Bruce Kelley, EMC Insurance’s longtime president and CEO, and a great-grandson of its founder, plans to retire in March 2020.
“I have been honored to lead the company that was founded by my great grandfather, John Alexander Gunn,” Kelley said in prepared remarks. “The original focus of the company was selling workman’s compensation insurance to employers in Iowa. And I am proud of how we have expanded the company to offering commercial lines property and casualty insurance products in more than 40 states.”
The insurer said that its ongoing succession plan has helped it choose a successor from within the organization: Scott Jean, executive vice president – Finance & Strategy at EMC, or Employers Mutual Casualty Company.
According to EMC’s transition process, Kelley will resign as president and treasurer of EMC Insurance Companies on Jan. 3, 2020, now that he has announced a retirement date. At that time, Jean will be named president and treasurer of EMC, reporting directly to the EMCC board of directors. On March 11, 2020, Kelley will retire as CEO, and Jean will become president, treasurer and CEO for EMC Insurance Companies.
EMC said its board of directors conducted a thorough succession planning process to select Kelley’s replacement. It noted Jean’s “wide experience” in the insurance industry in areas including finance and strategy.
Kelley and His Legacy
EMC credits Kelley with using a leadership style that helped it focus on “valuing people and relationships as one of its most important assets.”
Kelley is a 35-year EMC veteran in a career that began as the company’s first in-house general counsel. He has subsequently served in roles including executive vice president, president and chief operating officer starting in 1991, and CEO beginning in 1992 when his father, Robb Kelley, retired.
EMC noted that under Kelley’s leadership, premiums climbed from $505 million to $1.9 billion between 1991 and 2018, surplus increased from $278 million to $1.7 billion and assets rose from $1 billion to $4 billion.
Kelley also spurred EMC to pursue acquisitions that brought it into new territories and expanded its scope. Though in 2018, EMC unloaded its personal lines business to Liberty Mutual’s Safeco Insurance, allowing it to focus on commercial, reinsurance and life insurance business going forward. EMC is among the top 60 property/casualty insurers of its kind based on net written premium, the company said, adding that the Iowa-based insurer employs more than 2,400 people.
Kelley is also past chairman of the Insurance Information Institute, chairman of the American Association of Insurance Services, and a member of the board of directors of the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association and the Property and Liability Resource Bureau, among many other industry efforts.
The Incoming EMC Leader
Jean joined EMC as an actuary in 1991. The insurer promoted him to vice president and chief actuary in 2009 and executive vice president in 2015. In 2018, Jean became executive vice president – Finance & Strategy overseeing Accounting, Actuary, Corporate Risk Management, EMC Reinsurance, Information Technology, Investments, Corporate Strategy and Innovation.