Harford Mutual Insurance Group Named a 2021 Ward’s 50 ® Top Performer
Harford Mutual Insurance Group has been named to the Ward’s 50 ® list of top-performing property-casualty insurance companies for 2021. The company was recognized for outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency, and performance over a consecutive five-year period.
“This is an incredible achievement, recognizing our outstanding financial results over the most recent five-year period, highlighted by 2019 and 2020 representing the best years in our storied 178-year history,” said Steven Linkous, President and CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group. “The culmination of our results and joining this most elite group are products of an amazing team, wonderful agency partners, and a steadfast Board of Directors executing a strategic vision grounded upon the principles of mutuality.”
Every year, Ward Group, a consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry and a leading provider of industry benchmarking, analyzes the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurers and identifies the top 50 in the United States.
Each company named has passed all safety and consistency tests and achieved superior performance over the five years analyzed. The Ward’s 50 top performers were able to grow revenue, stay profitable, and strengthen surplus position at a greater rate than the total industry.
For further details and a complete list of the 2021 Ward’s 50® companies, visit Ward's 50 Property-Casualty Companies (aon.com).
Stacey A. Rebbert Reappointed to Harford County Commission for Women
AVP of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Stacey A. Rebbert, has been reappointed to the Harford County Commission for Women (District B). She was reappointed by County Executive Barry Glassman and confirmed by the county council for a three-year term.
The Harford County Commission for Woman was created in 1977 and individual commission appointments reflect legislative districts in Harford County. The commission supports local programs that benefit women and is made up of 15 dedicated volunteers passionate about promoting the economic, social, and political equality of women.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Wins Novarica Impact Award
Harford Mutual Insurance Group is proud to announce it has won an Impact Award from the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council, the largest peer-juried awards in insurance technology.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group was named the midsize property/casualty winner in the Core Initiatives category for creating a new policy administration system and building an agency quoting portal. The project was executed in just 17 months and increased production of agency-rated business by 100%.
“Modernizing our agency-facing portal along with our new policy admin system has simplified the process for agents to do business with Harford Mutual, increasing agent satisfaction and business throughput,” says Steven Linkous, President & CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group. “We are humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award as recognition for all of our work over the last two years.”
The project was a cross-departmental effort led by Harford Mutual’s IT and Underwriting departments. Team members replaced the company’s 25-year-old legacy policy system and increased straight-through processing for business owners, commercial auto, umbrella, and workers’ comp. The project generally increased customer experience and gave agents the ability to quote, bind, and issue in real-time.
The Novarica Impact Award recognizes insurance CIOs and their teams for implementing technology that has a positive business impact. More than 60 CIO council members reviewed more than 60 case studies in three divisions.
Harford Mutual’s case study was published in Novarica’s 10th Annual Impact Case Study Compendium.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Maintains A.M. Best A (Excellent) Rating
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announced that A.M. Best has affirmed its current Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of “A” (Excellent) with a Stable outlook and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) “a” (Excellent) with a Stable outlook.
“While we always strive to improve in every financial, operational, strategic, and risk management category, an affirmed A, Stable rating highlights the company’s excellent capitalization, strength, and results,” said Steven D. Linkous, President & CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group.
The A.M. Best Rating Committee also moved Harford Mutual’s Balance Sheet Strength Descriptor to the highest level of “Strongest” from “Very Strong.” This is an acknowledgement of a sharp increase in Policyholders’ Surplus from increased underwriting income and unrealized capital gains and favorable Underwriting and reserve leverage ratios compared to commercial casualty composite averages over the last five years.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Wins NAMIC Overall Award in Innovation
Harford Mutual Insurance Group has been named the winner of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) 2021 Overall Award in Innovation.
NAMIC created the Award in Innovation in 2014 to recognize mutual insurers that exemplify the vision and entrepreneurialism it takes to stay relevant in changing times. Harford Mutual received the overall award for its innovative Pipeline and Perpetuation initiative. The goal of the initiative is two-fold: attracting new talent to the insurance industry and developing current employee leadership skills to promote company growth and ensure leadership perpetuation.
