By Anthony Dickson
The retirement of Rodger Lawson, executive vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and former president of the Alliance of American Insurers (AAI), marks a milestone in the history of the U.S. property casualty insurance industry.
Lawson’s career with the Alliance spanned 23 years—the last 13 as its president and chief executive officer. As a member of the Alliance board of directors for many years and its chairman during 2002-2003, I witnessed firsthand his many contributions to issues of importance to our industry. These included the shaping and strong advocacy of industry positions in the healthcare reform debates of the early 1990s, the development of risk-based capital standards, continuing efforts at tort reform at the national and state levels, and federal initiatives such as the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and Gramm-Leach-Bailey.
Lawson took over the leadership of the Alliance at a critical juncture in 1992 and made the tough decisions that led the organization though an unprecedented period of growth and success in the 1990s.
Throughout his tenure, he led a diverse group of member companies to consensus by thorough preparation, intellectual challenge, mediation and good humor. His approach fostered a “family” culture of mutual respect and cooperation in which insurers of all sorts and sizes felt comfortable in making their voices heard and received exceptional personalized service.
He also nurtured a family culture among the association’s employees and hired and developed some of the industry’s outstanding talent. Despite the sometimes grueling schedule and never-ending travel required to meet the demands of the job, Lawson considered his own family first and included his wonderful wife Susan as a partner in his career and a valued addition to the Alliance family.
Unselfishly, he also supported the vision of a merged Alliance of American Insurers and National Association of Independent Insurers into the new and more powerful trade association that shares the member-driven values of its ancestors. Over the past year, he has worked diligently to facilitate a smooth organizational transition while continuing to work hard for progress on important industry agenda issues in the states and Washington.
Anthony Dickson is president and CEO of NJM Insurance Group.
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