Normally, each month, I give you a technical critique on some Workers’ Comp issue or provide an update on company financials. Often, our members ask me about an update on the Members’ Dividend Program. Since the Member’s dividends were delivered in March and we’re still early in the year to give any financial predictions of 2017, I thought I might use this time to tell you about my upcoming four-year anniversary as President of MTM.
At the annual meeting, I often start out by telling you about the amazing MTM staff. Our employees at MTM, on average, have been with the company for over 20 years. In fact, a statement I often use at the annual meeting is, in 2017, we had no new hires, 2016, no new hires, 2015, no new hires, 2014, no new hires, and I was the last new hire when Gary Wood retired in 2013. Pretty amazing to say that we have had no staff turnover in four years. And the last staff turnovers we have had have all been because of retirements. This staff stability means that you have been dealing with Glenda for over 35 years, you’ve been dealing with Chris for 25 years, you’ve been working with Donna for 25 years. And I could go on. You know the managers and staff members of MTM very well.
The same stability applies to the MTM Board. Eight of our 10 Board members have 1been with the company for 15 years or more. A few of them have over 25 years of experience with MTM. The Board has been committed to member needs and yet gives the insurance professionals latitude to do what we do best. I am appreciative at every meeting for the guidance they provide the MTM management team.
There’s no surprise that with the vision of the Board and the insurance expertise of staff that the results have been remarkable. In my four years, we’ve seen the member count increase by 24%. We’ve seen the financial stability, as measured by surplus, increase 149%. At the same time we increased the member surplus of the company, we have returned $9.5 million in owner dividends. These outstanding results are possible because of the three-legged stool: loyal membership, a good Board, and a technically-competent staff.
On the personal side, one of the reasons I have been able to focus on company issues is that family issues have been minor and rare. My wife Patty has been tolerant of me for 42 years. What most people do not know is that not only did Patty and I date through college, but she also chased me in the kindergarten playground. Of course, she was much bigger than I was and, therefore, could out run me. But I have pictures of this event and can say in a small town of Boring, Oregon, she did not select me, because of any wonderful attributes, but because in a tiny town – I was probably a high rating “pick”. The Karlen family includes my son who is very tall, very blonde, and very smart. Therefore, I have no genetic ties to him whatsoever. He is an electrical engineer/patent attorney in Seattle and London. Ten years behind Little John is my daughter, Laura. She just graduated from Western Michigan in Integrated Supply Management and will soon be off the family payroll as she starts her job with Rolls-Royce.
So, you have a little bit of an update on the company results over the last four years and a little more of a picture of my family. I have to say it has been a fun and quick-paced four years for me at MTM. I expect much like the recent past, for the next few years the pace will stay the same (or even speed up) and that the challenges will likely be similar.
I am looking forward to a couple long summer weekends and, in the meantime, will greatly enjoy visiting and touring your shops.