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The 1970s

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As State Auto approached the half-century mark, the company had grown to more than 800 employees, with more than $90 million in premium income and more than half a million policyholders.

1971 State Auto celebrated its 50th anniversary. Gasoline was cheap and large, gas-guzzling autos owned the roadways. The first surge of Baby Boomers began buying homes and starting families. State Auto continued to grow. Premium writings totaled $127.7 million; assets were $370.1 million. In March, ground was broken for the Cleveland Branch Office, built to accommodate 70 employees. State Auto joins Insurance Services Office (ISO).

1972 Numerous changes took place with top management personnel. Newer, faster computers were installed to enable State Auto to retrieve "information from its 256,000 core positions in 540 nanoseconds.” New coverages, including rental reimbursement, were introduced.

1974 Ned Neutzling was elected president and chief operating officer. After a devastating tornado hit Xenia, Ohio, in April, State Auto issued public relation advisories to agents declaring, "Let us cooperate to make sure that no policyholder is disadvantaged because we failed to recommend the proper action."

1975 A 34,200-sq. ft. addition to the home office was completed. Hyperinflation drove insurance premiums upward at unparalleled rates. Consumer education campaigns and safety initiatives were launched to help ease the distressed public.

1977 George Massar replaced Neutzling as president and chief operating officer. Columbus Security Life was launched to provide agents with new products and profit centers. Policy Management Systems implemented homeowner processing, with auto the following year.

1979 Robert L. (Bob) Bailey was named director of product services and distribution, as State Auto recognized the need to coordinate and market profitable growth with agency partners. State Auto introduced Agency Information Management System (AIMS), achieving national recognition.


At left: A January 2, 1972, article from the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch recognizing State Auto's 50th year of operation.

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