The Progressive Corp. announced that Glenn Renwick, president and chief executive officer, will retire after more than 15 years as CEO and almost 30 years with the company, effective July 1, 2016. Tricia Griffith, currently Personal Lines chief operating officer, will succeed Renwick as CEO and president and will join the board of directors.
Renwick will continue as executive chairman of the board.
Stephen Hardis, lead independent director of Progressive’s board of directors, said the transition is the result of a process initiated by Renwick several years ago. He said the leadership change comes at a “time of strength” for the company.
“Under Glenn’s leadership, Progressive has become one of the most successful, innovative and respected insurance companies,” said Hardis
Renwick joined Progressive in 1986. He was named CEO of insurance operations in 2000 and has served as the CEO of the parent company since 2001. He has served in a variety of operating roles during his tenure at Progressive, including product manager, the head of the company’s marketing organization and business technology leader.
Renwick was given the additional role of chairman following the death of previous chairman Peter Lewis in November, 2013.
Since Renwick became CEO in 2000, the company’s market capitalization has increased by approximately 155 percent to more than $19 billion and written premiums have more than tripled. Renwick, a former Bell Labs engineer, made Progressive a leader in e-commerce and telephone direct sales, online price comparisons, and consumer technologies including the usage-based Snapshot, which monitors driver’s driving habits. In 2008, Progressive received a U.S. patent for one of its methods of processing vehicle damage claims, which it calls its concierge level of claims service. Progressive holds several other patents, including three for its usage-based insurance programs and one for its online policy servicing capabilities. .
In 2015, Renwick expanded the insurer’s business and its ability to bundle personal lines products with the acquisition of home insurer ARX Holding last year. It was the first carrier to offer its auto customers pet injury coverage.
“It has been a privilege to lead this extraordinary organization – surrounded by the smartest, most entrepreneurial, and innovative people in the insurance industry,” said Renwick.
Progressive has had a combined distribution model, selling both directly y phone and online as well as through independent agents, a strategy that has not sit well with all independent agents over the years. It has supported its channels with aggressive advertising that rivals that of exclusive agent auto insurers such as GEICO, State Farm, Allstate and Nationwide.
Over the years, some independent agents have questioned Progressive’s commitment to the independent agency distribution channel even as the company was among the largest sellers of auto insurance through agents. In 2004, the company launched a new branding effort expressly for independent agents and brokers: Drive Insurance from Progressive. But the company dropped the separate Drive brand name in 2007 and gathered all sales under the Progressive name in 2007.
Renwick’s successor, Griffith, joined Progressive as a claims representative in 1988 and has served as Personal Lines chief operating officer, responsible for the company’s personal lines, claims and customer relationship management groups, since April 2015. She held several managerial positions in the claims division before being named chief human resources officer in 2002. In 2008, she returned to claims as the group president, overseeing all claims functions. Before her current position, she served as president of Customer Operations, overseeing claims and the customer management group, which comprises the company’s contact center group (sales and delivery), as well as the customer experience, systems experience and workforce management groups.
Progressive provides insurance for personal and commercial autos and trucks, motorcycles, boats, recreational vehicles, and homes. Home insurance is underwritten by select carriers, including American Strategic Insurance Corp. and subsidiaries (ASI), our majority owned subsidiaries. Progressive is the fourth largest auto insurer in the country.
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