The President’s Message
2019 was the year of bad weather in Wisconsin. The first quarter saw significant losses from heavy snowfall in northern Wisconsin, which caused many farm and other outbuildings to collapse. Fortunately, the second quarter was much quieter weather-wise and gave us a brief respite. However, on July 19, northern Wisconsin sustained a “derecho” that impacted many Wisconsin companies.
What is a derecho? Wikipedia tells us that this is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms known as a mesoscale convective system. Derechos can cause hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains and flash floods. This event had sustained winds of well over 75 miles an hour, caused more than one tornado, felled many trees and created heavy losses for companies in the northern half of the state.
This storm alone generated more than $10 million in losses to WRC. The companies that sustained these losses did an excellent job of responding quickly to this event and taking care of their policyholders who had damaged property. WRC responded quickly as well by advancing much needed funds to those companies that sustained losses.
Some of these companies made use of WRC’s CAP program. This is our Catastrophe Assistance Program, which can bring outside adjusters to a company to mitigate an event like this. A team of seasoned adjusters arriving on the scene of a catastrophic event promptly can ease the burden on a company’s staff and manage the claims load more effectively.
The early winter storms and the derecho in July pushed WRC’s combined ratio to well over 130 for nine months. Given that our fourth quarter is historically our most quiet, I am hopeful that the remainder of the year helped us bring that ratio down to a more acceptable level.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Todd Lentz, Senior Vice President of Reinsurance, left WRC at year-end. Todd accepted the Executive Vice President position at Mutual of Wausau in Wausau, Wisconsin as part of the company’s leadership succession plan. I was sorry to see Todd leave WRC, but I am excited for this great opportunity for him. He has been a valued member of The WRC Group for 27 years in many different roles. We are grateful we will have the opportunity to continue working with Todd as a friend and as a client.
I would also like to thank Larry Bray, who was our Vice President of Mutual Assistance, for his many years of service to WRC and our mutual industry. Larry retired from WRC on December 31. He served on the WRC board of directors for several years and then joined the WRC staff in 2007. Larry developed the Mutual Assistance Team, which provides services to our clients in underwriting, claims, loss prevention and management. We wish him well as he enters this new chapter in his life.
All of us at the WRC Group will miss Todd and Larry, their professionalism and their leadership.
I am confident that you will continue to receive the quality service you’ve come to expect from WRC even with Todd and Larry’s departure. We have a team of experienced and dedicated people in the Reinsurance Department who will continue to serve you as we look for persons to fill their important roles here at The WRC Group.