“We are extremely honored and thrilled to be presented with NAMIC’s 2021 Award in Innovation,” said Steven D. Linkous, president and CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group.
With the retirement of thousands of insurance industry professionals looming and a widening talent gap forming, Harford Mutual launched the Pipeline and Perpetuation initiative in 2013. As part of the cross-departmental plan, the company started an internship program, enhanced employee benefits, created a training program for new team members, formed a company leadership group, and developed a career pathing project. As a result, nine members from its leadership group have been promoted and 29 interns have been employed to date, 13 of which have converted to full-time employees.
“Our Pipeline and Perpetuation initiative is critical to our short- and long-term success and strategies. More importantly, it affirms our commitment to our team by ensuring opportunity for all as an important element of a vibrant, engaged, and empowered organization,” Linkous said.
Award in Innovation criteria included impact in perpetuating mutuality, creativity of idea, project results, potential for the idea to be adapted and used by other NAMIC members, and alignment with the NAMIC Management Conference focus areas: strategy, innovation, leadership, industry trends, and the economy.
“Now, more than ever, finding creative ways to attract young professionals while also developing future leaders is vital to ensuring the successful longevity of our industry,” said Chuck Chamness, president and CEO of NAMIC. “The innovative strategy meticulously executed by Harford Mutual to build its employee and leadership base serves as an excellent example of what keeps the mutual insurance industry moving forward.”
To watch the award video, click here.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Honors Employees with Service Awards
Harford Mutual Insurance Group recently recognized 21 employees celebrating milestone anniversaries and 285 combined years of service. Team members were honored for their years of hard work and dedication at the company’s annual Service Awards Breakfast.
Gail Bianco, IT Product Owner, topped the list of honorees, receiving an award for 35 years of service at the company.
Employees honored for 25 years of service included Jennifer Berger and Debbie Brown. Award recipients for 20 years of service included Cheryl Amberman, Tracey Clark, Randy Sprouse, Donna Stein, and Jeneen Taylor.
Karen Kinney and Jerod Kuhlman were honored for 15 years of service. Laura Kurrle, Jennilee Sobczak, and Bryan Yekstat received awards for 10 years of service.
Five-year award recipients included Michael Bender, DJ Gargano, Greg Colelli, Daniel Gillen, Tony Orbino, Lauren Paige, Tyler Ray, and Sandra Taylor.
The annual Service Awards Breakfast was held at Rockfield Manor in Bel Air, Md. It was the first in-person company event since the pandemic began.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group's Marketing Team Receives Two Awards of Excellence from the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association
The Insurance Marketing & Communications Association (IMCA) Showcase Awards recognize innovative work in insurance marketing and communications. This year, Harford Mutual Insurance Group received two Awards of Excellence for marketing projects completed in 2020. The animation of the company’s new logo reveal, created entirely by Marketing Communications Specialist Sandi Taylor with a voice over by IT Senior Developer John Rinker, and the 2019 Annual Report, created by the marketing team, each earned an Award of Excellence in its respective category.
The logo reveal animation detailed how the new brand icon was developed and the meaning behind the design, which illustrates Harford Mutual’s commitment to the guiding principles of mutuality as the company continues to grow and look to a promising future.
The 2019 annual statement presented financial results, cultural highlights, employee achievements, and community outreach efforts for the year. The piece emphasized the stability and collaborative focus of Harford Mutual to all stakeholders, including policyholders, agents, employees, and community partners.
IMCA is the oldest insurance marketing trade association in North America and represents over 120 regional and specialty companies, general agencies, industry suppliers, and prominent multi-line insurance companies and brokerage firms, as well as the top five property and casualty writers in the U.S.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Announces Re-Election of Two Board Members
Harford Mutual Insurance Group’s Board of Directors approved the re-elections of Vernon A. Reid Jr. and Spencer M. Roman at the annual policyholder meeting held in May 2021. Both were re-elected for three-year terms.
