CURRENT NEWS

2015

December 2015
Harford Mutual Insurance Company’s Robert Ohler Retires after 25 Years of Service
Harford Mutual Insurance is honored to announce the formal retirement of Executive Vice President Robert Ohler after 25 years of service to the company effective December 31, 2015. 

“When Bob turns his office light out for the last time on his 9,237th day with Harford Mutual, he can look back with all of us on not only his well-deserved retirement, but also his leadership and steady application of talent, wisdom, vision, and collegiality the company and so many others have benefited from during his tenure. His success within Claims, Underwriting/Commercial Business Services, and as a member of Senior Management has been exemplary, and we will miss him greatly,” said Harford Mutual President and CEO, Steve Linkous.

Ohler began his career at Harford Mutual in 1990 with the Claims department before transferring to Underwriting in 2003. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2015. Under his leadership, Harford Mutual refined its underwriting practices helping to achieve a direct written premium growth of $50 million in the last four years and a 170 percent, $122 million increase in policyholders’ surplus since 2004. Ohler holds a bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Baltimore.

A respected member of the community, Ohler will be continuing his service as a Board Member of The Helping Up Mission in Baltimore City. Ohler was instrumental in pioneering Harford Mutual’s Annual Bocce Tournament for their benefit. The highly anticipated event held in early fall has become a fixture in the company’s numerous internal charitable giving activities.

December 2015
Harford Mutual Employees Achieve Top Designations from The Institutes
Harford Mutual Insurance Company is pleased to announce that five of its employees have received industry designations from The Institutes, the continuing educational provider of American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU), acknowledging their professional and continuing educational achievements. 

Senior Claims Examiners Alison Barry and Laura Kurrle, and Commercial Underwriters Michael Borzatti, Jack Griffin and Laura Hoffses have been awarded the prestigious Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. Coursework for the rigorous program includes an in-depth study of the role risk management, business law, finance, accounting, and financial planning play in the insurance industry. Upon completion of the required coursework, students must submit and receive approval from the association before sitting for eight individual exams.

“These individuals have dedicated considerable time and study to the betterment of their profession and our firm. We’re delighted to announce and celebrate this professional milestone,” said Harford Mutual President and CEO, Steve Linkous. 

Known as The Institutes, the independent, nonprofit organization offers courses to the property-casualty insurance industry to help licensed professionals reach personnel development and professional educational standards. As the leading provider of course work for the insurance industry, certification from The Institutes is the most recognized identifier of subject knowledge mastery for the insurance community. 

October 2015
Harford Mutual Insurance Company Welcomes James J. Kennedy to Board
The Board of Directors of Harford Mutual, along with President and CEO, Steven D. Linkous, announce that James J. Kennedy, upon his retirement as President and CEO of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group, will join the board as a new director effective January 1, 2016.

Kennedy is an experienced property-casualty insurance executive with over 40 years of proven leadership and success. During Kennedy’s 13-year tenure at Ohio Mutual, the company saw premium revenue increase by 78 percent, a near tripling of their surplus, and the expansion of assets by 140 percent. Prior to Ohio Mutual, Kennedy also served as President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of GRE Insurance Group/Liberty Mutual and as Executive Vice President and COO of Shelby Insurance Group.

“Jim’s more than 40 years of leadership experience with both large and small, mutual and stock companies will add a valuable perspective to our Board of Directors,” said Steve Linkous, President and CEO. “We appreciate his willingness to serve as a director and look forward to benefitting from his judgment and counsel.”

Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University. He has completed insurance specific programs from Oberlin College, School of Insurance; the Insurance Institute of America, Program in Insurance; the Certified Insurance Counselor training (CIC); the Stanford University Executive Program for Smaller Companies; and the Life Underwriter Training Council Financial (LUTCF) designation from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters from Tiffin University and delivered the commencement speech in May 2015. He served on the board of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) for eight years, most recently as Board Chair in 2012. Kennedy was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation in 2015 and currently serves on their Leadership Council. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU Institute) and earned his own CPCU in 1980. He was recognized as the Ohio Industry Person of the Year in 2006 and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010. 

October 2015
Harford Mutual Employees Achieve Top Industry Designations
Harford Mutual Insurance Company is pleased to announce that five of its employees have received industry designations from The Institutes, the continuing educational provider of American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU), acknowledging their professional and continuing educational achievements.

Part of Harford Mutual’s Underwriting team, Martin Kyper earned his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Jennie Lee Haines earned her Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) designation. Kay Sheldon, Joshua Swimmer, and Alison Barry from Harford Mutual’s Claim’s team earned Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI), Associate in Claims (AIC), and Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designations respectively.

“We’re delighted to announce and celebrate these professional milestones of our team members. Each of these individuals has given considerable time and study to the betterment of their profession and our firm,” said Harford Mutual President Steve Linkous.

