Matanuska Glacier, AK
Photo by Stacey Matteson | Umialik Employee

Press Release

March 18, 2021

Umialik Insurance Company and Western National Insurance Group Announce Upcoming Retirement of Stuart Henderson, Succession of Rick Long as CEOy

(Anchorage, Alaska) Umialik Insurance Company and Western National Insurance Group today confirmed the upcoming retirement of current Chief Executive Officer Stuart Henderson, and the succession of current President Richard (Rick) Long to the role of President & Chief Executive Officer for all companies in the Group, effective Friday, April 2, 2021. These changes will end the year-long leadership transition that began in March 2020.

Mr. Henderson joined Western National in 2001, at a time when the company’s equity had fallen to just $60.3 million and its A.M. Best financial strength rating had been downgraded to B+. Henderson orchestrated a quick turnaround, renewing the company’s commitment to the Independent Agency system, broadly diversifying its risk exposures, and rebuilding its equity. Over a 20-year tenure with the company, Henderson’s leadership ultimately grew Western National into a super-regional group of eight active property-and-casualty insurance companies writing over $800 million annually in personal and commercial premium, with a policyholder’s surplus of over $610 million and total assets of over $1.59 billion. Along the way, Henderson led the development of the company’s charitable programs and community initiatives; served on industry boards (National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Association, Insurance Federation of Minnesota, and others); oversaw activities that earned Western National the Minnesota Business Ethics Award, a place on the Ward Group Top 50 Property & Casualty list (12 consecutive years as of 2020, and 15 of the past 16 years), several top workplace awards, and other recognitions; and guided the company’s rise to an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating and its current spot among the top 100 largest U.S. property-and-casualty insurance carriers. Following his retirement, Henderson will remain a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Long joined Western National in 2010 and served for several years as Senior Vice President of Claims and later as President of affiliate Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company prior to his appointment to President of Western National Mutual Insurance Company. He has served on the Boards of Directors of all Western National wholly owned stock companies, as well as on the Board of the Property Loss Research Bureau and Minnesota Insurance Guaranty Association. Prior to joining Western National, Long served as Senior Vice President of Claims for Farm Family Casualty Insurance Company, having worked his way up to that position from the role of field claim adjuster in 1984. He has a B.S. from SUNY at Binghamton, N.Y., and he has earned the AIC, CPCU, and ARe designations.

“Western National has been the beneficiary of two decades of incredibly strong, transformative leadership in its Chief Executive Officer role, and we are pleased to continue that tradition as we officially ‘pass the torch’ from Stu Henderson to Rick Long on April 2,” said Steve McFarland, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Western National Insurance Group. “All of us at Western National owe Stu a tremendous debt of gratitude for his many contributions to the Group’s success these past 20 years – all of which served to reinforce the company’s ability to deliver on its claim promise to policyholders. Rick embodies those same service-oriented values, and as evidenced by his steady leadership during a globally chaotic first year as President, he is the right person to lead Western National as we work to continue the company’s successes and exceed even more customer expectations going forward.”

Umialik Insurance Company, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, has served the property-and-casualty insurance needs of Alaskans since 1981. Umialik is a member of Western National Insurance, a super-regional group of property-and-casualty insurance companies providing personal and commercial coverage in 22 states across the Midwestern and Western U.S. as well as in Alaska; and surety bonds in 41 states. The Group writes over $840 million in personal and commercial Direct Premium through eight active insurance companies—Western National Mutual Insurance Company, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company, Western Home Insurance Company, Arizona Auto Insurance Company, Umialik Insurance Company, American Freedom Insurance Company, and Nevada General Insurance Company—and through one affiliate, Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. All of the Group’s products are sold exclusively through professional Independent Insurance Agents

For further information, please contact:

Steve Norman, CPCU, M.A., AIT
Vice President – Communications & Customer Experience
(952) 921-5680 or (800) 862-6070 Ext. 7680
steven.norman@wnins.com