Reid has been a board member since 2019, and currently sits on the Board’s Audit and Investment Committees. He is a retired investment professional, serving as Vice President at T. Rowe Price and as a principal partner of V.A. Reid & Associates, a fixed income asset management firm. Reid attended the United States Naval Academy, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Towson University, and an MBA from Indiana University.
Roman has been a board member since 2012, and currently sits on the Board’s Audit Committee and serves as Chair of the Compensation Committee. He is the former senior vice president at Harleysville Insurance. Roman is a Drexel University graduate, an Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society, and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Announces Retirement of Longtime Board Member Clarence C. Boyle Jr.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announced that Clarence C. Boyle Jr. has retired from the company’s Board of Directors.
Boyle has served on Harford Mutual’s board for more than 21 years. He took over the seat held by his father, Clarence C. Boyle Sr., in March 2000 and retired from his service on May 19, 2021, at the Annual Meeting of the Policyholders.
During his tenure, Boyle has been a devoted board member, serving as chair of the Governance, Nominating, and President Search Committees.
“Over the past 21 years, Chuck has been a tremendous asset and supporter of Harford Mutual and our mission and strategies,” said President & CEO Steven D. Linkous. “We have valued Chuck’s contributions, guidance, and counsel for more than two decades, and it is hard to contemplate not having him on the Board,” said Linkous.
Boyle, a Harford County native, has served on several boards and community organizations over the years. He spent nearly 50 years in the automotive business before retiring from family-owned and operated Boyle Buick GMC in 2018. He remains Chairman of the Board. Boyle Buick GMC has received numerous awards over the years, including most recently being named the Top Buick Dealership in Maryland in 2020.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Names Two New Officers
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announced that its Board of Directors has approved the promotions of two employees to officer level as Assistant Vice Presidents.
Stacey A. Rebbert has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Communications. A marketing professional for 35 years, Rebbert joined Harford Mutual in 2013 as Marketing Manager and was promoted to Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications in 2018. Rebbert developed the strategies behind the company’s brand management, created the company’s crisis communication plan, and leads her team in the execution of all digital marketing, advertising, employee engagement, public relations, community relations, and corporate communications.
Rebbert holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Towson University and a master’s degree in contemporary communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She has completed the Harford Leadership Academy and the Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women. Rebbert served as a board member of the Insurance Marketing Communication Association and currently serves on the board of the Rockfield Manor Foundation. She is also a mentor for Towson University’s Outstanding Young Women Leaders Program.
Patrick J. Gagen, SPHR/SHRM-SCP, has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Human Resources. Gagen joined Harford Mutual in 2015 as Director of Human Resources. He’s been at the center of several strategic initiatives, including new talent acquisition, leadership perpetuation planning, and employee retention. As Assistant Vice President, Gagen will continue to oversee benefits administration, compensation management, training and professional development programs, and the implementation of internal policies and procedures.
Gagen has over 18 years of human resources operations experience. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s in human resource development from Towson University. Gagen 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, SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designations.
Stacey A. Rebbert Graduates from Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women
Towson University announced that Stacey A. Rebbert, Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications at Harford Mutual Insurance Group, graduated from the Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women, a professional development program dedicated to increasing the capacity for leadership and influence for women leaders in Greater Baltimore. Towson University honored the entire 2021 class at a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. This was the sixth cohort of the leadership program.
Forty-five participants completed the leadership development program, a three-month learning and coaching program focused on improving leadership skills in women. The 2021 class reflects a cross-section of sectors and is diverse in profession, ethnicity, and age.
“It is my passion to facilitate the experience of women leaders in Baltimore in this unique leadership program as they strengthen their own leadership voices,” said Kathleen Case, program facilitator and senior consultant, Cindy Zook Associates. “Each participant has gained new perspectives, skills, and relationships that will serve them and their organizations for years to come.”
