Safeco President Describes Industry Turmoil at Sacramento I Day

By | October 26, 2000

“There is turmoil in our industry right now,” Boh Dickey, president of Safeco Corp., told the approximately 700 attendees of Sacramento “I” Day last week.

Dickey gave the keynote address at the event, which was hosted by the Insurance Agents & Brokers of Sacramento.

“Management changes are at the highest level in the 33 years since I’ve been in the business,” he continued. “There are a lot of CEO searches going on, which many of you know is an issue close to my heart right now.”

Dickey was doubtless referring to the recent retirement announcement of Roger Eigsti, chairman and CEO of SAFECO Corp., as well as the sudden resignation of Randy Stoddard, president of Safeco Property & Casualty companies – prompting Safeco to retain an executive search firm to assist in finding a replacement.

In the meantime, Dickey is assuming Stoddard’s responsibilities as president of SAFECO’s largest business unit, in addition to his existing responsibilities.

“It’s a tough time, one of the toughest I’ve seen…but as we struggle through it, we will be better for it,” Dickey said.

Dickey described what he called the “three strikes,” or myths proclaimed by industry pundits that have been proved wrong. “1) Independent agents will go the way of the milkman; 2) Internet companies will take over the market; 3) Banks will buy up everyone”; and then he added a fourth: “4) You have to do one thing only [specialize in a niche market] to succeed.” All these, he said, are inaccurate perceptions.

One thing will remain the same in the turbulent industry, Dickey said, and that is “Safeco’s commitment to the independent agency system. We’ve hitched our cart to independent agents and that won’t change.”

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