An announcement from Zurich Financial Services Group notes that Martin D. Feinstein (56) will retire effective March 31, 2005, as CEO of Farmers Group Inc. (FGI). He will also step down from his position on Zurich’s Group Executive Committee, “after 34 years of dedicated service to the Farmers Organization and the Zurich Group.”
Zurich has selected Paul N. Hopkins (48), currently president of FGI, to take over for Feinstein in both positions.
Zurich CEO James J. Schiro commented: “Marty is leaving an impressive performance record, and we admire the sense of passion that he brought to our business. I asked Marty to stay on to consult me personally on a variety of issues and to continue to serve as Chairman of Farmers until mid year. He also agreed to serve as Chairman of the New Zurich Advice Network, now called Openwork, in the UK, which is scheduled to become operational in the first half of 2005.”
Feinstein began his career at Farmers as a claims trainee going on to eventually lead it as the Chairman and CEO. He added: “It has been an extraordinary journey and I leave knowing that Farmers is well positioned for the future. I feel privileged to have worked with an incredible team of men and women at both Farmers and Zurich that have accomplished so much. The time is right and I look forward to new opportunities and adventures that await me.”
Schiro also indicated that he is “excited to work with Paul Hopkins as he takes on his new assignment. Given his record and experience, he is well prepared to deal with his new and challenging responsibilities. I am confident that his background will serve him well to drive the Farmers business to further profitable growth.”
Hopkins joined the Farmers organization in 1978 as an agent and has since held management positions of increasing responsibility in his 26 years with Farmers. For much of his career he has worked closely with Feinstein.
The bulletin noted: “Starting in 1996, he was assigned to the area of marketing. In this function, he contributed decisively to the growth of the exclusive Farmers distribution system, and for the last couple of years he achieved consistent profitable double-digit growth in the Life insurance business. He also led the expansion of Farmers into 12 additional States and he strengthened the independent agency channel, which today generates in excess of USD 1 billion in premiums. Paul Hopkins was an important member of the team that shaped Zurich’s growth strategies announced in April 2004. He was promoted to President of Farmers Group, Inc., effective July 1, 2004, which is his current position.”