Stuart Henderson, president and CEO of Western National Insurance Group in Edina, Minn., assumed the chairmanship of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) at its annual meeting of members today with a message about why he thinks insurers structured as mutuals are successful.
Speaking to more than more than 1,400 insurance representatives, Henderson asked, then answered, “why mutuality?”
“More than anything else, we are a service business, and a people business. … [T]he insurance business is a vital part of the economy. But it’s also not just about the money. As I tell my employees when explaining our business, ‘We put lives back together,'” he told the audience. “In my mind, that is what makes the mutual form of organization so preferable – we focus on people. Mutuality has succeeded as an insurance structure in the U.S. since Ben Franklin in the 1750s, and with good reason.”
Henderson was handed the chairman’s gavel by the 2013-2014 chairman, John Bishop, at NAMIC’s 119th Annual Convention in National Harbor, Maryland.
Henderson is a recipient of the Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers Association’s “Insurance Executive of the Year” award in 2004. His efforts led to WNIG being named a “Top Workplace” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2013-2014, and one of the 100 Best Places to Work by Minnesota Business Magazine in 2013. He was also a recipient of the Minnesota Business Ethics Award in 2012.
His company has been a Ward’s 50 top U.S. property/casualty insurer based on financial strength in nine of the past 10 years.
Each year, the new NAMIC chairman begins his or her term with a perspective on the upcoming year for the NAMIC membership. Henderson urged members to “Join the Team. Get Involved.”
“I encourage all of you to join the team, and not just by paying membership dues, but to join by getting involved … Your companies will benefit from it, but even more, as anyone who has been involved will say, you personally will benefit,” he said.
Bishop recently retired as president and chief executive officer of The Motorists Insurance Group in Columbus, Ohio, which he joined in 1972, though he continues to serve as the company’s chairman. A recipient of the NAMIC Service Award in 2004, he is a past chairman of association’s political action committee and is a current member of the organization’s Merit Society.
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