The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame announced this year’s inductees who will be honored at an induction ceremony scheduled for Oct. 18 in Altoona. This is the 25th year of the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees must have ties to Iowa, serve as role models to young people as well as others in the insurance business, exhibit the highest standards of ethical behavior, and have had a significant impact on the insurance industry. The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 to recognize outstanding contributions to the state’s insurance industry. A selection committee evaluates nominations on standards including ethics and industry impact.
The 2022 recruits are:
Wellor formerly Deputy Commissioner and Chief Examiner of the Iowa Department of Insurance
Jim Armstrong had a more than 35-year career with the Iowa Department of Insurance and assumed the role of Deputy Commissioner and Chief Examiner in 2002. He also earned great respect for his thoughtful leadership at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and his deep understanding of financial questions. He was a respected regulator not only in Iowa, but throughout the country. His work in maintaining the solvency of Iowa’s industry while navigating new types of insurance ownership through private equity is a standard for regulatory oversight. Armstrong also played a key role in the successful demutualization of Principal Financial Group and his leadership in the process was hailed as outstanding. He was known for his careful leadership and understanding of financial matters. Armstrong retired from the Iowa Department of Insurance in 2020.
Chairman, President and CEO, Principal Financial Group
Dan Houston joined the principal in 1984 in Dallas. He has held several management positions: Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President and President of Retirement and Income Solutions. He was named president and chief operating officer in 2014 before assuming his current role in 2015. In 2020, Houston served as chairman of the American Council of Life Insurers, which advocates on behalf of 280 member companies representing 95 % of US insurance industry assets. He chairs the Greater Des Moines Water Trails Initiative and serves on several boards, including the Business Roundtable, Employee Benefits Research Institute, Iowa State University Business School Advisory Council, Future Ready Iowa, and the Partnership for a Healthier America. In October, the Greater Des Moines Committee nominated Houston to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in recognition of its significant contributions to the improvement and development of the state’s economy.
Former CEO, Nationwide
Steve Rasmussen has a 45-year career with the Nationwide family of companies. Prior to being named CEO of Nationwide in February 2009, Rasmussen was president and chief operating officer of the company’s property and casualty division from 2003 to 2009. He first joined Nationwide in 1998 .as a result of the merger with Allied Insurance, where he was president and chief operating officer. He joined Allied in 1974. Rasmussen has served on numerous boards, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital, American Electric Power, Catalyst, OhioHealth, the National Urban League, the Insurance Information Institute, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the Columbus Metropolitan Library, as well as as a trustee of Grand View College in Des Moines. He received his degree from the University of Iowa and is a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter.
° СChief Innovation Officer, Holmes Murphy & Associates
Ellen Willadsen joined Holmes Murphy in 1995. During her more than 27 years with the company, she played a key role in increasing Holmes Murphy’s profitability and fueling innovation and growth within the company and the industry. From 1995 to 2021 Viladsen was Chief Financial Officer, supporting all strategic and tactical matters related to budget management, evaluation of potential acquisitions, cost-benefit analysis and Holmes Murphy’s overall vision for growth. When she joined Holmes Murphy in 1995, the company had six owners, none of whom were women. During her tenure, she has helped the business grow to more than 200 employee-owners, approximately one-third of whom are women—a testament to Willadsen’s mentorship. Under her leadership as CFO, her visionary thinking and cash growth projections, 190 employees grew to more than 1,000. In recent years, Ellen served on the Holmes Murphy Executive Committee, where she was the first woman on the committee, and on the Board of Directors , as well as on the perpetuation, compensation and audit committees, providing insight and helping make informed decisions that affect the entire company. In 2021, Willadsen transitioned to the role of Chief Innovation Officer, and she is also Holmes Murphy’s Executive Sponsor for BrokerTech Ventures.
An induction ceremony for the 2022 honorees will be held at the Meadows Event Center in Altoona on October 18 at 5:00 p.m. Registration for the event is open until October 11.