Karen Gavan, president & CEO of Economical Insurance, to retire at end of December 2016

WATERLOO, ON, Feb. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - The board of directors of Economical Insurance today announced that Karen Gavan will retire as president and CEO and director at the end of her contract on December 31, 2016.

Gavan joined the board of Economical Insurance in 2008 and assumed the role of president and CEO in 2011. As initial Chair of the Special Committee on Demutualization she spearheaded the decision to proceed with demutualization and then as CEO she successfully led the company through a period of transformational change. Under Gavan's leadership, the company has established a bold vision and strategy, grown significantly, transformed its operating platform, and positioned itself as a strong competitor.

"Economical Insurance is entering the next stage in our journey to becoming a public company. We do so from a position of strength thanks to Karen's exceptional leadership," said John Bowey, board chair. "Now is the right time for transition. Karen has been the perfect leader to guide Economical through the first phase of demutualization. Economical has all the characteristics of a company poised for greatness and growth. Our leadership team brings great energy and stability while our long-term strategy is world-class."

"It has been a privilege to lead Economical at such an exciting time in its history," said Gavan. "When I stepped in almost five years ago, I had a mandate to develop a compelling strategy for the future, form a great leadership team and drive the results necessary for long-term success. I'm extremely proud to have delivered on this mandate. Economical is now well positioned for the future. I'd like to thank our amazing leadership team for their support, members of the board and our brokers and policyholders for their trust, and every Economical employee for their dedication. I remain committed to providing ongoing leadership for the company until the end of my contract."

During Gavan's tenure to date as CEO — from the second quarter of 2011 through the end of 2015 — total equity has grown by more than $500 million to record levels, with the company surpassing $2 billion in gross written premiums (GWP) for the first time in its 145-year history. In addition to financial performance, Economical achieved notable success in areas of strategic importance under Gavan's leadership. During this period, the company:

  • Formally began its demutualization process
  • Implemented a business transformation program that reduced operating expenses to competitive levels
  • Developed a multi-channel strategy and announced the launch of a direct-to-consumer business, scheduled for later in 2016
  • Made significant investments in technology and predictive analytics, including a multi-year implementation of our Guidewire PolicyCenter® policy administration system

"Economical would not be where it is today without Karen's vision and drive," continued Bowey. "We have incredible momentum. The Economical of tomorrow will excite and impress the Canadian business community, while we continue to deliver superior service and innovative products to our customers, brokers, and partners. Our board remains fully committed to our strategy, and our next CEO will share in our excitement and vision as we continue to expand this great company. On behalf of the board, I'd like to thank Karen for the enormous contribution she has made to the company. We look forward to her continued passion and energy over the balance of the year."

The board of directors will conduct a process to select Gavan's successor. Gavan will continue to lead the company during this phase, with the full support of the board and the leadership team.

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical Insurance is one of Canada's leading property and casualty insurers, with approximately $2.0 billion in annualized premium volume and $5.3 billion in assets as at December 31, 2015. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical Insurance conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Family Insurance Solutions, and Economical Financial.

SOURCE Economical Insurance

For further information: Doug Maybee, Manager, public and media relations, Economical Insurance, (T) 519.570.8249, (C) 519.404.0989, doug.maybee@economical.com; David Bradfield, Vice-president, communication, Economical Insurance, (C) 647.223.5192, david.bradfield@economical.com


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