Paul Steiner, former president of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, died Feb. 28. Steiner, 92, became company president in 1971 and served as chairman and president from 1974 to 1994. He served on the company’s board of directors for nearly 40 years, from his appointment in 1968 to his retirement as an honorary director in 2009. Steiner chaired the board from 1974 to 2000.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, their four children, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Under Steiner’s leadership, Brotherhood Mutual grew financially strong, established its reputation as a church insurer and set the path for the company’s current growth. Steiner’s passion for professionalism and providing outstanding service to ministry customers are two hallmarks of his 23-year presidency, according to a statement sent out by Brotherhood Mutual, headquartered at 6400 Brotherhood Way, Fort Wayne.
“Paul was an amazing leader who never forgot the mission,” Mark Robison, chairman and president of Brotherhood Mutual, said in the statement. “To me, he was a boss, an advisor, and a friend. He will be greatly missed.“
Steiner was 35 when he joined Brotherhood Mutual as a home office representative in 1964. In 1965, he was appointed to lead the company’s new claims department. A few months later, Steiner experienced the worst property catastrophe in the company’s history: the Palm Sunday tornadoes in April 1965. Nearly 40 tornadoes raked across Indiana and Ohio in one day, causing more than $1 million in damage to insured homes, businesses and churches.
In 1968, Steiner was appointed vice president and treasurer, and he joined the company’s board of directors. In 1971, he became president, and in 1974, chairman and president. Upon his retirement in December 1994, Steiner served five more years as chairman of the board. He continued serving on the board until 2009, first as a director and then as an honorary director.
A believer in continuing education, Steiner was the first Brotherhood Mutual employee to complete the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 1972. He was active in the local and national chapters of the CPCU Society, serving on the society’s national ethics committee.
Steiner played an active role in the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), eventually becoming chairman of the board. NAMIC awarded a Steiner a Merit Award in 1973.
He was a past president of the Mutual Insurance Companies Association of Indiana, a past treasurer of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a past president of the Fort Wayne Rotary Club. He was a trustee emeritus of Taylor University and was named a Distinguished Friend of the university in 1998.
Under his leadership, Brotherhood Mutual began developing specialized insurance products for churches. In doing so, it became established as a major force in insuring churches in America.
About 40 employees worked at Brotherhood Mutual when Steiner joined the company. By 1980, that number had grown to about 100. That’s when Brotherhood Mutual bought nearly 40 acres of farmland and moved its corporate headquarters to its current location along Interstate 69 in Fort Wayne. Today, the company employs more than 500 people and the building is undergoing its fourth expansion.