Gordon Stewart will retire December 31, 2006 from the Insurance Information Institute after 15 years as president of the organization.
Dr. Robert P. Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist of the I.I.I., was elected executive vice president by the organization’s board of directors and will become president on January 1, 2007.
Stewart joined the I.I.I. in July 1989 after a career in politics, business, theater, music and teaching. From 1982 to 1989, he was vice president for public affairs at the American Stock Exchange. Before joining the Exchange, Stewart served in the White House as deputy chief speechwriter to President Carter. Earlier, he was chief speechwriter and executive assistant for programs and policies to New York City Mayor John Lindsay.
Stewart was the director of the original production of the play, “Elephant Man,” and has both directed and conducted productions at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Lincoln Center and the Edinburgh Festival, among others. Stewart also taught English and Drama at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
Stewart has focused the I.I.I.’s work on improving public understanding of insurance, primarily through the global media, and increasingly through the organization’s commanding position on the Internet and its strengthened research and analytic capabilities. The I.I.I. now handles an average of 14 stories per working day and covers all aspects of insurance in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and new electronic media.
When Stewart took over the role of president, the organization was struggling to survive. In 1991, the insurance industry’s overall approval ratings were barely above 30 percent. The I.I.I.’s 2006 Insurance Pulse shows 55 percent of consumers now have a favorable attitude toward auto and home insurance companies; the sixth consecutive year in which the industry’s favorability has been at 55 percent or higher.
Today, the I.I.I. is recognized as the primary source of credible information and referral for the media, government and the public on insurance subjects from basic consumer help to complex research. Its membership represents companies from all insurance sectors, including life, and its board probably has the highest level and most diverse representation of any industry organization.
Stewart also led the creation of new industry-wide efforts such as the Hurricane Insurance Information Center in Florida following Hurricane Andrew, a precedent followed after Northridge, 9/11, Katrina and other major disasters. In 1997 he founded the Property/Casualty Joint Industry Forum, which has become the foremost annual insurance industry event with 13 industry association co-sponsors, drawing CEOs and senior executives as well as key national and trade media.
Hartwig came to the I.I.I. in 1998 as a vice president and economist. In 1999 he was promoted to chief economist, and in 2002 he was made senior vice president and chief economist.
Hartwig previously served as director of economic research and senior economist with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in Boca Raton, Florida, where he performed rate of return and cost of capital modeling and testified at workers’ compensation rate hearings in many states. He has also worked as senior economist for the Swiss Reinsurance Group in New York and as senior statistician for the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Risk and Insurance Association, the National Association of Business Economics and the CPCU Society and serves on the board of directors of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association of New York. In 2005 and 2006, Hartwig served on the state of Florida’s Task Force for Long-Term Homeowners Insurance Solutions.
The I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the property/casualty insurance industry.
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