10:43 AM

American Family elects Bill Westrate as company president

Jessie Stauffacher succeeds Westrate as chief operating officer


The American Family Insurance board of directors has elected Bill Westrate as president and Jessie Stauffacher as chief operating officer.

The board of directors of American Family Insurance Mutual Holding Company has elected Bill Westrate, formerly chief operating officer (COO), as the company’s president. Jessie Stauffacher moves from chief administration officer to COO to succeed Westrate.

Westrate assumes the president’s role from Jack Salzwedel, who remains as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO). Salzwedel, who had held the president title since the retirement of Dan Schultz in 2014, recommended Westrate’s promotion to the board.

As president, Westrate will lead the growth and evolution of American Family’s strong agency business. “Bill’s built terrific relationships with our agents, has exceptional knowledge of our company, and is a successful advocate of proactive change and innovation to benefit our customers,” Salzwedel said.

Westrate has been American Family COO since 2014. He started with the company in 1996 as an actuarial analyst and earned promotions to actuarial manager, homeowners lines director, and risk pricing director. In 2006, he was elected Actuarial Division vice president and in 2008, he was named Personal Lines vice president. In 2011, he became an executive vice president before becoming COO.

Stauffacher will serve as agency COO, overseeing operations of American Family brand products and services offered through the agent channel. Fabian Fondriest is president of American Family Direct, the company’s direct distribution arm, and chief executive officer of Homesite Group, a national direct property-casualty insurer based in Boston, Massachusetts.

“These changes strengthen our unique position in the industry – one with a talented and exclusive agency force and a leading multiline, direct offering. No one is there – multi-product and multi-channel. We will be,” Salzwedel said.

Stauffacher began her American Family career in 2004 as a senior financial analyst. Her positions have included planning and metrics manager, executive administration director, internal audit director, and vice president/chief of staff for the CEO. In 2016, she was named chief administration officer.

About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance, celebrating its 90th anniversary in Oct. 2017, is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 315 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter