Retired Oregon Mutual President Osborne Dies

January 18, 2008

Oregon Mutual Insurance noted the death Wed. Jan. 16 of its retired President/CEO and Chairman of the Board James (Jim) Osborne.

Osborne, 79, joined OMI in 1952 as an underwriting trainee. In 1957 he opened the Fresno branch office, which was a full-service office at that time. He returned to McMinnville in 1961 to serve as Oregon marketing manager. In 1971, he was elected to vice president and marketing manager, and in 1974, executive vice president. Osborne was named president/CEO in 1976 and served in that capacity until becoming chairman of the board and CEO in 1982.

In 1989, Osborne retired from the company as president/CEO. When he retired from the board of directors in 1999, he had given more than 47 years of outstanding, dedicated service to a company he loved.

When Osborne joined OMI in 1952, written premiums were $5.5 million with a surplus of $1.1 million. Just prior to his retirement in 1998, premiums written totaled $107 million and surplus had grown to $49.7 million.

Osborne was fiercely committed to the independent agency system and his rapport with the company’s agents was legendary. Often at large company gatherings of agents, he could individually introduce each and every one, and usually had a story to tell about them. He was recognized for his contributions to their associations with many awards.

The industry leader leaves a legacy not only to OMI but to the entire insurance industry. His commitment for the company and its staff members to become involved in community and industry organizations was an integral part of his co-workers’ development.

Many times Osborne expressed his frustration about how “insurance was the least understood industry in the U.S.” His legacy to the insurance industry was the creation of the Insurance Education Foundation in 1998. The foundation’s programs teach educators and students how insurance works to make their lives better and more secure. The organization annually recognizes a national teacher of the year with the James L. Osborne Insurance Educator of the Year Award. In addition, Osborne served as national chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies in 1986-87 and as a member of the board of governors of the National Association of Independent Insurers from 1985-1988.

Source: Oregon Mutual Insurance

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