of Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame has 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 considered, candidates must have a connection to Iowa, serve as a role model to young people as well as others in the insurance business, exhibit the highest standards of ethical behavior, and influence important in the insurance industry. The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame was established 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 inductees are:
Former deputy commissioner and chief examiner with the Iowa Division of Insurance
Jim Armstrong had a more than 35-year career with the Iowa Division of Insurance and assumed the role of deputy commissioner and chief examiner in 2002. He has also earned much respect for his thought leadership with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and his deep understanding of financial matters. He was a respected regulator, not only in Iowa, but nationally. His work on maintaining the solvency of Iowa’s industry while navigating new types of insurance ownership through private equity is the standard for regulatory oversight. Armstrong also played a key role in the successful demutualization of Principal Financial Group and his leadership in this process was hailed as outstanding. He was known for his thought leadership and understanding of financial matters. Armstrong retired from the Iowa Division of Insurance in 2020.
Chairman, president and CEO, Principal Financial Group
Dan Houston joined Principal in 1984 in Dallas. He has held several leadership 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 Underwriters, which advocates on behalf of 280 member companies representing 95% of assets of the US insurance industry. He is chairman of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails Initiative and serves on several boards, including the Business Roundtable, the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the Iowa State University School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Iowa future-ready and the Partnership for a Healthier America. In October, the Greater Des Moines Committee named Houston to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in recognition of his significant contributions to the improvement and development of the state’s economy.
Former CEO, Nationwide
Steve Rasmussen has had a 45-year career with the Nationwide family of companies. Before being named CEO of Nationwide in February 2009, Rasmussen was president and chief operating officer of the company’s property and casualty insurance division from 2003 to 2009. He first joined Nationwide in 1998 as a result of the merger with Allied Insurance, where 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, too. as a trustee for Grand View College in Des Moines. He earned his degree from the University of Iowa and holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.
CChief Innovation Officer, Holmes Murphy & Associates
Ellen Willadsen joined Holmes Murphy in 1995. During her more than 27 years with the company, she has played a key role in increasing Holmes Murphy’s profitability and sparking innovation and growth within the company and the industry. From 1995 to 2021, Willadsen was the chief financial officer, assisting in all strategic and tactical matters related to budget management, evaluation of potential acquisitions, cost benefit analysis and the overall growth vision of Holmes Murphy. When she joined Holmes Murphy in 1995, the company had six owners, none of whom were women. During her tenure, she has helped the company grow to more than 200 employee-owners, approximately one-third of whom are women—a testament to Mentoring Willadsen. Under her leadership as CFO, her visionary thinking and monetary growth projections, 190 employees have grown 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 board of directors, as well as on the perpetuation, compensation and audit committees, providing insight and helping to make informed decisions that affect the entire company. In 2021, Willadsen moved into 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 Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Meadows Event Center in Altoona. Registration for the event is open until October 11.