The insurance leaders who will be inducted into Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame are:
- Albert Falkenhainer, founder of Pharmacists Mutual (posthumously).
- John Forsyth, chairman and CEO of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
- J. Barry Griswell, retired chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group Inc.
- Jamie Krist, founder of the Krist Insurance Group of Iowa (posthumously).
- Dan Molyneaux, founder, Molyneaux Insurance Inc.
The inductees will be honored during the annual Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame dinner to be held May 18 at the Prairie Meadows Convention Center in Altoona. Reservations should be submitted by May 12 to Melissa Meiners at the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa at (515) 223-6060, ext. 15, or by emailing her at Melissa@IIAIowa.org.
About the inductees:
When a fire destroyed his Titonka drug store in 1902, pharmacist Albert Falkenhainer became frustrated by the loss settlement process and high premiums, and began looking for a better way to insure pharmacies. In 1908, he led a group of Iowa pharmacists to form a mutual druggist insurance company, which today operates in nearly every state as Pharmacists Mutual.
Falkenhainer’s pharmacy, established in 1898, was the first business and building in Titonka. He also organized the town’s government, built its first telephone exchange and organized its first bank and served as president. His talent for organization stretched far beyond his profession and his company. He founded and was first president of the Northwestern Pharmaceutical Society. Following World War I, he led the campaign for paved roads in Kossuth County. In his spare time he organized and was the first president of both the Algona Country Club and Algona Rotary Club and went on to be a national officer of Rotary. His civic involvement was always done quietly, with no desire for reward other than the betterment of his wide community of interests. He died in 1932 at age 57.
John Forsyth is chairman and CEO of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the largest health insurer in both Iowa and South Dakota, serving more than 2 million members. Forsyth joined Wellmark as CEO in August 1996 and was named chairman in 2000. During his tenure, he has repositioned Wellmark as a health improvement company dedicated to serving the people of Iowa and South Dakota. Under his leadership, Wellmark has achieved exceptional operating efficiencies and results. The health insurer’s medical trend and administrative costs now rank among the lowest in the nation, and membership has increased by more than 60 percent.
Before joining Wellmark, Forsyth worked in a variety of executive roles over a 26-year career with the University of Michigan. In 1985, he was named president and CEO of the University of Michigan Health System, one of the largest and most prestigious health systems in the nation. Forsyth has served as president of the Federation of Iowa Insurers and is a member of the Iowa Business Council, serving as chair of that organization in 2004. He has also chaired the board of directors of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, United Way of Central Iowa and the Variety Club Annual Telethon.
J. Barry Griswell
J. Barry Griswell, retired chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group, joined the Des Moines-based insurer in 1988 as agency vice president, responsible for directing the company’s personal life insurance sales and distribution division. Having already built a distinguished career at Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Griswell rose quickly through the ranks at Principal.
In 1998, Griswell became Principal’s president, and in 2000 he was promoted to the CEO position and then became chairman in 2002. Through the uncharted territory of taking Principal public in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to his calm, confident guidance navigating the economic crisis of 2008-09, Griswell played a key role in some of the industry’s most important days.
He held leadership positions in many industry and community organizations, including chair of the American Council of Life Insurers, chair of the United Way of America National Tocqueville Council, president of the Federation of Iowa Insurers, chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, chairman of LIMRA International and chair of the Life Underwriting Training Council Board of Trustees.After retiring from the insurance industry, he led the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines from 2008 to 2011 as its CEO, and he remains an avid voice for social responsibility and community service.
The founder of Krist Insurance Group of Iowa, Jamie Krist was known for his leadership, technical knowledge, exceptional business mind and tenacity, and he used them to create the highly successful agency that bears his name. The West Des Moines native passed away in 2015 at the age of 56.
Krist successfully represented many of the top Iowa and national carriers. He was also a lifetime student and a teacher of insurance and its many facets. Well-versed in both the life and property/casualty fields, he was a board member and chair of several committees of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, and the chair or board member of the advisory committees of several of the insurance companies he represented.
Not content with just a successful insurance career, Krist was equally committed to his community. He was active on the boards of the Iowa Heart Association, the Animal Rescue League and the Des Moines Mid City Vision Coalition. He gave his time freely to Junior Achievement. He was also an active member of the Des Moines Rotary Club, the Moingona Masonic Lodge and the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine. He also found time to serve on the board of the Moingona Girl Scouts. One of Krist’s greatest loves was that of a hockey coach and supporter. He was an executive committee member and vice president of the Des Moines Capitals high school hockey league, president of the Des Moines Roller Hockey Association and a certified hockey coach by both the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Hockey League.
Dan Molyneaux started selling insurance at his parents’ agency, Molyneaux Insurance in Davenport, in 1951 before he graduated from Iowa State University, and he has been on the payroll ever since. His enthusiasm for insurance led to the growth of the agency from a handful of employees in the ’50s to more than 25 today. Part of Molyneaux’s recipe for success has always been to talk with clients not about insurance but about their business and how a comprehensive risk management program can be a cornerstone to their success. He lived enterprise risk management before the term was popular.
He has always been an early adopter of innovative technology to make his agency’s employees more efficient and effective, and that appreciation for innovation led to consulting opportunities for other clients and organizations. He acted as the risk management consulting department for Arthur Anderson, and traveled throughout the country for several years providing a variety of risk management consulting services. He has been a lifelong member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Davenport and an active supporter of St. Paul’s School and Marycrest College and the golf tournament now known as the John Deere Classic.
At age 82, he is still active on a couple of accounts at the agency, which he sold to a group of four key employees, including two of his children, in 2005.