The major operational changes that took place within State Auto during the 1980s helped prepare the company for the dynamic decade of the 1990s.
1991 One of the most dramatic changes in company history was the initial public offering of State Auto Financial Corporation, which took the company into a new world of shareholders, stock analysts, and the like. Along with the general public, employees were given the opportunity to become owners of their company through an Employee Stock Purchase Plan.
1992 State Auto National (SAN) was launched in Ohio to take advantage of the growing and profitable nonstandard auto market. SAN adhered to key State Auto philosophies such as commitment to the independent agency system and prolific service. By 1996, National would be operating in eight states.
1993 State Auto acquired the Milbank Insurance Company of Milbank, SD, thereby entering the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Utah. According to new Chairman and CEO Bob Bailey, “Milbank's marketing system, products and philosophy fit perfectly with State Auto's.” To help the company achieve a 50/50 split between personal and commercial lines business, State Auto instituted commercial lines reorganization of the entire company. The reorganization, rolled out into all operating states over the next two years, was a fundamental restructuring of company functions resulting in the creation of sales/underwriting teams. In addition, the company introduced a new incentive program for agencies called the Inner Circle. Only a select group of agencies qualified for this elite "circle," which measured agency growth, profitability and customer service accomplishments for eligibility. Only 24 State Auto agencies qualified for the Inner Circle in 1993.
1995 Through Bob Bailey’s vision, State Auto became a leader in agency automation technology, becoming the first company in the nation to download and upload data through single-entry, multi-company interface (SEMCI). In order to bring more independent agents into the SEMCI fold, State Auto formed Strategic Insurance Software, Inc. (SIS). The software developer marketed the SEMCI Partner system to agencies as a low-cost alternative to other agency management systems.
1996 State Auto celebrated its 75th anniversary and entered its 23rd state of operation in Oklahoma. In May, Robert H. (Bob) Moone was elected president and COO of the State Auto companies; Bob Bailey retained the title of chairman and CEO. State Auto introduced the PaceSetter producer training program designed for new agency producers. This revolutionary program featured a two-week training session at the home office, plus a year-long intensive coaching process with all participants. The program becomes an immediate success.
1997 State Auto acquired Midwest Security Insurance Company of Onalaska, Wis., making the Badger State the 24th state of operation.
1998 State Auto purchased the Farmers Casualty Company and its nonstandard auto subsidiary, Mid-Plains Insurance Company, both of West Des Moines, Iowa. Along with Iowa, State Auto also expanded into Kansas. In the summer, ground was broken for a new Nashville Regional Office building in Goodlettsville, Tenn.
1999 The new Nashville Regional Office facility opened in July with an open house for associates and agencies from its six-state territory. State Auto approached the new millennium with total confidence, thanks to major Year 2000 conversion efforts begun early in the decade. Come January 1, 2000, the conversion was seamless.
At left: Robert H. Moone (left) and Robert L. Bailey. Bailey was elected president of the State Auto companies in in 1983, and later was named chairman and CEO. He retired in 2000. Moone was elected president in 1996, and was later named chairman and CEO. He retired in 2006.