RLI Corp. Chairman Gerald D. Stephens, CPCU (left) and RLI Corp. President & CEO Jonathan E. Michael in front of RLI’s headquarters in 1998

A History of Innovation

RLI’s history of innovation dates to the early 1960s, when Founder Gerald D. Stephens, CPCU,  recognized the expense of replacing contact lenses, and founded RLI — Replacement Lens, Inc. — a contact lens insurance agency. In 1965, he acquired the holding company that would later become RLI Corp. RLI was one of the first insurers of contact lenses. In time, it emerged as the largest insurer of its kind in the world.

Building upon this success, RLI soon charted a course that would dramatically affect its future. RLI entered the commercial property and liability insurance field and expanded into the direct writing of a commercial umbrella program.

RLI Insurance Company, our flagship insurance subsidiary; Mt. Hawley Insurance Company, our multi-line excess and surplus lines subsidiary; and RLI Indemnity Company, admitted in most states; are all rated ‘‘A+’’ by A.M. Best Company. Through them, the company has developed a reputation for profitably covering difficult risks typically eschewed by larger multi-line insurers. Our record of success can be traced to our underwriting, claims and support personnel, noted for their expertise in specialized insurance products and segments. Characteristic throughout the Company is a seasoned entrepreneurial spirit inspired by the fundamentals that guide insurance success. The company’s reputation for original products, superior service and aggressive implementation of cutting-edge technology is known nationwide. In short, RLI remains a model of fundamentally sound innovation for the insurance industry.

Entrepreneurial innovation launched a fledgling company. A dedication to solid fundamentals ensured its maturation into the savvy enterprise it is today. The foundation for tomorrow’s success lies in our people. As each one of us owns a piece of the business, we cooperate to achieve the growth, expansion and diversification necessary to write the next proud chapter of RLI history.


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