Steve Linkous Named one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs
President and CEO Steve Linkous has been named as one The Daily Record's Most Admired CEOs for 2020. This is Linkous’ first time receiving the honor.
“This year’s Most Admired CEOs are known for their integrity, values, drive and commitment to excellence,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, group publisher of The Daily Record. “They are trendsetters, good listeners and agents of change who want to empower those who work for them, those they work with on community boards and those they mentor."
Linkous became only the 10th President of Harford Mutual in 2006. Under his leadership, direct written premium has increased 107%, policyholders’ surplus has grown 209%, and significant underwriting profit has been achieved in 11 out of his 14 years.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Linkous took swift action to ensure the security of employees, policyholders, and the community. Under his direction, Harford Mutual Insurance doubled its annual charitable community support to more than $500,000, reaffirming its scheduled 2020 give of more than $250,000 to their non-profit partners while committing an additional $250,000 to be directed to COVID-19 related relief agencies and organizations with an identified need.
Linkous also acted to protect Harford Mutual’s employees. Prior to the statewide mandate, Harford Mutual enacted telecommuting, deploying its 170 employees remotely and remaining fully operational without any job loss. Innovative options were given to employees whose PTO would accrue beyond rollover limits as a result of canceled travel. Employees faced with financial hardship could elect to cash out unused PTO at 50% of the accrued value. Others who had a decreased need for time off, but no increased financial need, were able to donate 100% of their PTO value to charitable organizations of their choosing. This amounted to more than $12,000 in giving on behalf of employees.
Linkous sits on the board of trustees for Harford Community College. He was appointed to the nine-member board by Governor Hogan in 2019. Linkous is also on the boards of the Boys Scouts of America Baltimore Area Council, Maryland Joint Insurance Association & DC Property Insurance Facility, the NAMIC Mutual Insurance Foundation, the George Washington University Executive Leadership Advisory Board, and the Harford County Public Library Foundation. He is a former board member and chair of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) and formerly served as Director and Officer of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna. Linkous is actively fundraising for St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support those suffering from childhood cancer and will shave his head for the cause in 2021.
Prior honors awarded to Linkous for his dedication to enduring service and commitment to the community include The Greater Bel Air Community Foundation Thomas P Broumel Memorial Award, the State of Maryland Governor’s Volunteer Service Award, the Boy Scouts of America Good Scout Award, and the Bel Air Rotary Paul Harris award.
Board Members Kennedy and Fry Honored
Congratulations to Board Member Jim Kennedy for being recognized as a Champion of Industry Service by NAMIC. In the last 50 years, NAMIC has recognized 208 members for their accomplishments benefiting the insurance industry.
Kennedy joined the Harford Mutual board in 2016 and is a member of the investment, audit, compensation, governance, and executive committees. Kennedy has more than 43 years of industry experience, including 13 years as President and CEO of Ohio Mutual Insurance Group.
Kennedy currently serves as a consultant with Taft Business Consulting and has been involved with numerous civic and professional organizations, including the Ohio Insurance Institute, the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, the Bucyrus Salvation Army, Tifflin University Business School, and the United Way of Bucyrus.
Don Fry was named as one of Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs for 2020 as president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. Fry will now be inducted into the Circle of Leadership having won the award for the third and final time. Fry joined the Harford Mutual board in 2005 and serves on the audit, compensation, governance, and executive committees.
Harford Mutual 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. The Harford Mutual 2018 Annual Statement and the Product Guide were judged on target audience, objectives, and results. Each earned an Award of Excellence in its respective category. The pieces were among 160 entries received by the IMCA.
The annual statement presented financial results and cultural highlights for the year. A supplemental insert featured employee achievements and community outreach in 2018. The piece emphasized the stability and collaborative focus of Harford Mutual to all stakeholders, including policyholders, agents, employees, and community partners.
The product guide detailed underwriting criteria, eligible lines of business, additional coverage options, and commonly written classes of business while highlighting RapidWrite, an online quoting system, allowing for quicker quoting and turnaround on referrals in four business hours or less.
Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Jeff Rink congratulated the Harford Mutual marketing team, saying “The 2018 Annual Statement and our most recent Product Guide are just two examples of the tremendous effort this team puts forth on a consistent basis. I strongly believe we have one of the top Marketing and Communications teams in the business.”
The IMCA 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 Recognized as a 2020 Top Performer by DecisionWise
The DecisionWise Employee Experience Top Performer Award recognizes organizations for exceptional results in creating a stellar employee experience. Top performing companies have overall employee scores that rank in the 90th percentile or better.
Harford Mutual started working with DecisionWise in 2019 to establish employee engagement metrics the company could use to create strategic initiatives that aligned with the company’s purpose, vision, mission, culture, and values.
DecisionWise is the global leader in employee feedback With corporate offices in the United States, and dedicated affiliate partners throughout the world. DecisionWise operates in over 70 countries and conducts employee surveys and assessments in over 30 languages.
Harford Mutual employees donate $12,764 to charitable organizations
Ten Harford Mutual Insurance employees donated their accrued personal paid time off (PTO) to various charitable organizations, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Maryland Food Bank, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Living Legacy Foundation, Phoenix Wildlife Center, Fallston Presbyterian Church, Dundalk Presbyterian Church, The Emma Clare Foundation, and United Way of Central Maryland. The donations totaled $12,764.
