July 10, 2012

Western National Announces Surety Expansion and New Surety Hire Mark Hewitt

(Minneapolis, Minn.) Western National Insurance Group (WNIG) of Edina, Minn., today announced that Mark S. Hewitt will be joining the Company as Assistant Vice President – Surety, effective immediately.

Mr. Hewitt has over 23 years of surety experience, including underwriting roles at Great American Insurance Company and American States Insurance Company, and most recently as Director, Underwriting- Surety at Contractors Bonding & Insurance Company (an RLI company).  A graduate of the University of Cincinnati (B.B.A.) and Gonzaga University (M.B.A.), he has also attained the industry designations of CPCU, AFSB, and AIM.

At the same time, joining Mr. Hewitt will be Theresa L. Smith as Assistant Regional Manager and Gracie G. Padilla as Commercial Surety Marketing Underwriter.  Ms. Smith and Ms. Padilla have over 22 years and 15 years of surety experience, respectively.  The new Southwestern regional surety office will be a full service commercial and contract surety operation offering independent insurance agents a one-stop solution for most of their surety bond needs.

“We are very pleased to be able to add an individual of Mark's quality and leadership talents to our Surety operation along with the rest of the team," said Stuart Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Western National. “We look forward to drawing on his knowledge and experience to continue accelerating the growth of our contract and commercial surety products in the Southwestern U.S."

Western National Insurance Group, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of seven active companies serving the property-and-casualty insurance needs of individuals, families, and businesses. Written premium as of December 30, 2011 was $314.4 million, on Policyholder Surplus of $269.6 million and Assets of $689.7 million. The group’s products are sold exclusively through professional independent agents in 17 states in the Midwestern, Northwestern, and Southwestern U.S.

The Group’s lead company, Western National Mutual Insurance Company has a Federal T-Listing of $26,960,000 and is currently licensed for surety in 16 states.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Norman, AIT

Director of Communications

(952) 921–5680 or (800) 862–6070 Ext. 7680