Former State Fund President Jack Webb – one of the most influential and colorful figures in the 91-year history of California’s workers’ compensation insurance system – died May 2nd. Webb had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer. A Petaluma, California resident, he was 69.
Webb joined State Fund in 1959 and rose through the ranks to the presidency of California’s largest workers’ compensation insurance carrier. He served as president from 1986 to 1995 when he retired.
A blunt, outspoken and dynamic executive, whose work ethic was once described by a peer as “high voltage,” Webb played a significant role in the passage of 1993 landmark workers’ compensation reform legislation which repealed the minimum rate law in favor of true marketplace competition for the first time in the system’s history. Webb met with business executives, labor groups and legislators across California to help build consensus and support for the legislation that ushered in a new era for the system that plays a significant role in California’s economy.
“State Fund is deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Webb and wishes to express its sympathy and support for his family and friends,” said State Fund President James C. Tudor. “Jack was a dynamic and innovative force within State Fund for 36 years. His considered approach to every issue contributed not only to the success of State Fund but also to the stability of California’s workers’ compensation insurance system. California employers, employees and the entire system benefited from his leadership and commitment to excellence that he instilled in every State Fund employee who shared his vision and work ethic.”
Webb earned the respect of peers and competitors alike as a leader and loyal friend. Admired for his brilliant mind, wit and work ethic, Tudor noted “Jack was equally comfortable talking about State Fund to a farm worker or to the Governor of California.”
Under Webb’s leadership, State Fund grew to a $7 billion, 6,500-employee organization serving 250,000 policyholders.
Webb joined the State Fund Home Office Underwriting Department in 1959. He subsequently served as a sales representative in the Fund’s Fresno District Office, as statewide group insurance coordinator, claims manager for the Oakland District Office, manager of claims/rehabilitation and the Santa Ana District Office. He was promoted to vice president and member of the Executive Committee in 1976 and was appointed executive vice president in 1980. He was named State Fund president and CEO in October 1986 and served in that role until his retirement in 1995.
Webb compiled an impressive record of leadership and service to the industry. Highlights of his distinguished service include terms as the president of the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, chair of the Governing Committee of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, member of the Senate Task Force on Medical Cost Containment, commissioner for California’s Workers’ Compensation Fraud Assessment Commission, president and chair of the American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds and a host of roles in other committees and organizations.
Following his retirement, Jack accelerated his pace of nonstop travel to exotic and distant destinations, indulging his lifelong passion for adventure and study of unique, remote peoples and their cultures. He also became a first-rate gardener and continued his voracious appetite for reading.
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