You’ve worked in the mutual side of the business and the stock side; you’ve worked in an agency and for large companies. What was that like coming to the smaller-mutual-company side of the industry?
"It brought back all the different experiences I've encountered - marketing, underwriting, actuarial, product development, agency management. In a larger company, you have certain resources right there at your fingertips. If you want to go the predictive modeling route, you have actuaries to assist you in house. In a smaller mutual, you have to get out there and figure out for yourself where to get those resources. You have to pay attention to every single aspect of the business. I personally find it invigorating."
Do you notice a difference between the stock and mutual sides of the insurance industry?
"Fostering strong business relationships is so important as a mutual. Agents do business with people they have relationships with. Key associates recognize the assets of your company and will work with you in terms of your strategies. We need to be better insurance experts in our markets of choice. My hope, for the mutual side, is to find even more efficient ways to do business that will keep up competitive."
You've been in some high-ranking positions before, managing large regional offices, but what was it like to transition to CEO, a position you had not held before?
"It was my aspiration and I was ready to step into a new role. From 2012 until I joined Frederick Mutual, I had received a few inquiries in the super regional and national spaces. They were good opportunities, but I wanted to do something different. This was something different, but it aligned with my industry experiences."
"I preferred the approach the board of directors took during the hiring process. We met multiple times over the course of several months in different group settings. Those were some very detailed and candid meetings. I got to know the board and they got to know me. You don't always get the luxury of understanding the new company dynamics prior to joining."
Are there any particular aspects that enticed you to lead a smaller mutual company?
"I am a huge fan of questioning everything and finding the root cause of problems in order to find sustainable solutions. Follow up and follow through are part of my daily routine. In a small company, there is no one sitting behind you to do it for you. You own it. You influence results daily."
What is next for your company?
"I want to be on the forefront of helping mutual companies flourish. My belief is our customers desire a relationship with their insurance companies. During the economic downturn, significant disruption occurred for policyholders, agents, and companies. Mutual companies filled some of those gaps. In order to compete, we need to be the most efficient and effective in what we offer. A lot is on tap for Frederick Mutual; we are a 174 year-old start-up company."