The option to donate unused PTO was extended to employees in 2020, as many individuals canceled vacations and other plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Donating PTO to charitable organizations of their choosing provided a means for employees to remain meaningfully connected to their communities at a time when isolation is prevalent. In a message to employees, President and CEO Steve Linkous wrote, “2020 has been challenging, and we feel these options give you some choices that can fit for you and your family’s situation.”
Separate from the PTO donations and in addition to the original 2020 giving budget of more than $280,000, Harford Mutual has designated $250,000 to support various organizations and first responders during these unprecedented circumstances.
Harford Mutual Offers Virtual Internship Opportunities
Harford Mutual Insurance welcomed five interns during the summer of 2020. From Towson University, David Fuchsluger joined the marketing department, and Druv Narain and Arianna Gallamoza both worked with the information technology department. Megan King, who studies at the University of South Carolina, joined the underwriting department, and Brandon Ries joined the compliance department as an actuarial intern from West Virginia University.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Harford Mutual leadership remained steadfast that these opportunities for students remain available. Out of an abundance of caution and with the implementation of collaborative technology, all 2020 interns worked remotely for the duration of their internships. “I feel like this virtual environment and virtual work atmosphere have led to new, innovative ideas and techniques,” said David Fuchsluger. Megan King, who completed a prior internship with Harford Mutual in the summer of 2019, shared, “I enjoyed still being able to work with a group of people.”
The internship season began in early June and will conclude in mid-August. During the eight-week program, students collaborated with their respective teams, met with Harford Mutual officers, and presented summaries of their experiences to President and CEO Steve Linkous. “Getting to have bi-weekly meetings with Karen was beneficial,” Brandon Ries reflected, adding that the Senior Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer Karen Mashinski imparted her wisdom and experience regularly. Druv Narain echoed the significance of working with upper level management stating, “You get to work with the VP’s, the President, and get to see the entire process of whatever you’re working with. You get to work with all sorts of experienced people. It was a great experience.”
Harford Mutual recognizes employees and officers with a Virtual Service Awards ceremony
Harford Mutual Insurance recognized 28 employees and officers celebrating 485 combined years of service. Among the honorees with milestone anniversaries were President and CEO Steve Linkous, 35 years, Vice President of Operations Frank Kellner, 30 years, and Senior Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer Karen Mashinski, and Assistant Vice President, Legal Counsel, and Secretary Geneau Thames, Esquire, each celebrating five years. Michele Crisco, an Operations Coordinator in Claims, celebrated 40 years with the company!
The annual event, which honors employees reaching service milestones within the calendar year, was held virtually for the first time to ensure the safety of all in attendance. President and CEO Steve Linkous addressed the change. “It’s really been interesting to see how we have adapted. What’s even more impressive is how well we have done it! Being able to keep the company going and stay engaged as a team really has been phenomenal.”
AM Best Affirms "A" Rating for Harford Mutual Insurance
AM Best publicly announced the affirmation of Harford Mutual Insurance's Financial Strength Rating (FSR) “A” with a Stable outlook and Issuer Credit Rating (ICR) “a” with a Stable outlook
. Harford Mutual always strives 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.
Metrics cited include capital strength, strong underwriting discipline, strategic planning, and robust Enterprise Risk Management framework and process. Harford Mutual earned a score of “Significant” with regard to Innovation, which is higher than the current industry average.
Harford Mutual's Geneau Thames Esquire Named to Maryland's Top 100 Women
Harford Mutual Insurance Assistant Vice President, General Counsel, & Secretary Geneau Thames, Esq. has been named to the 2020 Maryland’s Top 100 Women list. The Top 100 Women are chosen by past honorees for their professional leadership and community service.
As Assistant Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for Harford Mutual Insurance Company, Thames directs all legal matters as it relates to the objectives of the Company and provides advice and legal counsel to the CEO and management. Thames also serves as a mentor to women within the company, advising, “As women, we oftentimes harbor guilt for working outside of the home. I think the best way to balance work/home life is to make both a priority and when the time comes for either work or home to interfere with the other, stop feeling guilty and embrace whatever situation you are in at that moment until it re-balances itself.”
In 2019, Thames was appointed to the State Ethics Commission by Governor Larry Hogan. Thames currently serves as one of five commission members, meeting approximately six times per year to discuss policy and enforcement matters.
Thames is a dedicated volunteer, serving on the board of There Goes My Hero, a Baltimore-based organization providing support to blood cancer patients and their families through meals, transportation, and other resources, as well as the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harford and Cecil Counties.
With regard to her achievements, Thames credits her family, stating, “I was born to very humble beginnings. Neither one of my parents graduated from high school but they taught me that hard work is rewarded. To be promoted to the executive level of a company like Harford Mutual, it is great to see their hard work and investment in my future realized.”
