Message From the President


Three years ago, in 2020, the year began with warnings of national political strife. Social injustice issues were percolating, and word of a fast-spreading virus was taking over the news. An adage would come to define our approach to 2020, but also encapsulate our commitment to the mutual philosophy:

A pessimist complains about the wind. An optimistic expects it to change. A leader adjusts the sails.

We adjusted our sails.

We turned to our leadership team, our employees, our board of directors, our agency partners, and our policyholders. We found and implemented solutions that would protect our financial strength while keeping our policyholders whole. We listened to our employees and our agents and redefined how we transact our business. We then posted the two best years in our company’s history. Turn the calendar page to 2022. “Normal” is now a relative term. The pandemic is still wreaking havoc with supply chain issues. Inflationary pressures are taking their toll on everything from property values and jury awards to employee compensation. Mother nature was hell-bent on surprising us, yet again. And the workplace is forever changed. Celebrating 180 years last year, we have endured it all before.

We adjusted our sails.

Throughout 2022, we concentrated on the strategic initiatives that would make doing business with Harford Mutual Insurance Group easier. We updated the agency portal for faster search and navigation. We assigned an underwriter to exclusively decision RapidWrite quotes for quicker turnaround. We retrained our Customer Service Representatives to handle a wider range of incoming inquiries. We enhanced our products with expanded EnviroPak coverage, lowered Pay As You Go thresholds for workers’ compensation policies, and added Contractors Package Policies to RapidWrite to further expand an agent’s ability for streamlined self-service.

And, although the year proved more problematic as the months ticked by with increased claim severity, a tumultuous reinsurance market, and a fourth-quarter bomb cyclone catastrophe that derailed our profitability and delivered a real-life stress test of our financial strength and stability, we endured. With the unwavering partnership of our agents, our new business surpassed plan and ended the year at $46.4M, pushing DWP to exceed plan by 5.0% and ending the year at $327M.  Revenue growth of 12.9% surpassed our plan, and with their commitment and our careful yet competitive pricing, we achieved 97% premium retention.  We were once again named to the Best’s Review of Top 200 Carriers, the 12th year to appear on the Insurance Journal list of super regional P/C carriers, and the second year honored to be included on the Ward’s 50 list of top performers.

We adjusted our sails.

A successful year, however, can be measured across multiple fronts.  Working to remain competitive in a constricting labor market, we implemented changes and benefits to continue helping us position HMIG as an employer of choice. We opened an on-site fitness center, implemented a generous parental leave policy, made flexibility and hybrid options permanent benefits, and launched unlimited self-managed PTO for managers, and in 2023, for all employees. Based on our employee survey, we were named a TOP WORKPLACE in the USA with special recognition for professional development, employee appreciation, and employee well-being. We received the SILVER Healthy Workforce designation from our benefits provider, Cigna, and the RISE Elite award for our internship program.

We adjusted our sails.

In a volatile industry, profitable growth must be achieved with a multi-prong approach. It can be a by-product of a litany of smaller decisions or the result of more directed actions. In 2022, we continued merger discussions that started in 2021 with ClearPath Mutual Insurance Company located in Louisville, Kentucky. ClearPath Mutual, formerly KESA—a self-insured workers’ compensation fund, was founded in 2018 and exclusively offers monoline workers’ compensation insurance in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia, and Georgia. This merger will allow both companies to achieve our respective strategic goals of growth and expansion more rapidly through scalable resources and symbiotic expertise.  I am excited to report that earlier this year, the policyholders at ClearPath Mutual and Harford Mutual Insurance Group overwhelmingly voted to approve the merger at their special meetings held in February. The merger plans will now be reviewed by the Maryland Insurance Administration, and we should have a final decision and approval soon.

We adjusted our sails.

To weather a year like 2022, navigate a global pandemic, and remain enthusiastic about the day ahead, you need to be surrounded by a great team. We welcomed Sandra Rich as an appointed director to our board last year. Sandra brings over 30 years of expert C-Suite leadership in corporate legal, complex M&A, real estate and investment transactions, regulatory compliance, and corporate governance. Our Vice President of Claims, Wayne Gearhart, took the helm in our ClearPath merger due diligence in 2022 and is now leading the planned integration. Wayne was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Operation Officer in March 2023. And lastly, our General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Geneau Thames, Esquire, who was honored as a Leader in Law by the Maryland Bar Association and The Daily Record, was promoted to Vice President. As we embark on our planned path, achieving our strategic goals, these appointments and promotions recognizing business acumen ensure that our more complex and sophisticated business is matched by leadership that can manage the challenge.

We adjusted our sails . . . and are moving forward.

Let’s be clear, the year-end financial results for 2022 were not what we planned. Out of the gate, we knew the year would not deliver on all fronts, so we adjusted. We knew the pandemic still had a grip, so we adjusted. We knew the economy was being stressed, so we adjusted. Because that’s what a carrier of choice does. That’s what an employer of choice does. That’s what a community partner does. That’s what a leading company does.

Although we cannot control the various forces working against the entire insurance industry, we can adjust our sails and navigate HMIG back into brighter skies and calmer waters.

Steven D. Linkous
President and Chief Executive Officer