Insurer and ex-SVP at loggerheads over sexual discrimination allegations

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The underwriting veteran has publicly alleged that present GuideOne appearing CEO Andy Noga, on the time normal counsel for the provider, known as him a “f*ggot” at a public dinner and launched into a “vigorous” private marketing campaign towards him that led to his dismissal days earlier than he was due a bumper bonus payout.

Noga declined to speak to Insurance Business resulting from a urgent private matter, however GuideOne has strongly denied Groenheide’s allegations.

Groenheide, a longtime underwriter with 15 years of trade expertise beneath his belt, together with senior roles at HDI Global and Zurich, was recruited to work for the insurer in late 2019 to guide its specialty observe.

His achievements on the insurer included the launch of GuideOne subsidiary Career General Agency’s managing normal underwriter.

Noga was initially nice, Groenheide instructed Insurance Business, however that modified when he was made conscious of Groenheide’s sexuality in June 2021 after Groenheide had been outed as bisexual throughout divorce proceedings.

The SVP was put beneath investigation in early December, and positioned on administrative depart in late January. Groenheide claimed this was after he had made an inside criticism about Noga’s therapy of him on the November public dinner occasion, which Groenheide mentioned was witnessed by a minimum of one different one who allegedly testified in his favour in an affidavit.

Groenheide alleged that he was not knowledgeable why he was positioned beneath investigation however was quizzed on specifics after he had been locked out of his firm pc, with no entry to info.

“It was like a kangaroo courtroom by which you’re accused of an unknown factor,” Groenheide mentioned.

“You’re responsible till you’re confirmed harmless – and also you’d don’t have any alternative to even talk about the belongings you’re accused of as a result of they’re by no means shared with you.”

Lori Chapel, GuideOne director, advertising and company communications, instructed Insurance Business that the previous SVP was let go for exceeding his letter of authority, failing to safe reinsurance on sure accounts, and submitting improper bills.    

Groenheide has denied this was the rationale behind his exit from the enterprise, and has claimed that he was pushed out and blamed for others’ shortcomings.

“That could be the equal of somebody working a truck, ingesting beer, moving into an accident, then reporting that accident, and the CEO bought fired, however not the drunk driver,” Groenheide mentioned.

Groenheide has additionally claimed that key witnesses weren’t known as in the course of the investigation.

GuideOne has disputed Groenheide’s account. The insurer’s spokesperson mentioned that an impartial third-party investigator, a former US Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, investigated the allegations of bias and discrimination and decided they have been unfounded.

GuideOne additional alleged that Groenheide’s allegations round sexual discrimination didn’t floor till after he was positioned on administrative depart.

In the 4 months since getting the boot from the enterprise, Groenheide has taken to social media to boost consciousness of his alleged state of affairs, actively concentrating on GuideOne board members and administrators with LinkedIn posts and sharing paperwork that he claims present he was unfairly handled.

Member of GuideOne’s board, which incorporates Alliant Energy and Renaissance Re board member Carol Sanders and Insurance Information Institute president Robert Hartwig, didn’t reply to a request for touch upon Groenheide’s social media exercise or allegations.

GuideOne instructed Insurance Business that Groenheide’s actions on social media have been “suspect and egregious” and pledged that the insurer will reply absolutely to them “within the correct discussion board”, although it stopped wanting confirming whether or not it might be bringing authorized motion.

“The social media marketing campaign questioning our firm’s values and code of conduct by a former worker continues. His preliminary allegations stem from his termination and have broadened to incorporate colleagues and confidential firm issues,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Groenheide alleged: “It appears to me like they simply don’t like a lightweight being proven on the reality. Because if I used to be mendacity, they’d have already sued me.”

The former GuideOne SVP is pursuing a declare by way of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – and has pledged that he’ll proceed to marketing campaign round his state of affairs and use his platform to boost consciousness of difficulties confronted by different LGBTQ+ people in insurance coverage corporations throughout the US.

“Tons of individuals have come to me with their tales since [I went public] and it’s disgusting what nonetheless goes on in company America,” Groenheide mentioned. “Thank God I’ve the sources and the help community to have the ability to struggle again, however there are most likely tons of of different individuals who have skilled the identical factor.

“If they will marginalize me then they will do it to anyone.”

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