Geneau Thames will be honored, along with 99 other influential Maryland women, on Monday, July 27 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
Harford Mutual Commits $250,000 to Community Relief and $1.3 million for Policyholder Relief
Harford Mutual Insurance announced it was doubling its annual charitable community support to $500,000 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 178-year-old commercial property and casualty insurer already reaffirmed its scheduled 2020 give of more than $250,000 to their non-profit partners, independent of any decision they might need to make to comply with pandemic-related restrictions. Harford Mutual committed an additional $250,000 to be directed to COVID-19 related relief agencies and organizations with identified need: $50,000 to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation COVID-19 Fund; $100,000 to local first responders across the 9 states and District of Columbia where they write business; and another $100,000 to local Harford County non-profits that are addressing the specific areas of food insecurity; mental health, addiction, and domestic violence; and access to technology—areas of need exacerbated by the pandemic situation.
“We felt it was important to give our non-profit partners peace of mind as they faced the sudden impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and were forced to navigate its implications to funding and resources,” says President and CEO Steve Linkous.
In addition to its commitment to assist organizations that support the communities where its employees and agents live and work, Harford Mutual acted to protect its employees and provide financial relief and benefit to its policyholders. Harford Mutual took swift action, prior to the statewide mandate to telecommute where possible, to deploy its 170 employees remotely and remain fully operational without any job loss. Additional steps were taken to help secure its employees’ financial footing in the event of pandemic impact to a family member.
For policyholders, Harford Mutual suspended all cancellation and non-renewal of coverage due to non-payment beginning in April through June 1, 2020, and will not charge interest, late fees, or penalties during this time period providing policyholders extra time to pay their premiums without risking cancellation. For commercial auto policyholders experiencing reduced driving with mandated work and travel limitations, Harford Mutual is providing premium relief amounting to a total of approximately $1.3 million in credits. When requested, Harford Mutual is lowering premiums mid-term by adjusting payrolls and receipts on workers’ compensation and general liability policies to recognize the revenue decreases some commercial policyholders are experiencing.
“We know these are unprecedented times for many of our businessowner policyholders,” says Senior Vice President Jeff Rink. “We are looking for ways to prudently provide financial relief while we continue to deliver the protection and service levels they’ve come to rely on.”
April 28, 2020
Annual Meeting Policyholder Notice
In anticipation of continuing safety measures cautioning against in-person gatherings due to Maryland’s State of Emergency and the Proclamation of Catastrophic Health Emergency declared by Governor Hogan on March 5, 2020, the 2020 Harford Mutual Insurance Company Annual Policyholders’ Meeting scheduled for 8:30am Wednesday, May 20, 2020, will be conducted virtually using the Microsoft TEAMS Conference platform.
To participate in the meeting, you will need to pre-register and be verified as a current Harford Mutual Policyholder between now and 8:45 on the morning of the meeting. Simply send us an email at HMIC_Legal_Notifications@hm1842.com or call 1-800-638-3669 to be verified and receive the meeting access information.
March 30, 2020
Amendment to the Notice of Annual Meeting Originally Mailed on February 18, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the order of the Governor of the State of Maryland, dated March 16, 2020, prohibiting large gatherings, and the State of Emergency and the proclamation of Catastrophic Health Emergency declared by the Governor on March 5, 2020, the annual meeting of Harford Mutual Insurance company will be conducted virtually through the internet and by phone conference. Instructions on how to participate in the annual meeting will be posted to www.Harfordmutual.com on the day of the meeting. If you have any questions please contact Geneau M. Thames, Corporate Secretary at 1-800-638-3669.
Click here to view the entire AMENDED NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING.
Harford Mutual Insurance Annual Statement receives the American Graphic Design Award
The Harford Mutual Insurance 2018 Annual Report, developed by our in-house Marketing Department and executed by our vendor partner Main St. Design, LLC, was honored with the American Graphic Design Award from GD USA Magazine. Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) has been a business-to-business information source for graphic design professionals for more than 50 years.
Harford Mutual Insurance Influential Women in I95 Business
Karen Mashinski, CFO, SVP/Treasurer; June A. Poole, VP; Geneau M. Thames, Esq., AVP, general counsel and corporate secretary; Jennifer Berger, director of Underwriting Operations; Stacey Rebbert, director of Marketing and Corporate Communications;
and Abigail E. Smith, chair of the Harford Mutual board of directors are featured in I95 Business. The women are recognized for their individual successes as well as their contributions to the culture of Harford Mutual, an environment in which employees of all genders and backgrounds can thrive.
"Harford Mutual has grown in large part as a result of cultivating the success of its employees, including women. The female employees show continued desire to learn and advance. Those who come into the company from outside the insurance industry get training in the business. Harford Mutual provides paid training for all insurance designations through the Institutes & The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, including AINS, AU, AIC, CPCU, CIC. Harford Mutual also offers Sandler Sales Training and tuition reimbursement to pursue a bachelor’s or graduate degree."
Click here to read the full article.
Harford Mutual Now an AM BEST Financial Size IX
We are excited to announce that Harford Mutual’s surplus has surpassed $250M which means our AM Best Financial Size is now IX. Our overall AM Best rating is A IX Stable. Financial strength is critical to our success and you can rest easy placing your best customers with Harford Mutual as we continue to post stellar financial results.