Seeks flexibility in meeting future customer and market needs
(NEENAH, Wis.) - Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has filed a forward-looking plan to become a mutual holding company to modernize its corporate structure while retaining its long-term focus and dedication to its policyholders - and preserving its mutuality.
The plan was unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors and has been filed with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). The plan is subject to OCI review and approval, as well as approval of existing policyholders of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company later this year.
“When jewelers founded Jewelers Mutual over a century ago, they couldn’t have imagined the opportunities we’d have in front of us today,” said Scott Murphy, Jewelers Mutual president and CEO. “Today, the needs of our industry are changing, and we need to evolve to better serve the needs of our policyholders.
“Modifying our corporate structure will allow us to continually support our customers and strengthen our company as we embrace advanced technologies and related product opportunities to serve our customers better.”
About the transition, which continues to emphasize mutuality
A mutual holding company allows a previous mutual insurer to transition into a stock insurance company, wholly-owned by the new mutual holding company, while maintaining critical policyholder rights. This change allows Jewelers Mutual to preserve its core mutuality and membership control while operating under a more flexible structure that better enables it to operate its core business and pursue further opportunities.
“As a mutual company, an essential component to this transition was ensuring a way for our policyholders to maintain their policyholder rights,” shared Murphy. “This transition allows us to do so, all while more easily growing our product and service offerings to help support jewelry businesses and the jewelry industry long into the future.”
The mutual holding company transition would not affect any of the company’s current coverages, premium rates, loss prevention, or claims-handling processes. Policyholders will see no change to how their policies are handled. Policyholders become a part of the new MHC with essentially the identical membership rights they have today, including the right to vote for board members at the company’s annual meeting of members.
Murphy noted the change would also allow Jewelers Mutual to extend membership rights, as defined by law, to policyholders of certain current and future subsidiaries of Jewelers Mutual who would not otherwise have these membership rights, all to promote and enhance the long-standing mutual company tradition of Jewelers Mutual.
The mutual holding company would be legally domiciled in Wisconsin, joining Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and its other subsidiaries.
The board of directors and officers of the mutual holding company would be the same as the board of directors and officers of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company prior to the change. Also, Jewelers Mutual board members, officers and other employees would not receive additional compensation, or any stock or other benefits, because of this change.
Innovation in support of - and beyond - insurance
Jewelers Mutual is dedicated to its policyholders and the jewelry industry and, as a result, has developed offerings beyond its traditional insurance products. By creating a mutual holding company, Jewelers Mutual will enhance its ability to innovate and bring new value to its customers - and the jewelry industry - with new ventures. In recent years, Jewelers Mutual has already taken steps to expand its product offerings, including its JM Shipping Solution and JM Care Plan solutions. The proposed structural change will better enable both of these existing services and new opportunities.
Next steps toward approval of the plan
Under Wisconsin law, the process to become a mutual holding company is subject to a public administrative hearing and prior approval from the insurance commissioner’s office. After those steps, the company would seek approval from eligible policyholders who would vote by proxy that is mailed or e-mailed to them with an information booklet that thoroughly explains the conversion plan. Policyholders could also vote in person at a special policyholder meeting.
Dates for the administrative hearing, proxy mailing and policyholder meeting are still to be determined. The company hopes to complete the process by the end of 2019.
For more information on the proposed mutual holding company, refer to the FAQs - CLICK HERE to view. Jewelers Mutual policyholders can call 888-884-2424 and follow the voice instructions to ask questions or learn more about the Mutual Holding Company plan.