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Columbus, Ohio-based insurer SafeAuto has been a family-owned and operated business for 19 years, but on Aug. 13 an outside executive will take the reins as CEO—Ron Davies, who most recently served as Senior Vice President of Product Management at Allstate. (Founders Ari Deshe, chairman & CEO, and Jon Diamond, president & COO, will remain on the carrier’s board of directors.) Davies spoke with NU about his challenges as the new boss and how his extensive military background influences his decisions as an insurance executive.

Before beginning your civilian career, you served as an armor officer, platoon leader and a battalion and brigade operations officer in the U.S. Army. What was it that drew you to insurance, and how does your military background inform your decision-making as an insurance executive?

I was drawn to insurance while working in the real estate field with a large, national multifamily company. We were working on ways to reduce the cash new tenants needed to have in order to rent an apartment—this cash requirement was at times a barrier to renting. I came across the idea of using insurance instead of cash security deposits. That idea led me to co-found a company to offer security-deposit alternatives to large, multifamily property owners.

From there I was fascinated by insurance as my analytical side mixed with learnings around how to market and make products easier to use and understand for consumers. Insurance is one of the few products where we learn about our “cost of goods sold” after the fact, which causes us to always be looking backward at the business we just sold as well as forward in terms of what to continue to sell or price next.

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Shawn Moynihan

Shawn Moynihan is Editor-in-Chief of National Underwriter Property & Casualty. A St. John’s University alum, Moynihan has earned 11 Jesse H. Neal Awards, the Pulitzers of the business press; seven Azbee Awards, from the American Society of Business Press Editors; two Folio Awards; and a SABEW award, from the Society of American Business Editors & Writers. Prior to joining ALM, he served as Managing Editor/Online Editor of journalism institution Editor & Publisher, the trade bible of the newspaper industry. Moynihan also has held editorial positions with AOL, Metro New York, and Newhouse Newspapers. He can be reached at [email protected]

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