State Auto expansion and growth continues in impressive fashion.
2000 In October, the agreement to merge Meridian Mutual of Indianapolis, Ind., into State Auto Mutual was announced. The transaction created a company with more than $1 billion of written premium and $2 billion in assets. On December 31, the State Auto companies experienced another milestone; the retirement of Bob Bailey after nearly 20 years of service. Bob Moone was named his successor.
2001 On June 1, the merger of State Auto Mutual and Meridian Mutual was completed as was the acquisition of the Meridian Insurance Group. The transaction made the State Auto Insurance Companies the nation’s 48th largest property and casualty insurance group, with written premium in excess of $1 billion, over $2 billion in assets and almost $1 billion in surplus. State Auto's new, streamlined Business Owners' Choice Policy was introduced for small to medium-size business owners, replacing the Series One Business owners product.
On September 11, the entire nation was shocked and devastated by the horrific damage and loss of life from terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. America resolved to heal the wounds of this national tragedy and move forward with strength and solidarity.
2002 Following a tumultuous decade for non-standard auto in the 1990s, during which many competitors resorted to irresponsible pricing in order to gain market share, State Auto National's philosophy of conservative pricing and underwriting paid off as the company enjoyed one of its most successful years ever. State Auto's AgentSite, which was created as a "one-stop shopping center" for our agency partners, expanded its features and capabilities for agents, offering numerous customer service, payment and claims capabilities on line.
2003 State Auto's Claims Contact Center (CCC) evolved into State Auto's 24/7 centralized claims service. Agents and customers could now report claims directly to the center via a new toll-free number or the company’s Web site. In late autumn, State Auto introduced netXpress. This new Web-based application dramatically improved customer service while revolutionizing the way agents worked with State Auto.
2004 The year began with a major announcement from the A.M. Best Company, the industry's foremost authority on insurers' financial strength and stability: State Auto was identified as one of only 15 insurance companies in the U.S. that had earned Best's highest rating of “A+ (Superior)” every year since the rating system began in 1954. Chairman and CEO Bob Moone was interviewed in the January edition of Best's Review. State Auto management reported record annual earnings for the State Auto companies in 2003.
2005 Despite the devastating storms of 2004, State Auto still posted record earnings and profit for the year. State Auto continued its stellar rating with A.M. Best, and also made the Forbes Platinum 400 list for 2005. The prestigious business magazine comprised its list of the best of those companies, across 26 industries, with at least $1 billion in revenue and high rankings for other corporate practices, sales and earnings growth. State Auto Financial was one of 24 insurance companies on the list.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The city of New Orleans was devastated along with coastal Mississippi and Alabama. Shortly thereafter, Hurricanes Rita and Wilma followed, adding further damage to an already paralyzed coastal area.
By year’s end, State Auto introduced the CustomFit auto policy. The new, cutting-edge auto product featured flexible pricing and diminishing surcharges for accidents and minor violations. In addition, State Auto announced plans to expand into the states of Arizona and Colorado in the coming months.
2006 The new year began with an exciting announcement: Forbes magazine selected State Auto Financial as the "Best Managed Insurance Company in America" for 2006. This honor, in addition to record earnings for 2005, kicked off the year in spectacular fashion. In early February, Robert P. (Bob) Restrepo Jr. was elected chairman and chief executive officer, succeeding Bob Moone, who retired in May.
In December, State Auto celebrated 75 years of Christmas displays along Broad Street in front of the home office. Also in December, State Automobile Mutual announced an agreement to acquire the Beacon Insurance Group of Wichita Falls, Texas. Beacon writes approximately $50 million in direct written premium through more than 300 independent agents in Arkansas and Texas, which became State Auto’s 29th state of operation.
2007 The year started with the completion of the purchase of the Beacon Insurance Group of Wichita Falls, Texas. With the acquisition, Texas became State Auto’s 29th state of operation.
In September, State Auto entered into an affiliation agreement with the Patrons Mutual Group of Connecticut. Under the agreement, State Automobile Mutual assumed operational authority of the Patrons Mutual Group. This enabled an enhanced geographic spread and the development of a new source of profitable growth.
Finally, in an effort to enhance the financial interests of its policyholders, State Auto became one of the newest members of the Institute for Business Home & Safety (IBHS). IBHS is an initiative of the insurance industry that works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other property losses.
2008 Less than a year after the acquisition of Beacon Insurance Group of Wichita Falls, State Auto rolled out personal insurance products in Texas.
In November, State Auto agreed to acquire Rockhill Insurance Group of Kansas City, MO. Rockhill Insurance Group writes specialty property and casualty direct written premium through its four subsidiaries. This agreement diversified State Auto’s base of earnings and the portfolio of products offered to independent agency partners.
2009 For demonstrating a strong commitment to the independent insurance agency system in Indiana, State Auto was named the 2009 Company of the Year by the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana (IIAI). This award winning year continued with State Auto’s receipt of an award for technology leadership with the “ACORD Innovative Implementation” award at the ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum, held in Lake Buena Vista, Fl.
To increase operational efficiency and meet the increasing service demands brought on by our geographic expansion and sales growth, State Auto’s sales and business insurance operations were consolidated into five regions with headquarters in Austin (Western Region), Indianapolis (Midwestern Region), Columbus (Central Region), Nashville (Southern Region), and Baltimore-Hunt Valley (Eastern Region). Personal insurance underwriting and claims operations were also consolidated, with the former moving into offices in Gahanna, OH and Nashville, the latter into offices in Harrisburg (PA), Nashville, Columbus, Des Moines (IA) and Indianapolis.
At left: Robert P. Restrepo Jr., who was named Chairman, President and CEO of the State Auto Companies on February 10, 2006.