Known as The Institutes, the independent, nonprofit organization offers courses to the property-casualty insurance industry to help licensed professionals reach personnel development and professional educational standards. As the leading provider of course work for the insurance industry, certification from The Institutes is the most recognized identifier of subject knowledge mastery for the insurance community.

August 2015
Harford Mutual Grows Presence at Harford County Headquarters and in North Carolina
Harford Mutual Insurance, Bel Air, Maryland is pleased to announce three new additions to our team. Brian Bogle will be joining Cindy Presnell in North Carolina as a Production Underwriter, while Brigette Reed and Trish Gottesman have been added to Harford Mutual’s accounting and marketing departments respectively. The new hires mark a continuation of the firm’s long-term strategy for steady growth and support initiatives for existing clients.

A former member of The Hartford Financial Services Company, Bogle brings more than a decade of small commercial sales experience in central and western North Carolina. While at Hartford, Bogle was responsible for oversight of four Small Commercial Sales representatives and more than $30 million in Total Written Premium. A graduate of Elon University, Bogle’s experience also includes eight years as a Legislative Staff Member and Communications Director for a United States Senator and two Members of the United States House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. As part of Harford Mutual’s growing presence in North Carolina, Bogle will be responsible for new business development efforts and continued support of existing clients throughout North Carolina.

“We’re excited about expanding our team in North Carolina as we concentrate on developing our expertise in the middle market segment there,” says Jeff Rink, Vice President Marketing and Business Development. “As a state native, Brian brings his hometown perspective coupled with his large carrier and legislative experience to create the perfect blend for building new profitable relationships.”

Brigette Reed and Trish Gottesman will be located at Harford Mutual’s headquarters office at 200 N. Main Street in Bel Air, Maryland. As part of the firm’s accounting department, Reed will be working closely with the internal treasury department to support daily operations throughout the firm. A University of Maryland University College graduate, Reed was previously with Madison Bank of Maryland. Gottesman, also a University of Maryland University College graduate, joins Harford Mutual’s growing marketing department as a Marketing Communications Specialist after eight years with MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, LLC.

July 2015
Harford Mutual Announces New Hires and Promotions
Harford Mutual continues to develop and evolve our workforce to support us as we grow our portfolio with direct written premium and middle market expertise. Guided by our vision of always being “Committed to Mutual Success,” we are excited to announce the following promotions and new hires to the Harford Mutual team.

Karl Hancock joins us in the newly created position of Director of Property Claims & Account Management. Karl will become an integral part of our claims department as we build our middle market book of business and focus on remaining a fair and agile claims partner.

Jenni Berger has been promoted to Director of Underwriting with primary oversight of our northern states. Jenni began her career at Harford Mutual in 1996 as a Personal Lines Assistant and has served as an Underwriting Supervisor since 2004. Jenni has her AU and CIC designations and a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

Joining Jenni in leadership of our Commercial Business Services will be Scott Shannon, Director of Underwriting, with primary oversight of our southern states. Scott has a long career in the insurance industry, beginning with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in 1994 followed by positions at Zurich North America and Travelers where he most recently served as Director, Business Systems Analysis. Scott has an MBA from Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Donna Stein has been promoted to Underwriting Supervisor after 14 years with Harford Mutual and her most recent promotion to Senior Commercial Underwriter in 2010. Donna was proactive in her career and her education earning her CISR, AU, and CIC designations.

Alison Barry was promoted to Sr. Claims Examiner and is pursuing her CPCU designation. Sharon Rodgers was promoted to Business Analyst in the Information Technology department.

Three former interns have been hired back as full-time employees of Harford Mutual. Tia Timpson, our new Treasury & Accounting Assistant, was an Edgewood High School Academy of Finance intern with us her junior and senior years. After graduating, Tia earned her BS in Business Administration from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro while maintaining her Dean’s list ranking. Kelly Dougherty and Alexander Troutman have joined Harford Mutual as Underwriters after interning here last summer. Both Alex & Kelly graduated from Temple University in Risk Management and Insurance.

June 2015
Harford Mutual Hires Patrick Gagen as Director of Human Resources 
Harford Mutual is excited to announce the addition of Patrick Gagen as our Director of Human Resources. Patrick previously worked for ZeniMax and AAI Corporations. He is a graduate of Towson University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and his Master of Science in Human Resource Development. Patrick is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA). He has also achieved his Lean Green Belt Certification and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. 

