Stephen S. Rasmussen, 74BBA, plays an important role as head of a Fortune 100 insurance company, but he still finds time to stay connected to his alma mater through generous acts of philanthropy.
Now the chief executive officer of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Rasmussen first became involved with the insurance industry at the University of Iowa, where he earned a bachelor's degree in insurance in 1974 and forged a close connection with Emmett J. Vaughan, a professor and mentor who helped launch Rasmussen's remarkable career.
After graduation, Rasmussen—who holds the chartered property casualty underwriter designation—joined Allied Insurance and served in a variety of roles, including executive vice president for product management, vice president for underwriting, regional vice president for the Pacific coast region, and president and chief operating officer. Soon after Allied Insurance merged into Nationwide Mutual Insurance in 1998, the organization named Rasmussen to lead its entire property and casualty insurance operation.
Thanks to his drive, professionalism, and talents, Nationwide successfully expanded its Des Moines operations and created thousands of jobs—and, in 2009, Rasmussen accepted the role as chief executive officer of the Nationwide family of companies. Since then, the native Iowan has helped Nationwide enhance its growth and profits to become a top 10 provider in most of its property and casualty and financial services businesses.
Throughout his career, Rasmussen remained a Hawkeye at heart, and he helped secure a $1.5 million pledge from Allied Insurance to establish the UI's Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance and continue the university's positive impact on the industry. Additionally, he proved instrumental in the negotiation of Nationwide's first significant contribution to the Vaughan Institute and was the driving force in renaming the company's Des Moines training center in honor of his influential UI professor.
Far more than a UI philanthropist, Rasmussen is also an active civic leader in Iowa and in Ohio, where Nationwide has its headquarters. He currently serves on numerous boards, including Nationwide Children's Hospital; the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation; the Columbus Metropolitan Library; the Columbus Partnership; and OhioHealth, a leading nonprofit hospital and healthcare organization, where he was recently named chairman. He also is a former trustee of Grand View College in Des Moines and past co-chair of the United Way of Central Ohio Alexis de Tocqueville Vingt-Cinq Society campaign. Nationally, he has been a board member for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Urban League.
Says Therese M. Vaughan, the daughter of his mentor and former CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners: "Steve is a particularly thoughtful advocate for good public solutions to address challenging problems in insurance markets. He is a recognized industry leader who challenges the industry to do its best."
Most deserving of this description, Stephen S. Rasmussen is an exemplary corporate and community citizen who has elevated his field and the University of Iowa.