Kath Resigns as Jewelers Mutual President, CEO

Darin L. Kath has resigned as president and chief executive officer of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., after only a year, to head another insurance company. He informed Patti Geolat, who has chaired Jewelers Mutual’s board of directors for eight years, on May 12. The board accepted his resignation, May 13.

Geolat, who joined the board in 1994, was named interim president and CEO by the board, effective immediately, until a permanent replacement is chosen. “The company will move forward to accomplish its vision and strategic goals, while we seek a new company president and CEO,” she said, following Kath’s resignation.

She told JCK that there is no timeframe, yet, or deadline for selection of a replacement. “We will take whatever time is necessary and go through a deliberate process to find the right person,” she said. Candidates both inside and outside the company will be considered. “We are looking at all options.”

“There’s no pressure to react quickly and name someone,” she said, because, “we have such a great management team that knows so much about the insurance business, we can take the time necessary.” The board has full confidence, she added, in Jewelers Mutual’s “talented staff, outstanding financial results, and exciting future. We will continue to provide superior products and service to policyholders and be the insurer of choice for the jewelry industry and owners of jewelry.”

Kath, a 20-year veteran of the insurance business, was the handpicked and groomed successor of Ronald Harder, Jewelers Mutual’s former president and CEO for 25 years.

Kath joined Jewelers Mutual, based in Neenah, Wis., as vice president of underwriting in 1997 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2001. He was promoted again to president in 2005, as part of a succession plan in preparation for Harder’s retirement. He took over as CEO when Harder retired in May 2007.

Kath has left Jewelers Mutual to become president and CEO of Integrity Mutual Insurance Co., in Appleton, Wis., Kath’s hometown, effective June 2, pending approval by Integrity’s board. He will replace Richard Schinler, Integrity’s president for 25 years.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co. is the only company specializing exclusively in jewelry insurance in all 50 states of the United States and in Canada. It was founded in 1913 by jewelers who needed affordable insurance. Today, it has 10,000 commercial policyholders and 180,000 individual policyholders, carrying $2.5 billion in personal insurance coverage.