Fall 2013 In Magazine Preview

IN Magazine

Coming soon in the Fall edition of IN magazine...

Taking the Train to Seattle is a Tradition
by Lindsay Robison

TrainPutting more than 1,100 of any industry’s best and brightest in one place fosters great networking opportunities and long-lasting friendships. So the NAMIC Annual Convention is always a good place to talk about the current state of the property/casualty insurance industry – especially mutual insurance - and what lies ahead.

But as much as it is about the current and the future states of the industry, convention always has an air of nostalgia as old friends meet again and the outgoing NAMIC chairman reflects on his or her year as chair.

Perhaps this year is even a little more heavy on the nostalgia. The 118th Annual Convention marks the fourth time NAMIC members have convened in Seattle. And as coincidence would have it, the last time NAMIC hosted the convention in the Emerald City – in 1994 – the association was, as it is this year, saying goodbye to a chairman from Minnesota. And like Lee Bondhus, the chairman that year, current chairman Jerry Zenke, general manager of Mound Prairie Mutual Insurance Company, is arriving by train.

Get aboard the Empire Builder with Jerry and other NAMIC members in the fall issue of IN magazine, coming to your mailbox in September – and learn more about the 118th Annual Convention.

Balancing the ‘Mutual Culture’ with Today’s Instant Communication
by Kathleen Walden

The pride of the mutual insurance industry is the fact that people are at the heart of the business. The forces that drive mutual insurers are not shareholders or stock prices, but the policyholders themselves. The people-centric nature of mutual insurance, the “mutual culture,” means that the personal touch has long been paramount in this industry, with individual agents and companies working closely with customers to meet their insurance needs.

Until recently, this concept was easy enough to implement in everyday business practice. A customer could visit a mutual insurance agent as often as he or she wanted and claims could be solved quickly in person, through the mail, or via a phone call. As with most businesses in the first half of the twentieth century, mutual insurance agencies were almost always local companies, and their policyholders rarely lived more than an hour’s drive away.

Today, of course, the dynamics of personal communication in general have changed, and the industry has followed right along. Many mutual insurance companies have expanded nationally, and face-to-face contact with customers is now the exception rather than the norm.

How do NAMIC member companies mix new ways of doing business without losing what it means to be mutual? Find out in the fall issue of IN magazine, coming in September.

Meet Chairman-Elect John Bishop
by Lindsay Robison

John Bishop, the recently retired president and CEO of the Motorists Insurance Group who will take over as NAMIC’s next chairman during the 118th Annual Convention, says his new boat’s name has a story behind it. “Mutual Delight,” he says, will be just that for him and his wife, Shirley, when they spend time at their second home in Marco Island, Florida.

But its name might also have a hint of how he feels about the industry that made these purchases possible. He did, after all, spend his whole adult life in mutual insurance; and even though technically retired, he’s going to remain active - at least for a little while longer – in the industry he always been proud of.

From his first day on the job all the way through to his time as CEO, the education Bishop gained and the people who helped him expand upon it gave Bishop the ambition to be a champion for insurance education. That, he says, is part of what keeps the industry healthy, along with telling the stories of the good work the industry does in efforts to combat the negative reputation insurance has been handed.

To learn everything you wanted to know about NAMIC’s incoming chairman, be sure to read the fall issue of IN magazine, arriving on your desk in September.

Plus: Members of Congress Q&A on TRIA Reauthorization, Truly Mutual, Not All PACs are Created Equal, Online Exclusives, and more.