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Union Mutual of Vermont wins The Americas Insurance Award

May 24, 2012 - New York, New York. The Chartered Insurance Operations Professional Institute (CIOP) announced that it selected Union Mutual of Vermont as one of the two organizations receiving the  2012 Americas Insurance Award.

From the press release by CIOP:

The Americas Insurance Awards is a highly selective and appreciative program that actively searches for and honors examples of innovation, integrity, masterful execution, and outstanding leadership throughout the insurance industry in North America and South America. For 2012 the focus of the Americas Insurance Awards is "Lessons in Leadership".

Although the search for outstanding insurance leadership throughout the Americas revealed a wealth of possible award recipients, two firms and their CEOs clearly emerged as particularly compelling lessons in leadership. "While many insurance organizations rightfully pride themselves as having weathered the financial crisis and recent recessionary economies, only a few firms truly emerged from this economic cauldron as significantly improved, strengthened, and far more capable enterprises", observed Mr. Philip Mondanaro, a spokesperson for the Americas Insurance Awards.

Both leaders honored this year by the 2012 Americas Insurance Awards selection committee, Jeffrey T. Bowman of Crawford and Josh Fitzhugh of Union Mutual of Vermont, assumed their positions just as the financial crisis of 2008 began to break across the insurance landscape; roiling capital markets, impairing industry surplus, and straining carriers and insureds alike.

Over the last few years Mr. Bowman has staged a remarkable transformation of Crawford. While retaining its rightful heritage as the largest global independent provider of claims solutions, under Jeffrey Bowman's leadership Crawford has emerged as a particularly nimble, innovative and reinvigorated organization that enables its clients to significantly improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the strategically essential claim fulfillment process.

Crawford's new breadth and depth of claims solutions combined with unsurpassed staff expertise generates rapid and material contributions to the financial performance of Crawford's clients while creating and reinforcing a thoroughly positive customer experience on the part of claimants -- all in a fair and compliant manner....

When we consider lessons in leadership we often first think of the large headline grabbing insurance organizations: The ones with the flashiest or cleverest advertising commercials or the ones working through adverse high visibility political or controversial situations. But "some of the greatest lessons in leadership are occurring among the multitude of smaller insurance firms throughout the Americas" observed Mr. Mondanaro. While large well capitalized firms may find it all just a bit too easy to invest large sums of money in the latest technology or management trend such as "big data" or "competing on analytics" - the smaller often less capital rich insurance firms must find ways of gaining market advantages over their far larger and well heeled competitors. This often requires a different more resourceful leadership approach.

In the selection research conducted for this year's Americas Insurance Awards the story that is unfolding at Union Mutual of Vermont served as a particularly robust lesson in leadership. Under Josh Fitzhugh's leadership, Union Mutual of Vermont is being transformed in a deep, multidimensional and integrated manner. In the last few years all new customer councils were established and very actively engaged to better capture the voice of the customer and ensure that all changes and organizational betterments pursued by Union Mutual of Vermont are customer centric in their design, development and delivery.

After a systematic approach to defining a new digitized platform, ISCS was selected as the insurance software vendor partner of choice. Through the rapid application of agile development methodologies Union Mutual and ISCS are quickly rolling out a completely new suite of elegant software solutions including policy administration, claims administration and billing applications. Josh Fitzhugh quickly interpreted and pressed the opportunity afforded by new technology to enable the concurrent redesign and upgrading of Union Mutual's products, forms and pricing strategies. Throughout this period, Mr. Fitzhugh has incrementally and tenaciously transformed his leadership team in a dignified manner.

"The systematic, integrated, and accelerated approach to building a truly customer centric organization combined with a revamped product suite, that is being rapidly enabled through powerful new technologies, and supported by a vibrant senior leadership team is truly a remarkable lesson in leadership" commented Mr. Mondanaro who went on to add: "It is equally a lesson in courage and never allowing relatively limited capital as an excuse for not striving for and indeed achieving excellence".

About Union Mutual of Vermont

Located in the Green Mountains of central Vermont and first established in 1874, the Union Mutual of Vermont Companies ( is a dynamic regional mutual insurance company that has been providing quality insurance products uninterrupted for 140 years. Operating through its extensive network of independent insurance agents Union Mutual's overall business philosophy and culture is one that strives to treat all business partners, be they policyholders, agents or vendors, with the highest level of fairness, integrity and respect. Union Mutual is particularly focused on their friendly and efficient level of service that is "second to none". This commitment to outstanding service begins with Union Mutual's experienced and highly skilled staff of insurance professionals. In this internet and computer driven age, Union Mutual remains committed to continuing its long tradition of providing friendly and personalized service while incorporating new technologies and continuing to deliver an unsurpassed customer experience for Union Mutual agents and insureds.

About the CIOP Institute

The CIOP Institute ( is the premier global insurance leadership development organization that is built upon a deep belief in the power of knowledge as a shaper of performance, a builder of professionalism, a creator of ideas, and an inciter of innovation and change. While offering unsurpassed thought leadership and a compelling array of educational experiences to the insurance industry, the CIOP Institute administers a number of rigorous and rewarding insurance professional designation programs including the: Chartered Insurance Operations Professional (CIOP) designation, Master Insurance Business Analyst (MIBA) certification, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt designation, and the Emerging Insurance Leaders Development Program. Additionally the CIOP Institute coordinates and conducts all aspects of the Americas Insurance Awards.

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