June 2015
Harford Mutual Maintains AM Best A (Excellent) Rating
Harford Mutual's A (Excellent) Rating from AM Best was affirmed again for 2015. Maintaining an A (Excellent) rating within a challenging economic and insurance marketplace and investment climate is a positive accomplishment and critical to our agency partners and policyholders. The ratings are based on the consolidated results of Harford Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiary, Firstline National Insurance Company, and apply to both companies by virtue of their intercompany reinsurance pooling arrangement. The ratings reflect the group's excellent risk-adjusted capitalization, conservative underwriting leverage relative to its peers, strong liquidity, and generally strong long-term underwriting and operating performance.

May 2015
Harford Mutual Hires Geneau M. Thames as General Counsel and Director of Compliance
Geneau M Thames, Esq., joined Harford Mutual in the newly formed position of General Counsel and Director of Compliance. Geneau previously worked for Niles, Barton, & Wilmer, LLP, where she was the Hiring, Associate Training and Retention Partner. She also clerked for the Honorable Thomas J.S. Waxter, Jr., for the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City.  Geneau has been working with Harford Mutual for several years on various litigation cases and compliance matters.

Geneau is a graduate of Towson University, with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, achieving her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from the University of Baltimore in 2003.  She is an admitted bar member of Maryland and District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. District Court for both.  She maintains an extensive association membership with the American Bar Association-Tort and Insurance Practice Sections, Maryland State Bar Association, Alliance of Black Women Lawyers in Maryland, Maryland Defense Counsel and Co-Chair, Professional Liability Committee, Professional Liability Underwriting Society, DRI - Women in the Law Committee, and the Professional Liability Defense Federation.

April 2015
Harford Mutual Hires Karen Mashinski as CFO 
Karen Mashinski, CPA, CPCU, joined Harford Mutual as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. As a key member of the Senior Executive Management team, Mashinski will report directly to the President and CEO and assume a strategic role in the overall management of the company with day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing, and controlling all financial-related activities of the company. 

Mashinski joins Harford Mutual after 19 years with Millers Mutual Group (Harrisburg, PA) where she served as Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Corporate Secretary and Chief Risk Officer. Prior experience included working for Ernst & Young as a Senior Auditor and PHICO Insurance Company as an Internal Auditor.

Mashinski earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University, and the CPA and CPCU designation. She was the PAMIC Finance Committee Chair in 2008 and 2010, and has continued to serve as a board member for Members First Federal Credit Union since 2011.

April 2015
Bill Langston Named New Virginia Production Underwriter
Harford Mutual welcomes Bill Langston as our new Virginia Production Underwriter. Bill has 24 years of experience in Commercial Lines Underwriting and Property & Casualty Marketing /Sales with several major carriers including Zurich, Allied, CNA, and Seneca. Bill’s duties for Virginia include agency and territory management, prospecting and appointment of new agents, and maintaining a high level of customer service.

February 2015
Harford Mutual Promotes Three Executives
Harford Mutual is proud to announce the promotion of three executives on its leadership team. Robert Ohler has been promoted to Executive Vice President. Bob’s dedicated 24-year tenure with the company has been exemplary in leading Claims from 1990 to 2003 and with his leadership of Commercial Business Services for the past 12 years. In the past 10 years, Bob and his team have played a major role in the company’s success, leading to a 10-year combined ratio of 95.8, direct written premium growth of $50 million in four years, and a 170%, $122 million increase in our policyholders’ surplus since 2004.

Harford Mutual is also proud to announce the promotion of Jeffrey Rink to Vice President–Marketing & Business Development and John Goodin to Vice President–Underwriting. Jeff and John celebrated their 5th anniversaries with Harford Mutual last year and have been instrumental in transforming their divisions as the company experienced its most aggressive growth in its history. They are committed to establishing Harford Mutual as the carrier of choice for our independent agency partners. 

January 2015
Steve Linkous on CEO Panel at 2015 Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum
Steve Linkous, President/CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Company, will participate in the CEO Panel at the 2015 Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum hosted by the Insurance Information Institute on January 13 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, NY.

Along with other distinguished CEOs, Linkous will discuss and give perspective on topics covering industry financial performance, the investment environment, reinsurance, technology, and the political/regulatory and legislative environment. Panelists include Paula Downey, President & CEO, CSAA Insurance Group, an AAA Insurer; Thomas A. Lawson, President & CEO, FM Global; Christopher J. Swift, CEO, The Hartford Financial Services Group; Jaime Tamayo, President & CEO, MAPFRE USA; and Henry Klecan, Jr., President & CEO, SCOR U.S. Corporation. Bradley L. Kading, President & Executive Director, Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers will serve as the moderator.

Linkous was named President/CEO of Harford Mutual in 2006 having directed the accounting, finance, and information technology divisions within Harford Mutual during his more than 30 years with the company.

Linkous currently serves as the 2014-15 Vice Chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) board of directors and is the Immediate Past Chairman and a Trustee on the NAMIC Political Action Committee (PAC).  He recently completed service on the Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (PAMIC) as director and Chairman.