Rebbert joined Harford Mutual Insurance Group in October of 2013. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Towson University and a master’s degree in contemporary communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University.
The Towson University Professional Leadership Program attracts women from across industry, government, and non-profit sectors serving in a wide array of capacities within their organizations. Towson University's program is open to early- and mid-career women who are committed to increasing their capacity for leadership and influence within their organizations and communities. For more information about the Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women, please visit www.towson.edu/womensleadership or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women
The Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women is designed for women who are committed to increasing their capacity for leadership and influence. Designed by business, community, and educational leaders, the program provides hands-on practical learning and coaching in a supportive environment. The four-month program culminates in enhanced skills, added self-confidence, and the capacity to immediately impact their organizations and communities in powerful and positive ways. The first cohort of the Towson University Professional Leadership Program for Women graduated in 2015, and our alumni network continues to grow to include a diverse group of over one hundred and fifty women leaders from Greater Baltimore representing the corporate, government, military, education, and non-profit sectors. To learn more, please visit www.towson.edu/womensleadership or email email@example.com.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Announces Industry & Educational Achievements
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announces industry and educational achievements reached in 2020.
Harford Mutual’s Internship Program has quickly grown over the last eight years and is now one of the best in the insurance industry. The company was recently named a 2020 Winner for the Rising Insurance Star Executives (RISE) Elite 50 Internships, an annual program recognizing the top 50 insurance internship programs in the U.S.
Submissions were anonymous and judged in 10 categories, including full-time employment opportunity, meaningful work assignments, diversity & inclusion and culture, training and mentoring, and program structure.
“In looking at our industry, it is vital to have an intern program in place. It provides a potential talent pipeline for a recruiting perspective while providing valuable insight to the students so they can apply real-life situations to what they are learning in the classroom,” said Patrick Gagen, Director of Human Resources.
Since 2013, more than 40 young professionals have interned in multiple departments at Harford Mutual, including Information Technology, Underwriting, Actuarial, Accounting, and Marketing. Harford Mutual’s Internship Program runs each year from June through early August. A total of 14 interns have become full-time employees.
Additionally, in 2020, eight Harford Mutual employees received industry designations from The Institutes, the continuing education provider of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU). As the leading provider of coursework for the insurance industry, certification from The Institutes is the most recognized identifier of subject knowledge mastery for the insurance community.
Director of Underwriting Operations Jennifer Berger, Senior Claims Examiner DJ Gargano, and Commercial Underwriter Jennilee Sobczak earned their Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designations.
Claims Examiners Brett DeMille and Matthew Stansburge earned their Associate in Claims (AC) designations. Loss Control Representative Meredith Johnson earned her Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation. Commercial Underwriter Brittany Stein earned her Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) designation. Marketing Communications Specialist Sandra Taylor earned her Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation.
Accounting Manager Brigette Reed also passed the CPA exam and was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in February 2020 by the state of Maryland.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Announces Changes to Leadership Team
Harford Mutual Insurance Group, projected to surpass $277 million in direct written premium in its 179th year, announces changes to its leadership team.
Senior Vice President Jeffrey Rink has been promoted to Executive Vice President with the added oversight of Administrative Operations, Customer Service, and the Special Investigative Unit. Joining Harford Mutual in 2009, Rink has transformed its Business Development team and oversaw the successful expansion and new office in their Southern Region. In recent years, Rink’s leadership was essential in the creation of distinct Foundation, Middle-Market, and Large Business Units and the development and implementation of the new online rating system RapidWrite and Agent Portal. As Executive Vice President, he will continue to foster innovation in strategic planning and support the company’s vision and growth plans. Rink has over 30 years insurance experience with national carriers including Travelers and Great American Insurance. He holds the CPCU designation and a bachelor’s degree from McDaniel College.
