Gerald D. Stephens, CPCUBack to
Chairman of the Board
An alumnus of Peoria High School, Gerald Stephens graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1955 with an undergraduate in insurance. After serving in the U.S. Army, he received his CPCU designation in 1960. From 1958 to 1969, he was vice president of H.O. Stephens & Son, Co., a family-owned retail insurance agency.
After being fitted with contact lenses, Gerald recognized the expense of replacing contact lenses, and founded RLI — Replacement Lens, Inc. — a contact lens insurance agency in 1961. 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. 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. RLI flourished under Stephens’ leadership and he was instrumental in the company’s growth. In 2011he retired as chairman of the board of RLI Corp., after a successful and rewarding career of innovation.