James “Cliff” O’Donnell was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on May
17, 1934. He began his career in the insurance industry at Metropolitan
Life. After seven years serving life insurance policyholders in
Milwaukee WI, he returned to Chippewa Falls at the age of 29 where he
began his town mutual career as an office manager at Eagle Point Mutual
Insurance Company. Following his father’s retirement, he was elected to
the Board of Directors and became Secretary of the company.
While living in Chippewa Falls, O’Donnell was active in many civic
organizations including the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Chippewa Falls Board of
Education, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Chamber of
Commerce and the First United Presbyterian Church. In December of 1966
he was appointed to the board of directors of Wisconsin Town Mutual
Reinsurance Company. In 1968 he was elected President of the Board and
held that position until 1982 when he became President and CEO of a
reorganized and renamed Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation.
His awards include being named one of Wisconsin’s Five Outstanding Young
Men, WAMIC Man of the Year, NAMIC Merit Award, NAMIC Service Award and a
Citation from Governor Tommy Thompson presented at his retirement by
Commissioner of Insurance Connie O’Connell citing him for the
Demutualization of Wisconsin Reinsurance Corporation and the founding of
1st Auto & Casualty Insurance Company.
O’Donnell’s professional life was dedicated to the modernization of the
Town Mutual Industry. As CEO of WRC he directed the de-mutualization of
the Company to a stock corporation and its capitalization of nearly ten
million additional dollars in preferred stock sales, and the institution
of 1st Auto and Casualty Insurance Company. His accomplishments were
capped in 1994 with the erection of the current home office at 2810 City
View Drive in Madison, Wisconsin. O’Donnell retired in 2000. He now
enjoys time at home with his wife, Donita, their seven children living
throughout the country, and a growing brood of twelve grandchildren. He
can be contacted on the web at: firstname.lastname@example.org.