Biz Buzz
By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posts tagged ‘Erie Insurance’
Posted: July 17th, 2013

Erie-based Erie Insurance has once again been named one of the nation’s top performing insurance companies.

For the sixth year in a row, Erie County’s third largest employer has been named to the Ward Group’s list of the top 50 performing property and casualty companies.

The Ward Group analyzes the financial performance over more than 3,000 companies before naming top performers in safety, consistency and financial performance over a five-year period.

This year marks the 16th time Erie Insurance has made the Ward’s list since it was first published in 1991.

Terry Cavanaugh, the company’s chief executive, said the company’s inclusion in the list affirms its  financial stability.

“Our customers believe in and have benefitted from Erie’s value proposition — superior coverage and service at a competitive price,” he said. “It’s why more than 90 percent of our customers stay with us year after year.”

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 13th, 2013

Erie’s Susan Hirt Hagen is in little danger of being named to the Forbes list of celebrity billionaires.

And while a new list by Forbes magazine ranks her as one of the wealthiest people in the world, the venerable business publication couldn’t even round up a photo of the woman who ranks as the fourth richest person in Pennsylvania.

Hagen, 76, daughter of Erie Indemnity co-founder H.O. Hirt, is hardly new to the ranks of the wealthy. Thanks to trusts established by her late father in 1967, she owns 35 percent of the company’s common shares, according to Forbes.

That ‘s enough to rank her in a tie with more than 30 others for the 931st richest person in the world, with wealth estimated at $1.6 billion.

Despite that, she’s flown beneath the radar of the world’s financial press. It wasn’t until earlier this year that Hagen was named to a list of billionaires published each year by Bloomberg.

The business-oriented news service noted the slip in June, writing: “(Hagen) has been a billionaire for years — and has never appeared on an international wealth ranking.”

Her relative obscurity was acknowledged by the Allentown Morning Call, which wrote: “And have you even heard of Susan Hirt Hagen?”

A spokeswoman for Erie Insurance said she couldn’t comment on Hagen’s finances.

In truth, Hagen hasn’t exactly been invisible.

In addition to serving in various civic roles, she’s made multimillion dollar gifts to Penn State Behrend and to her alma mater, Ohio’s Wittenberg University.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 28th, 2012

Erie Insurance announced this afternoon that the company will contribute $150,000 to the capital campaign for Bethesda Children’s Home.

The gift from Erie Insurance, Erie County’s third largest employer, will be used to make renovations to the Bethesda Trinity Center, 462 W. 18th St.

The donation was made as part of Bethesda’s “Rebuilding Lives. … One at a Time” capital campaign.

Bethesda, which its headquarters in Meadville, operates the Trinity Center in Erie and the Bethesda Leadership Center at 347 W. 18th St.

The two Erie locations serve more than 200 children daily through various programs, including homework help, tutoring and an independent living program.

Bethesda is attempting to raise $500,000 from Erie donors.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 11th, 2012

Erie-based Erie Insurance Group remains a member of the Fortune 500, but just barely.

The latest edition of Fortune’s annual ranking of the 500 largest companies ranks the company at No. 497 on the list.

That’s down a bit from the 2011 list, when Erie County’s third largest employer was the nation’s 461st largest company.

Energy giant Exxon Mobil kicked Walmart out of the top spot, bumping Wal-Mart Stores to second on the list.

The rankings are based on sales. Erie Insurance saw revenues slip 1.4 percent in 2011 to $4.82 billion.
Terrence Cavanaugh, chief executive of Erie Insurance, said in a statement: “Our continued presence on the Fortune 500 is a reflection of the dedication of our agents and employees and a testament to the confidence and trust our customers place in us every day.”

The company, which first appeared on the Fortune list in 2003, ranks as the nation’s 12 largest auto insurer.

The General Electric Co., corporate parent of GE Transportation in Lawrence Park, was 16th on this year’s list.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 13th, 2012

Phyllis Taylor, an institution at Erie Insurance, where’s she’s worked with every chief executive from founder H.O. Hirt to current boss Terry Cavanaugh, is stepping down after 50 years on the job.

The length of her tenure can be marked in changing technology, sales charts and an ever expanding payroll. Taylor was one of 390 employees when she started in 1962. Her departure leaves the company with 4,479.

Cavanaugh doesn’t know all of them on sight, but he knows Taylor.

“Everyone knows Phyllis,” he said. “Phyllis is an institution. “Fifty years with Erie is a remarkable statement about the type of person she is. In her role in the office of the president, she was the face of Erie (Insurance) for many people.”

