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USG Founder Gerald Horton Celebrates 50 Years in Insurance - 3/21/2016
Gerald W. Horton, the Founder and Chairman/CEO of USG Insurance Services, Inc. and insurance industry professional, celebrates 50 years in insurance. In 2001, Horton created the plan for the footprint, distribution, products, infrastructure, and technology of USG that continues to grow 15 years later. Horton began his career on June 21, 1965 in the billing department of Bituminous where he trained to become an auditor. He worked in the company’s home office in Rock Island, IL for about 1 ½ years before progressing to a field auditor position and transferring to their Baltimore, MD branch office. In October of 1969, Horton returned to Illinois, trained for two years to become an underwriter, and was transferred in 1971 to Milwaukee, WI. In 1974, Horton was promoted to Assistant Branch Manager of Milwaukee’s Underwriting Office. Several promotions later, and after 15 years with Bituminous, Horton accepted a position with Burns & Wilcox offered to him by the most influential person in his career: Herb Kaufmann. Horton held a position as Underwriter and worked his way through an assortment of titles during his 18+ year tenure, including Casualty Manager, Bond Manager, Transportation Manager, Underwriting Manager, Vice President, Senior Vice President, Executive Vice President, and Member of the Board of Directors. Horton resigned from Burns & Wilcox in 1999 and formed a partnership with Bob and Pat Erickson to form Universal Specialty Underwriters in Tampa, FL. During this time, they acquired offices in Palatine, IL and Canonsburg, PA, and opened offices in LA and MI. After two years, the partnership ended and USG was formed on January 1, 2001. The original production offices remained: Tampa, FL; Canonsburg, PA; Palatine, IL; Madison Heights, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; and Covington, LA. (Continued P. 2) Horton has created a successful, family-owned company that has outpaced industry growth metrics as it has evolved. As Horton celebrates 50 years in insurance, USG celebrates its 15th year. With 19 offices across the country and access to write in all 50 states, USG continues to expand operations nationwide while providing innovative solutions for the risk management industry. Get to know more about Gerald Horton and USG’s beginnings in the Q&A below: What do you consider your biggest achievement? “Financing the start-up of USG and growing the franchise in a difficult market. I’m proud to say we have never lost money since day one.” If you hadn’t started in the insurance business, what other career would you have most likely gotten into? “I have no idea: life is chaotic, who knows what opportunities might have come my way.” What is the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry? “Learning business accounting on the fly.” What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the insurance business? “Develop strong business relationships and don't burn any bridges. As you go along, you never know who will be your sponsor in years to come.” What is the one characteristic you believe every leader should possess? “Respect for others.” If you could start your career over, what would you most like to change? “I would start USG 10 years earlier.” What is most rewarding to you after 50 years in the business? “A successful legacy shared by my family and business associates.”