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Donegal's top exec to retire

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Donald H. Nikolaus is stepping down in September as president and CEO of Donegal Mutual Insurance Co. after 37 years at the helm.

Taking his place is Kevin Burke, who has been acting CEO since October after Nikolaus took a medical leave of absence.

Burke is president and CEO of Donegal Group Inc. and has served as executive vice president and COO of Donegal Mutual Insurance since 2014 and in other positions at the company since 2000.

"Don Nikolaus took the helm as president of Donegal Mutual Insurance Company in 1981 and led the development of the Company from a one-state mutual insurance company writing approximately $30 million in annual direct premiums to the lead company of the Donegal Insurance Group, which today includes eleven insurance companies serving 26 states and writing approximately $1 billion in annual direct premiums. On behalf of our board of directors, we thank Don for his many years of dedicated service and expert leadership," Burke said in a statement.

Nikolaus will continue to serve as chairman of the boards of directors of Donegal Mutual and the subsidiaries of Donegal Mutual and Donegal Group, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission report filed by the company June 8. He also will work as a consultant to the companies and their boards.

Donegal Mutual Insurance is a property and casualty insurance carrier based in East Donegal Township, Lancaster County. Donegal Mutual holds a controlling interest in Donegal Group.

Donegal Mutual Insurance and the insurance subsidiaries of Donegal Group conduct business together as the Donegal Insurance Group.

The Donegal Insurance Group operates in 26 Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, New England, southern and southwestern states.

Donegal Mutual and Donegal Group together own Donegal Financial Services Corp., a holding company that operates Union Community Bank, based in Mount Joy.

According to its most recent earnings report, Donegal Group had a net loss of $18.2 million in the first quarter of 2018, down from net income of $5 million in the first quarter of 2017. 

"The 2018 first quarter was a unique period in which weather-related and large fire losses were significantly higher than our historical experience," Burke said in a statement in April. "We also encountered continuing challenges within our personal and commercial automobile business lines that led to significant reserve strengthening actions during the period. This unusual confluence of factors adversely impacted our quarterly financial results, and we are taking immediate steps to address the underlying causes."

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Shelby White

Shelby White covers banking and finance, law and Lancaster County for the Central Penn Business Journal. For tips, email her at swhite@cpbj.com.

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Don Meincke June 12, 2018 8:02 pm

I have worked for Donegal for 17 years and had the privilege of reporting directly to Mr. Nikolaus for about 6 years. He was a wonderful Manager and mentor and helped me become a stronger and smarter Manager. He is also witty and has a great sense of humor. He led the company to unbelievable success. I will miss him.

Phil June 11, 2018 6:09 pm

Interesting, just working on a personal injury case that this company came up in my research.

Paul June 11, 2018 3:59 pm

Good riddance.

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