A measure of her importance to the company?

She was one of the first employees to have a calculator, but only after President H.O. Hirt signed off on the purchase.

Like a professional athlete who spends his entire career with one team, the arc of Taylor’s career is a departure from the norm.

Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us the average person spends 4.1 years at a given job.

Taylor, who is active in the Rotary Club and at Faith Lutheran Church, wasn’t sure she would last that long.

“Like any other 18-year-old, you don’t think ‘OK, this is going to be a lifetime thing.”

But the seeds for a career in the industry had been planted early.
Taylor remembers going with her parents when she was young to pay the insurance bill at the Erie Insurance office, now the Achievement Center.

“I remember going in there and I was really impressed,” she said. “As a kid, you go home and play office. I was always an insurance agent.”

Taylor never did become an insurance agent, but she did get to play an increasingly important role in the fortunes of her employer, working for the past 15 years in the office of the president, mostly handling complaints that made their way to the highest level.

“You have to be a very big diplomat. They tell you to do things that are physically impossible,” Taylor said. “You know they are disgruntled and you don’t take it personally.”

Taylor said she’s inclined to miss the more personal moments.
She said she has memories of all eight of the company’s chief executives, including H.O. Hirt., who she remembers summoning her and some other employees to help crank out that week’s overdue edition of the company newsletter.

“I kept wondering, who is this little old man?” she said.

Cavanaugh, the current chief executive, left an impression as well.

Taylor remembers heading with other employees to the company’s assembly room to hear from the new chief executive in July 2008.
Before the meeting began, however, he walked up to Taylor and introduced himself.

“He said, ‘I am Terry Cavanaugh. I understand you are the most tenured person here and I am the least,” Taylor remembered.
“It was the coolest thing,” she said. “It endeared him to me forever.”

Cavanaugh, who chatted about the company’s senior employee Thursday night, made one thing clear. The feeling is mutual.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: December 14th, 2010

Twenty-four community foundations throughout Erie Insurance’s 11-state business area will receive $3,000 each, the Erie-based company announced today.
Mike Batchelor, executive director of the Erie Community Foundation, was at the company’s headquarters Tuesday afternoon to accept a $6,000 gift from the company, given on behalf of its employees.
Kristen Blucas, a spokeswoman for the company, said the other 23 community foundations will receive $3,000 each as part of a total gift of $75,000.
The announcement, made by Terry Cavanaugh, the company’s chief executive, was broadcast live to the company’s field offices.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 19th, 2010

The Erie-based Erie Insurance Group has again been named to a prominent list of the nation’s top performing insurance companies.
The company, which has more than 2,000 employees in Erie, was named to the Ward’s 50 Group of the 50 top performing insurance companies.
The annual list analyzes the financial performance of 3,000 property-casualty companies and nearly 800 life-health insurance companies.
Erie Insurance has made the list 13 times in 20 years.
Terrence Cavanaugh, Erie Insurance’s chief executive, said, “This recognition affirms our commitment to a strong balance sheet and an operating model that allows us to meet our customer’s needs.”
The company ranks as the 14th largest auto insurer in the nation and as the 18th largest property/casualty insurer.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 24th, 2010

Employees of the Erie Insurance Group will volunteer Friday at the Boys & Girls Club of Erie at 1515 East Lake Road.
The work, which begins at 9 a.m., is being done as part of the company’s community service day.
Volunteers will mow and extensively landscape the club’s property.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 7th, 2010

The Erie-based Erie Insurance Group has returned to Fortune magazine’s list of nation’s 500 largest companies based on revenue.
The magazine has ranked the company No. 484 on its list of the top 500 U.S. companies.
“Erie Insurance’s financial strength puts us in the ranks with the largest companies in the United States,” said Terrence Cavanaugh, the company’s chief executive. “This recognition honors our founder’s legacy and further highlights the superior customer service and dedication of our employees and agents to our policyholders.”
The company is Erie County’s third largest employer with more than 2,100 local employees.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: November 27th, 2009

Philip Garcia, who retired in April from Erie Insurance where he ended a 28-year career serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been elected to the board of directors of Amerisafe.
Amerisafe is a Louisiana-based provider of high-hazard workers’ compensation insurance.
C. Allen Bradley Jr., the company’s chairman, said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Phil to our board of directors. Phil has a remarkably wide range of insurance experience and a long history of performance excellence.”
Garcia is 53.
– Jim Martin

Posted in: Uncategorized