Encova Insurance CEO Dave Kaufman has announced his decision to retire, effective Dec. 31, 2019. The board of directors has elected TJ Obrokta Jr., president and chief operating officer, to be his successor and serve as president and CEO.
“On behalf of our board of directors, I want to express my sincere appreciation for Dave’s leadership and hard work during his tenure with the company over the last 33 years. He has been instrumental in shaping the great organization we are today,” Executive Chairman Greg Burton said. “We are a substantially stronger company because of Dave’s vision, passion and commitment. I am especially pleased that Dave will continue to serve as a member of our board of directors, bringing his deep experience not just with the company, but of our industry as well.”
“It’s been an honor to serve as CEO of such a special organization,” Kaufman said. “Having served over 20 years in executive leadership, I feel this is the right time for a leadership change. I’m proud of all we’ve achieved and the outstanding team we’ve built to lead us forward. As Encova Insurance, we are now a top 20 mutual insurance carrier with over $4 billion in assets.”
As one of the founding officers of BrickStreet Insurance, Obrokta, 50, first served as general counsel, senior vice president and secretary when the company was launched in 2006. He became its chief operating officer in 2012, and along with the other members of the senior management team, oversaw the growth in the company’s surplus from $20 million to nearly $800 million in just over a decade. He was named BrickStreet’s president in May 2015 and named president and COO of the combined company of Motorists and BrickStreet in 2017.
“TJ has demonstrated all the attributes desired in a CEO, and we share the same values and commitment to the independent agency system. I have full confidence in his ability to effectively execute our plans, build trust across the organization and achieve superior business results. Our company is in great hands,” Kaufman said.
Prior to BrickStreet, Obrokta was general counsel of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission and was part of the team that played a central role in the successful reform of West Virginia's workers' compensation system. Obrokta has nearly 20 years of legal experience in both the public and private sectors.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Columbia University and is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law.
“The board takes great pleasure in congratulating TJ Obrokta on his new role as president and CEO of the company. TJ has done an outstanding job over the past two years as president and COO, turning the affiliation of two successful companies into the industry leader that is Encova. We have the utmost confidence in TJ and his leadership. He brings to this role tremendous energy, vision and experience as well as a special commitment to our agents, policyholders and associates. The future looks bright with TJ at the helm,” Burton said.
“In the two years since the affiliation, I have been deeply impressed with the commitment of our associates to move this great company forward and to build an even stronger foundation for the future,” Obrokta said. “I am fully committed to this role and this company as we continue to invest in our agents, associates and policyholders with cutting-edge technology and our one-stop-shop model that includes local expertise and our 360° workers’ compensation service.”
Kaufman will begin transitioning his duties to Obrokta beginning Oct. 1, and he will remain a member of the board of directors after his retirement.