Jewelers Mutual Board OKs Plan to Transition to Mutual Holding Company

July 12, 2019

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company’s board of directors has approved the insurer’s plan to become a mutual holding company, a process the company hopes to complete by Jan. 1, 2020.

The plan was filed with the with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) earlier this year. It is subject to OCI review and approval, as well as approval of existing policyholders of Jewelers Mutual.

Jewelers Mutual said the move will allow the company to modernize its corporate structure while retaining its long-term focus and dedication to its policyholders is coming to fruition.

“When jewelers founded Jewelers Mutual over a century ago, they had the foresight to establish a company designed to hold the jewelry industry’s needs as its top priority and focus,” Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO said in the company’s announcement. “Today, the needs of our industry are changing, so we must continue to evolve to ensure we can best serve the ongoing needs of our policyholders.”

About the plan, the company said:

  • A mutual holding company allows a previous mutual insurer to transition into a stock insurance company, wholly owned by the new mutual holding company, while maintaining critical policyholder rights. This change allows Jewelers Mutual to preserve its core mutuality and membership control while operating under a more flexible structure that better enables it to operate its core business and pursue further opportunities.
  • The mutual holding company transition would not affect any of the company’s current coverages, premium rates, loss prevention, or claims-handling processes. Policyholders will see no change to how their policies are handled. Policyholders become a part of the new mutual holding company with essentially the identical membership rights they have today, including the right to vote for board members at the company’s annual meeting of members.
  • Murphy noted the change would also allow Jewelers Mutual to extend membership rights, as defined by law, to policyholders of certain current and future subsidiaries of Jewelers Mutual who would not otherwise have these membership rights, all to promote and enhance the longstanding mutual company tradition of Jewelers Mutual.
  • The mutual holding company would be legally domiciled in Wisconsin, joining Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and its other subsidiaries.
  • The board of directors and officers of the mutual holding company will remain the same. Jewelers Mutual board members, officers and other employees will not receive additional compensation, or any stock or other benefits, because of this change.
Innovation in Support of – and Beyond – Insurance

Jewelers Mutual is dedicated to its policyholders and the jewelry industry and, as a result, has developed offerings beyond its traditional insurance products. By creating a mutual holding company, Jewelers Mutual will enhance its ability to innovate and bring new value to its customers – and the jewelry industry – with new ventures.

In recent years, Jewelers Mutual has already taken steps to expand its product offerings, including its JM Shipping Solution and JM Care Plan solutions. The proposed structural change will better enable both existing services and new opportunities within the mutual holding company.

Next steps toward approval of the plan:

  • Under Wisconsin law, the process to become a mutual holding company is subject to a public administrative hearing and prior approval from the insurance commissioner’s office. After these steps, the company will seek approval from eligible policyholders who will vote by proxy that is mailed or emailed to them with an information booklet that thoroughly explains the conversion plan. Policyholders can also vote in person at a special policyholder meeting.
  • Through informational materials Jewelers Mutual is distributing to them, policyholders will soon be made aware of a public hearing at the OCI on Aug. 15, and a special policyholder meeting to be held Sept. 12, at company headquarters, where those present will be able to vote; those unable to vote in person will be encouraged to vote by proxy. The company hopes to complete the process by Jan. 1, 2020.

Source: Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group

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