West Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame (IIHOF) has announced this year’s inductees. This is the 25th anniversary of the Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees must have an Iowa connection, serve as a role model for young people as well as others in the insurance business, exhibit the highest standards of ethical conduct and have significantly impacted the insurance industry.
An induction ceremony for the 2022 honorees will be held at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18 at The Meadows Event Center in Altoona, Iowa. Registrations for the event are open until Oct. 11.
The 2022 inductees are:
Jim Armstrong, former Deputy Commissioner and Chief Examiner with the Iowa Insurance Division
Jim Armstrong had a 25-year career with the Iowa Insurance Division, and took the role of deputy commissioner and chief examiner in 2002. He has also earned much respect for his thoughtful leadership with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and his deep understanding of financial issues.
He was a respected regulator, not only in Iowa but nationally. His work maintaining the solvency of the Iowa industry while navigating new type 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 the process was hailed as outstanding. He is known for his thoughtful leadership and understanding of financial issues.
Dan Houston, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Principal Financial Group
Dan Houston joined Principal in 1984 in Dallas. He has held several management 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 chair of the American Council of Life Insurers, whose 280 member companies represent 95 percent of industry assets in the U.S., advocating on their behalf.
Houston is chair of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails initiative and serves on several boards, including Business Round-table, Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), Iowa State University Business School Dean’s Advisory Council, Future Ready Iowa and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).
In October 2021, the Greater Des Moines Committee named Houston to the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in recognition of his significant contributions to the enhancement and development of the state’s economy.
Houston has appeared before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging to discuss the importance of educating the workforce about financial needs in retirement. He joined the joint forum of U.S. Senate Committees on Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to discuss “Private-Sector Retirements Savings Plans: What Does the Future Hold?” and is the author of a chapter in “The Upside of Aging” (John Wiley & Sons, 2014) on keys to achieving financial security in retirement.
Steve Rasmussen, former Chief Executive Officer, Nationwide
Steve Rasmussen has had a 45-year career at the Nationwide family of companies. Prior to 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 he served as president and chief operating officer. He joined Allied in 1974.
Steve previously served as a board member of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, American Electric Power, Catalyst, OhioHealth, where he also served as board chair, the National Urban League, the Insurance Information Institute, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Columbus Metropolitan Library, trustee for Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa, and as co-chair for the United Way of Central Ohio Alexis de Tocqueville Vingt-Cinq Society campaign. He was also a member of the Columbus Partnership, an organization focused on economic development and downtown Columbus revitalization. Steve and his wife, Cindy, served as co-chairs of the 2012 United Way of Central Ohio campaign.
Steve earned his degree from the University of Iowa and holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.
Ellen Willadsen, Chief Innovation Officer, Holmes Murphy & Associates
Ellen Willadsen joined Holmes Murphy in 1995. During her more than 27 years with the company, she’s played a key role in increasing Holmes Murphy’s profitability and igniting innovation and growth within the company and the industry. From 1995 to 2021, Willadsen served as chief financial officer (CFO), assisting in all strategic and tactical matters related to budget management, evaluation of potential acquisitions, cost benefit analysis, and Holmes Murphy’s overall vision of growth.
When Willadsen joined Holmes Murphy in 1995, the company had six owners, none of whom were women. During her tenure, she has grown the enterprise to more than 200 employee-owners, roughly one-third of whom are women — a testament to Willadsen’s mentorship.
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 (as the first female on the committee) and Board of Directors, as well as on the perpetuation, compensation, and audit committees, providing insight and helping make informed decisions that affect the entire company. In 2021, Ellen transitioned to the role of chief innovation officer (CIO) and serves as Holmes Murphy’s executive sponsor for BrokerTech Ventures.
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About the IIHOF – The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame was founded in 1997 to recognize outstanding contributions to the Iowa insurance industry. A selection committee evaluates nominations on standards including ethics and impact on the industry. The Iowa Insurance Hall of Fame is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and donations can be tax deductible. Learn more at www.iihof.org.