Joe Dunlap – A comforting presence

President, iA American and American-Amicable Group of Companies
In his 45 years with American-Amicable, Joe has supported the creation of an almost familial work atmosphere where employees feel respected and appreciated, along with their clients and agents.

Joe Dunlap’s story is closely hitched to central Texas. Born and bred in Waco, the home of Baylor University, Joe decided to expand his horizons, heading to Huntsville to study at Sam Houston State. After successfully receiving his bachelor’s degree in finance in 1978, he returned to his roots with plans of becoming a banker.

It’s through a job posting in the local paper that Joe found out about a management trainee position offered by American-Amicable. For four years, he learned the ropes of insurance: underwriting, claims, accounting, etc.

“I didn’t know anything about the company at the time, except that it was in the ALICO building, which is a Waco landmark, the only tall building in the city. This position taught me the ins and outs of the internal operations of an insurance company, which served me well later on as I began taking management roles.”

Indeed, over his 45 years with the company, Joe gradually climbed the corporate ladder, becoming Chief Operations Officer in 2003, before taking his current position as President in 2015. He was serving as the COO when the transaction occurred that brought American-Amicable into the iA Financial Group family in 2010.

“Even though we’re geographically and culturally removed, we felt that the two companies share the same family spirit—and still feel that way. We’ve got very loyal employees at American-Amicable, some of whom have over 50 years of service!”

This atmosphere of southern hospitality is especially obvious each year at the beginning of May when employees gather for a huge picnic. “It’s an opportunity to thank our teams and do our part for the community, since we use the occasion to collect for the foodbank.”

While most employees work from home, new hires come into American-Amicable’s head office during the first few weeks of employment. During this period, they get to know the nuts and bolts of the company. Nevertheless, like most of the leadership team, Joe prefers to work at the office where he feels more productive, especially early in the morning. This workhorse who leads by example prefers not, however, to burn the midnight oil.

Returning to his property 20 miles from town keeps Joe balanced. “I live on about 450 acres that contain fishing ponds where I spend a lot of time. I like the outdoors and do a little hunting as well as play golf occasionally. I also keep a large vegetable garden. I have about forty tomato plants even though my wife hates them, but luckily for everyone else—co-workers, friends… enemies—I’m always handing them out.”

Joe goes on the road several times a year, notably to help out at sales events more or less across the country:

“We’re very proud of our sales network and we have an excellent reputation for service. I like being in close contact with our agents, they’re the ones that really know the client. And this direct feedback enables us to maintain quality service, a key competitive advantage. We respect our agents and try to treat them well, as if they were a client or employee.”

Joe and his wife regularly visit Denver, Colorado, where their son and daughter-in-law live. As first-time grandparents of their newly born granddaughter, it’s safe to say they’ll be spending more and more time there going forward.

As for the future of American-Amicable, Joe looks favourably upon it. Between 2010 and 2023, this 124 year old organization’s annual sales growth increased by an average of 15% and its employees doubled in number, reaching 250 people. To maintain this growth pace, Joe and his team of experienced managers plan to continue growth in their existing markets while expanding more into the middle market, which represents an underserved cohort in the United States.

Here, Joe will continue, as he has throughout his career, to dutifully and diligently take this new challenge by the horns, proving that a job well done is often the key to success.