branch, Michelle provides the kind of true leadership we value at Kernaghan Adjusters. She has earned her Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation, is a Haag Certified Inspector, and has extensive Xactimate training.


    • Sewer Backup
    • Condo Loss Assessment
    • Building
    • Third Party Property Damage
    • Accident Benefits
    • Bodily Injury
    • Catastrophe
    • Haag certified
  • Grant Rerie
    MB Regional Manager
  • Grant Rerie CRM

    MB Regional Manager

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    Grant began his insurance career in 1980, becoming an IA in 1986 handling multi-line claims. He attended the University of Winnipeg for Risk Management, Building Construction at Red River Community College, and completed numerous intensive educational programs related to building damage estimating. These qualifications allow Grant to effectively assess building losses for residential and commercial claims and assist in the critical analysis of scopes. Grant has also worked extensively with heavy equipment and trucks, making him an expert in the areas of commercial transportation, equipment and cargo losses.

    Grant joined our Winnipeg Team in 1997 and became Manitoba Regional Manager in 2009. Since then he has grown to become a key member of our Senior Management Team, and Transportation Team. He is heavily involved in the industry, acting as Secretary Treasurer for the Winnipeg Chapter of the Canadian Association of Fire Investigators (CAFI), current Chair of the Adjusters Council, and sitting on the Insurance Council of Manitoba (ICM). Grant continues to provide inspiration to all adjusters in his region, leading the way with his enduring and professional dedication to mentorship and commitment to education.


    • Pre/Post-delivery Inspections
    • Load Securement
    • Heavy Equipment Losses
    • Arson & Fire Investigation
    • Boiler & Machinery
    • Property Scoping/Estimation
    • Dwelling – Total Loss
    • Home Warranty
  • Dennis Schembri
    VP Ontario Operations
  • Dennis Schembri CIP, CFEI

    VP Ontario Operations

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    Dennis is a well-known and highly respected insurance professional. Since 1980, he has gained valuable experience working for both insurers and independent adjusting firms. Dennis founded Vanler Insurance Adjusters Ltd in 1993, and soon expanded the firm’s operations to include over 60 full-time employees in locations across Ontario. As a senior property/casualty adjuster, Dennis handled large losses for many of the leading Toronto-based insurers. His expertise includes a wide range from personal and commercial property, premises and products liability, to dog bites and host liquor liability claims.

    Dennis is known for his community and industry involvement. He was a past executive of the OIAA and has assisted on various committees with the CIAA. He is presently a volunteer at The Grace Salvation Army Hospital in their Palliative Care Unit, the Fellows Starlight Gala Ball, a board member for the Peel Children’s Centre and has assisted in raising millions of dollars for various charities.

    Dennis joined Kernaghan Adjusters in 2016 as Vice President Ontario Operations. He has an exemplary career, a well-respected position in the community and is an integral member of our National Senior Management Team.


    • Large Property
    • Personal Liability
    • Condo Property Loss
    • Structural Collapse
    • Host Liquor Liability
    • Sports Injury
    • School Boards
    • Contractors Equiptment
  • Phil Harris
    NS Regional Manager
  • Phil Harris FCIP, BA

    NS Regional Manager

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    Phil began his insurance career over 40 years ago in Nova Scotia, as an independent adjuster with a respected Sydney firm. In 1978 he moved to the insurer side to become a general adjuster and was eventually promoted to Claims Supervisor. Phil soon gained recognition as a highly skilled technician, serving in that capacity until November 2007. He has proven expertise in casualty claims, as well as in areas ranging from major industrial losses to criminal investigations.

    Phil joined Kernaghan Adjusters in 2008 as Nova Scotia Regional Manager and became an important member of KA’s Senior Management Team. He has been a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Professionals of Canada (FCIP) since 1993 and has acted as an instructor for numerous Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) courses. Phil is a recognized professional and an industry veteran whose ability to serve as an experienced mentor provides a great benefit to everyone on his team.

    • Condo Losses
    • Arson & Fire Investigation
    • Sewer Back up
    • Windstorm & Hail
    • Auto Liability
    • Bodily Injury
    • Environmental Liability
    • Major Loss Adjuster