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Federated’s chairman announces retirement

jeff fetters, retirement, federated

Long-time Chairman of the Federated Insurance Companies, Jeffrey E. Fetters, announced his planned retirement at the end of 2024 during the 120th Annual Policyholders Meeting held in Owatonna on April 16. Fetters has served as chairman since 2012 and been with the organization for nearly 45 years.

“My decision to retire comes following a five-year succession planning process in which I worked with our distinguished Board of Directors to ensure that our Executive Staff is extremely well prepared to guide our organization into an even brighter future,” Fetters stated. “It is time for this next generation of leaders to take the reins. I am especially pleased to share that, at my strong recommendation, the Board of Directors of the Federated Insurance Companies has unanimously approved the appointment of Nicholas R. Lower to be the next Chairman of Federated Insurance. Nick will assume his new duties as chairman, president and chief executive officer upon my retirement.”

An Indiana native and Ball State University graduate, Fetters joined Federated Insurance as a marketing representative in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 1980. He went on to hold all marketing management positions prior to being appointed executive vice president – director of insurance operations, chief operating officer and president, and then chief executive officer in 2009. He was appointed chairman on Dec. 1, 2012.

Among his many professional achievements, Fetters is credited with redefining Federated’s mission statement, developing the organization’s next generation of executive leadership, steering the company toward profitable growth, and reaffirming Federated’s commitment to providing value through risk management and remaining an association member benefit.

“During his 12 years as chairman, Jeff provided visionary leadership that drove Federated to achieve $2 billion in profitable property and casualty premium and has placed our organization in the best financial position of its 120-year history,” Federated’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Keller said.

Fetters and his late wife Marty served as co-chairs of the company’s annual fundraising event, the Federated Challenge, for more than a decade.

“Jeff and Marty’s passion for youth mentoring was the driving force for the event’s success each and every year,” said Julie Rethemeier, who retired as Federated’s vice president - director of public affairs and advertising earlier in 2024. “Their steadfast belief in the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission and results was infectious. They were positive role models who encouraged both Federated employees and Federated Challenge sponsors to get involved in mentoring our next generation. Their efforts had an undeniable impact and earned them many awards, while also pushing the Federated Challenge to become the largest private charity event in the state of Minnesota. Since its inception, the Federated Challenge has raised over $52 million for Big Brothers Sisters agencies in Minnesota and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which is truly inspiring!”

“I’ve had the privilege of working with CEOs across the globe for 42 years, and Jeff is arguably the best I’ve ever come across,” said Frank Harrison, chairman and CEO of Holborn, a global reinsurance intermediary and long-time sponsor of the Federated Challenge. “While his success in leading Federated in terms of growth and profitability speaks for itself, what truly sets him apart in my eyes is his intelligence; his down-to-earth relatable nature; and his deep care for Federated, its employees, and its policyholders. A passion for risk management and preventing losses is in his DNA, and the work he and Marty have done on behalf of the Federated Challenge in addition to his daily responsibilities leading Federated is nothing short of extraordinary. He will long be remembered!”

Fetters has also been a strong advocate for enhanced infrastructure throughout Owatonna over the years, and was instrumental in the $22 million donation to help fund construction of the new Owatonna High School. “Jeff has always instilled a strong sense of community pride in Federated’s Executive Staff,” President and CEO Nick Lower said. “He cares deeply for those in need, and his generosity extends beyond Federated’s impressive corporate giving, to his own personal

volunteerism and financial support of causes that improve the quality of life in our community and across the nation.”

Upon Fetters’ retirement, Nick Lower will become only the sixth chairman in the 120-year history of Federated Insurance. Lower is an Ohio native and Muskingum University graduate. He joined Federated in 1999 as a marketing representative and went on to serve in leadership roles in the organization’s marketing management, association risk management services, marketing incentives, and marketing administration departments. He became first vice president - director of marketing in June 2017 and senior vice president – director of insurance operations in December 2017. He was named executive vice president in 2019 and chief operating officer in 2021. Lower was then named president in 2023 and president – chief executive officer in January 2024.

Lower and his wife Jessica reside in Owatonna with their sons Trent and Grant. Together, the Lowers will assume the mantle of leadership for the Federated Challenge and carry forth Federated’s proud tradition of corporate citizenship, charitable giving, and community investment in its headquarter city of Owatonna and across the country.

“Throughout his 25-year Federated career, Nick has overseen nearly all Federated functions, and has invaluable experience and insight into our operations and industry. He has a proven ability to develop others and innovate while remaining true to our values, culture, and mission,” Fetters said. “The Board of Directors and I have complete and total confidence that Nick will be an outstanding Chairman and is well equipped to set forth the vision and steer our company to new heights.”

“It has been an honor to lead Federated Insurance during this important time in our history,” Fetters said. “I have cherished every minute and consider myself incredibly blessed to have had a place among a remarkable, century-long tradition of strong leaders and exceptional employees. Having full confidence that this tradition will continue, I will retire with a peaceful heart and the comforting knowledge that Federated’s best years are right in front of us.”

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