Assistant Vice President of Underwriting David Curtin and Assistant Vice President of Claims Wayne Gearhart have been promoted to Vice President. Curtin joined Harford Mutual in February 2019 and has been instrumental in realigning the company’s Foundation Unit, analyzing profitability by segment, and preparing Harford Mutual for the responsible introduction of predictive analytics. Curtin has more than 30 years of experience with both mutual and stock insurance carriers. Originally from Sauk City, Wisconsin, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration/Economics from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater and a Master of Business Administration from Northern Illinois University. Curtin holds the CPCU, CIC, CRM, AIM, and AINS designations.
Gearhart joined the company in September 2019 from Westfield Insurance, bringing over 25 years of claims perspective to his role. While at Westfield, Gearhart led the $1.9 billion dollar company through an operational and claims technology transformation, one of his key strategic goals at Harford Mutual. Gearhart serves as a mentor for the Harford Mutual Leadership program and is an advisor to the company’s Innovation Chamber. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from The Ohio State University and received his CPCU designation in 1999.
Harford Mutual AVP, General Counsel & Secretary Geneau M. Thames, Esq. Elected to Membership in the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announces Assistant Vice President, General Counsel, & Secretary Geneau M. Thames, Esq. has been elected to join the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC).
The FDCC is an international, professional trade association composed of leaders in the legal community who have achieved professional distinction in the civil defense, corporate legal, and insurance industries. FDCC membership is limited and selective. A peer must nominate a new member. An independent admissions committee then reviews each nominee’s qualifications before being elected by the board of directors.
Thames joined Harford Mutual Insurance Group in May of 2015. As Assistant Vice President, General Counsel, & Secretary, Thames directs all legal matters relating to the company’s objectives and provides advice and legal counsel to the Board of Directors, the CEO, and management. In 2019, she was appointed to the Maryland State Ethics Commission by Governor Larry Hogan. Thames was also named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by The Daily Record in 2020. Thames earned dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics from Towson University and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore.
The FDCC was formed in 1936 and is dedicated to advancing the principles of knowledge, justice, and fellowship. There are currently about 1400 members across the globe.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group makes Multi-Year Commitment to NAMIC Mutual Insurance Foundation Scholarship Program
Harford Mutual Insurance Group announced a multi-year, $25,000 commitment to support the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) Mutual Insurance Foundation Scholarship Program. The program provides financial assistance to undergraduate students pursuing a wide variety of career opportunities related to the growing insurance industry. Beginning in 2020, Harford Mutual pledged to donate $5,000 per year for five years.
The NAMIC Mutual Insurance Foundation Scholarship Program was developed in 2012 and is funded through personal and corporate contributions. Individual scholarships of up to $5,000 will be awarded to qualified students, with the funds forwarded directly to the school at which the student attends in the fall of 2021. Applications are now being accepted.
The scholarship program is also generating internships across several different areas in the world of property/casualty insurance, including at Harford Mutual. “This is dramatically increasing the number of internship applicants we’re seeing at Harford Mutual, and we have been placing six to seven interns each year in divisions across the company,” said Steven D. Linkous, president and CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group and a NAMIC Mutual Insurance Foundation Board Member. “Internships were once targeted to underwriting and claims; now we are seeing interns in IT, actuarial, accounting, and marketing,” said Linkous.
In 2020, the NAMIC Mutual Insurance Foundation Scholarship Program awarded more than $130,000 to 33 deserving students, helping to propel their future careers as insurance industry professionals. NAMIC is the largest U.S. property/casualty insurance trade association with more than 1,400 member companies serving more than 170 million policyholders.
Harford Mutual Insurance Group Donates Over $500,000 to Charitable Organizations in 2020, Including $250,000 in COVID-19 Support
Harford Mutual Insurance Group President & CEO Appointed to Baltimore Equitable Insurance Board of Directors
Steven D. Linkous, President & CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group, has been appointed to the board of directors for Baltimore Equitable Insurance, the oldest company in Baltimore as well as the second oldest insurance company in the United States. Linkous was appointed on November 3, 2020. He will serve on the Finance & Operations and Audit Committees. He will serve a two-year term and will be eligible for reappointment in 2023.