State Auto Financial Corp’s board of directors has extended the contract of President and CEO Mike LaRocco for an extra 12 months, citing the need for “stability and continuity” in the face of COVID-19.

LaRocco’s contract now runs through the end of 2022, instead of the end of 2021.

“We appreciate Mike’s willingness to extend his leadership of State Auto,” State Auto Mutual Chairman Jim Kunk said in prepared remarks. “Given the considerable amount of uncertainty regarding the global impact of COVID-19, stability and continuity in leadership will be particularly important.”

State Auto lost $114.6 million in the 2020 first quarter and its combined ratio climbed above 107, with investment and catastrophe losses largely to blame. The company’s Q2 2020 earnings conference call is scheduled for Aug. 6.

This the second contract extension for LaRocco, but much shorter than the first, four-year extension from November 2017 until Dec. 31, 2021. At the time, State Auto’s board of directors credited him with helping the super-regional carrier address rising expenses, shrinking profits and declining businesses. LaRocco joined State Auto in May 2015.

State Auto Financial Corp Lead Director Michael Fiorile noted in prepared remarks that LaRocco has “led the transformation of the company” since his arrival. An extended contract helps ensure that the company continues progress it has made so far, he added.

LaRocco came to State Auto after serving as president and chief operating officer at Safeco Insurance Companies, and was previously president and CEO of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. Before that, he served in management and executive roles at both GEICO and Progressive.

Source: State Auto