The Main Street America Group, a super-regional property/casualty insurance company, has announced Chris Listau, the company’s current president of insurance operations, will succeed Tom Van Berkel as president and CEO. Van Berkel will be retiring on Sept. 30, 2019, after being affiliated with Main Street America for nearly 30 years.
Listau, who joined Main Street America last year following the company’s historic mutual merger with American Family Insurance, has had a very successful career, including 25 years at American Family, which included multiple executive sales and leadership positions.
In addition, Jeff Kusch, Main Street America’s current president of field operations, has been appointed as chief operating officer. Kusch joined Austin Mutual Insurance Company in 1992 and held several leadership roles before Austin Mutual’s affiliation with Main Street America in 2012.
“First and foremost, I want to thank Tom for his leadership during his nearly three decades of service with Main Street America,” said Listau. “I am grateful for the opportunity and excited to work with our leadership team. As an organization, I strongly believe we have the foundation and talent in place to grow our brand with independent agents and consumers and expand into additional markets across the United States.”
Chris Listau, President and CEO
In his role as president and CEO, the heads of audit, finance, sales, enterprise solutions, human resources and legal, as well as chief operating officer Jeff Kusch, will report to Listau. He will remain based at Main Street America’s Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters.
Listau joined Main Street America in 2018 as executive vice president of insurance operations and was promoted to president of insurance operations in early 2019. Prior to that, he had an extensive history with American Family, serving in many key executive roles. He joined the organization in 1993 as an agent in Mora, Minn. From 1996-2002, he held several field marketing roles of increasing responsibility. He served from 2002-2007 as Iowa sales director and was appointed as central regional sales vice president in 2007. Listau was named Commercial Farm Ranch vice president in 2012 and promoted to president of the division in 2014.
Listau earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Jeff Kusch, Chief Operating Officer
As chief operating officer, Kusch will oversee the company’s core insurance functions – including commercial lines, personal lines, bonds, assumed reinsurance, agribusiness, and Main Street America’s claims/integrated customer solutions division. He will remain based at the company’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla.
Following Austin Mutual Insurance Company’s affiliation with Main Street America in 2012, Kusch became the company’s Western Region president, a role he held until his appointment in 2015 as senior vice president of field operations. In 2017, Kusch was promoted to executive vice president of insurance operations. Kusch transitioned to the role of executive vice president of field operations in 2018 and was promoted to president of field operations in early 2019.
Kusch joined Austin Mutual in 1992 as an accounting manager. His leadership roles at Austin Mutual included treasurer, secretary, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Prior to joining Austin Mutual, Kusch was a member of the senior audit staff at Coopers & Lybrand LLP.
Kusch earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Winona State University, Winona, Minn. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).