After more than 40 years with the same company, Rick Means will retire from his position as president and chief executive officer of Shelter Insurance in August.
Matt Moore, currently executive vice president, will be the company’s next CEO.
Means has spent nearly all of his adult life with Shelter, starting as a claims adjuster and working his way up the corporate ladder to claims supervisor, manager, vice president and eventually to his role as the leader of a nearly 2,000-employee insurance company that wrote about $2 billion worth of premiums last year.
Missouri Business Alert sat down with Means in his office at Shelter’s Columbia headquarters to discuss his career, the future of the insurance industry and his plans for retirement.
How did you get started in the insurance business?
Means: I graduated from University of Missouri in 1977. I actually had an advanced personnel management class that required us to get three interviews, where we were to evaluate the interview process. During that process, I happened to pick insurance week, and I interviewed with State Farm, American Family and Shelter — we were MFA Insurance at that time; we’ve since changed our name. I was just doing it to help write a paper and get a good grade in the class, and I started getting job offers. And I knew a little bit about the insurance business. My dad owned his own auto body shop over in Fulton, Missouri, and I worked for him during summers, so I knew a little bit about the claims process. I actually got hired on as a claims adjuster with Shelter back in 1977, right here in Columbia.
What is it that keeps Shelter afloat and gives it a competitive edge?
Means: Well, I think for us, and I think it’s just been recognized by J.D. Power and Associates, is the customer service piece of it. I think it’s something that we’ve always stood out. We didn’t, just four years ago, go out and say, “Hey, we want to win the J.D. Power award.” We’ve been focused on customer service for 20-plus years. I think, whether it’s our agents, or whether it’s our claims adjusters or whether it’s our employees in this building, we want to make sure that we’re providing that top-notch service. We realize that our premium may not always be the lowest, we hope it’s not the highest. And so if somebody is insured with us, they may pay a little extra because they know they are going to get that top-notch service from us anyway. I think it gives us edge.
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