Jean Van Den Brandt
Vice President – Marketing
920-830-4430, 800-558-3405, ext. 4430
Marketing Communications Manager
920-830-4443, 800-558-3405, ext. 4443
SECURA Insurance announces President/CEO retirement, names successors
Appleton, Wisconsin (August 20, 2013) – SECURA Insurance announced today that President & CEO John Bykowski will retire from the company effective July 1, 2014. This comes after Bykowski led SECURA for 16 years of long-term profitable growth by building a people-focused culture and first-rate agent relationships. Bykowski will continue as Chairman of the Board after his retirement.
Senior Vice President – Underwriting Operations Dave Gross will be appointed President and Chief Operating Officer on Sept. 1, 2013. In this capacity, he adds responsibility for claims operations, with Senior Vice President Scott Huiras reporting to him. This promotion positions Gross to become President and Chief Executive Officer effective the day after Bykowski retires.
Gross joined SECURA in 1997 as Vice President – Sales. In 2001, he was promoted to his current position with responsibility for both underwriting and sales. Gross successfully helped guide the company’s new product development, state expansion, and its agency force, ultimately helping profitably grow the organization to the $450+ million company it will be by year end.
Senior Vice President and CFO Kathryn Sieman will be appointed Executive Vice President on Sept. 1, 2013, making her the company’s second-highest ranking executive. She also will remain CFO and continue to lead the company’s Finance and Information Technology areas. Sieman joined SECURA in 1992. In 2005, she was promoted to Senior Vice President, named CFO in 2007 and, in 2012, the company’s Information Technology division became part of her team.
“Dave’s past success, his dedication to our associates and agency partners, and his passion for our industry prepare him well to become SECURA’s next leader. Kathryn’s financial acumen, strategic ability, and drive for internal efficiency make her a strong complement to Dave,” said Bykowski. “I am confident the company remains in well-qualified hands with talented leaders able to take SECURA successfully into the future.”
SECURA Insurance is rated A (Excellent) from A.M. Best for its excellent ability to meet policyholder obligations. Founded in 1900, the company is headquartered in Appleton, Wis. More than 430 independent insurance agencies in 12 states represent the company, which provides a broad range of competitive commercial, personal, farm, nonprofit, and special events products. SECURA is known for providing exceptional service to its agents and policyholders. Visit www.secura.net for more.
Upon John Bykowski’s retirement July 1, 2014, he will have contributed more than 40 years to the property and casualty insurance industry. Currently, Bykowski is the President and CEO of SECURA Insurance, a mutual property and casualty insurer headquartered in Appleton, Wis. He has served in that role since joining the company in 1997 and was named chairman of its board of directors in 2004.
Bykowski’s leadership and focus on relationships — both within and outside the company — have made a dramatic impact on its success. Overall employee satisfaction has soared over the years to the current high of 97 percent. Empowering people paid off. During his tenure, SECURA underscored its broadening appetite by entering Farm-Ag and opening a Specialty Lines division. In addition, the annual company revenue (direct written premium) is slated to reach half a billion dollars the year of his departure.
Signals of strong leadership abound outside the company, too. A.M. Best consistently rates the company A (Excellent) for its ability to meet financial obligations to policyholders. And agents rank it among the nation’s Top 10 carriers for ease of doing business. Since joining SECURA, Bykowski has held fast to his vision that the company is only as strong as the relationships with its agents. The agency force was honed over the years to include only the finest, and the goal is to continue to foster this success through his leadership transition and beyond.
Bykowski brought impressive property/casualty experience to SECURA. From 1972-79, he held underwriting management positions at Milwaukee Mutual and Allstate Insurance. He worked as vice president of casualty operations at Wisconsin Employers Group from 1979 to 1983, and then moved to West Bend Mutual where he was senior vice president of marketing from 1983 to 1997. Bykowski is a graduate of Marquette University.
Bykowski has long been active in the community and the insurance industry. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Trout Museum of Art, and is the immediate past chairman of the board and a board member for the Fox Cities Community Foundation. He has served on boards for many other community organizations, such as M&I Bank Fox Cities, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, United Way Fox Cities, and the YMCA of the Fox Cities. He also served on the board of directors for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) from 2003 until the conclusion of his 2007-08 term as board chairman.
A transition plan for Bykowski’s retirement begins Sept. 1, 2013, when Dave Gross is appointed SECURA’s President and Chief Operating Officer, positioning him to become President and Chief Executive Officer upon Bykowski’s retirement July 1, 2014. Bykowski will remain Chief Executive Officer until his retirement and will remain chairman of the board indefinitely. Gross is currently Senior Vice President – Underwriting Operations and has been with the company since 1997.