GuideOne Insurance is bringing on a longtime executive from State Auto Financial Corp. as its next leader.
Jessica Clark will officially become chief executive officer of the Iowa-based insurer on June 12. She’ll be succeeding Jim Wallace, who plans to retire by the end of 2017 after 16 years in the position.
Her last day at State Auto as senior vice president, director of Commercial and Specialty Lines is May 26, State Auto said in a news release.
GuideOne Insurance, launched in 1947, provides commercial property and liability, workers compensation, commercial auto, and other insurance to clients including churches, educational institutions, senior living care centers and nonprofits.
Clark has been with State Auto, an Ohio-based super regional property/casualty insurer, since 2009. While there, she also has been chief operating officer and chief financial officer of State Auto’s specialty subsidiary and senior vice president of specialty.
Clark also has some startup experience. Before State Auto, she was part of a three-person team that raised capital to launch Rockhill Holdings, a property/casualty business that State Auto acquired in 2009. As well, she served as the chief financial officer for Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
In a statement, Clark noted that “our industry is changing rapidly, and I am eager to guide [GuideOne] into its next phase of growth and innovation.”
Lead GuideOne Director Lynn Horak, who chaired the insurer’s CEO search, said that Clark brings a number of vital skills to the job.
“Not only does she have an accomplished career with strong financial and insurance experience, she is also an innovative thinker who has the ability to see the possibilities and set a vision for the future,” Horak said in prepared remarks.
State Auto issued a brief release noting Clark’s pending departure, effective May 26. In it, State Auto Chairman, President and CEO Mike LaRocco noted Clark’s skills and accomplishments.
Clark “led the development of a strong team within commercial lines and specialty that will continue to drive us toward profitable growth,” LaRocco said.
In January, A.M. Best revised its ratings outlook for GuideOne to negative from stable, a response, in part, to GuideOne’s continued exposure to weather and natural catastrophe losses, which negatively impacted results in 2016 and other recent years.
A.M. Best also noted risks associated with GuideOne’s expansion efforts and its personal lines book run-off as additional factors behind its decision. Another element: volatile earnings over the last five years that turned negative in 2016, leading to a 9 percent surplus drop for year-end 2016.
At the same time, A.M. Best affirmed GuideOne’s financial strength rating of “A” (Excellent) and the long-term issuer credit rating of “a.”
Sources: GuideOne, State Auto Financial Corp.