I promised myself not to return to this Board because, for the most part, posters to this Board seem prone to enjoy extolling the virtues of Sigi without reservation.
Well, at one point in time Selective was a fine, shareholder concerned, Agent concerned, and employee concerned company. Right now, it's a disgrace.
It is run by a man who could care less about any of the concerns aforementioned, and seeks only to aggrandize his own pockets and those of his vest pocket sinecures on HIS Board of Directors.
Just a smidgeon of the shameful pork dispensed by this Board to its members:
On 8-14, one member of the Board exercised options to buy 6,000 shares at a cost of $45,702.00, then sold them the same day for $98,612.00, a cool profit of over $50,000.00! The same Director was given Grants of 1023 shares on 4-1-09 and 952 shares on 7-1-09. Grants are no cost giveaways!!
This Director thinks so much of the company and its future she sold her stock the same day she received the shares.
We all can see how much she has contributed to the company. Just check its progress over the years she's been a Director.
Of course there are going to be those rising to the defense of such pork barrel spending of shareholder interests, by pointing out that it is universally done in corporate America. That just makes it all the more shameful, especially in these times where average working men and women are hurting as are SIGI shareholders.
What should SIGI have done or any other such guilty corporation? Quite simple. Discontinue such pork barrel spending until the company produces results justifying such expenditures.
This is the kind of stuff that Socialists like Barney Frank jump all over to justify their cockeyed ideas for more government control over Corporate America!!
For all my shareholdings I've have been carefully reviewing all my proxy materials, particularly the descriptions of each Director. I then vote against each Director that seems to have no real business or entrepenurial experience, of hasn't held any real job in a company for at least a five year stretch(NO on Corporate job hoppers), likewise vote NO when they sit on a lot of other boards, seem to have no permanent job at all(directors of a charity are an example of no real job) or just seem to be a croney of management (such as runs the private school the Chairmans childeren go to as was the case for Disney, or is the daughter who inherited ownership of a Spanish Newspaper printed in Los Angeles also a Disney Director) I vote for Directors who have clearly listed success in the field of business the Company is involved in(particularly valuable is the person who actually started a business from scratch and has run it successfully for some time, such as an Insurance Agent in the case of SIGI). I believe that in these times of economic hardship it is very important to qualify the value recieved for the financial outlay incurred. So do vote against these Directors at proxy time. I notice that shareholder proposals are getting greater percentages of votes then I've ever seen before.
While I applaud the due diligence you are giving to examining the qualifications of individuals to serve on Boards, I think that your focus on their experience in the particular industry, such as insurance for SIGI, is a little too narrow.
I think that it is more important to consider the special competencies or skills that they will add to the Board. For example, the CIO of a firm from another industry may bring technology/automation expertise, a partner from an accounting firm may bring auditing and enterprise risk management expertise, the President of a College may bring great insight into how to market to and manage the next generation.
Eliminate the "cronies" and individuals who add nothing to the oversight responsibility of the Board, but carefully consider those who may bring a fresh outside perspective and much needed capabilities to the Board.