April 17, 2012
Good morning. Welcome to our annual Shareholders’ meeting. As always, this is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face to share what we’ve achieved, and provide insight into where we’re headed.
The last few years have been challenging ones for every player in the global economy – for business owners, customers, employees, job seekers – investors. The unprecedented stresses on the economy have made it necessary for all businesses to operate outside of their comfort zone. That makes it all the more gratifying that in 2011 we continued to grow profit for the fourth straight year and outpaced the industry in premium growth.
I was reminded of this recently while on vacation. Some of you know I’m a certified scuba diver – something I took up about 15 years ago. I’ve done many recreational dives in depths up to a hundred feet. On this trip, I was invited by a fellow diver to do what’s called “diving the wall.”
In effect, it’s no different than other kinds of scuba diving -- but when you swim off the ledge of the reef and descend the wall, the depth is not a hundred feet -- IT’S closer to a thousand. I was swimming into “the deep” and what I felt in that moment was certainly not comfort. And yet, I was highly motivated to experience the thrill of the incredible underwater sights around me. Read the full speech
Like Terry, I enjoy the beauty and the mystery of the sea.
Oh, don’t worry -- you’re not going to see me in scuba gear anytime soon – promise.
When I think of the Ocean, I really understand what compelled Terry to dive that wall. He was out to find something special.
In essence, that’s just what our co-founders were doing when they were planning their new insurance company – diving the wall to find something unique and extraordinary. The Little ‘ole ERIE was going to be special, defined by the superior service it offered its customers.
In 1966, H.O. Hirt writes in the Bulletin:
…our Policyholders and Claimants do spread the word in their communities that The ERIE is the best – that it is something special – not just another insurance company like all the rest. We have in our files tens of thousand of letters bearing witness to our superior service by people who have experienced it…
And at the Company’s 50th anniversary celebration, H.O. Hirt said to Employees and Agents and others gathered, “There isn’t another Company on earth quite like The ERIE.”
He knew – that together with O.G. Crawford and ERIE Employees and Agents, he created something truly special.
It’s a legacy we’re proud to uphold. Our Customers depend on us to be there to help make things right again – in some cases, to help rebuild their lives. After all, this is our promise to them and maintaining our financial strength year after year enables us to keep that promise.
Read the full speech