Carl Brown, Jr.
Chairman of the Board
Carl Brown, Jr. speaks at the 50th anniversary dinner
Carl Brown, Jr. joined the company in 1932, starting out in the safety engineering department at the same weekly wage as every new hire – $12.50 a week. Introspective and analytical, he wasn’t a chip off the old block, though he shared his father’s sense of honor, and he knew how to build relationships. It would take time and experience for the founder’s son to mature into a leadership position, time that was also interrupted by military service during World War II.
What most distinguished Car Jr., however, may have been his moral compass.
Others in the company had also gone off to war, including Cecil Sawyer, who’d come on board a year after Carl Jr. When both men returned, Sawyer proposed a new plan for advancing the business. While the company remained solid, the competition was heating up. The state of California was growing, the industry was changing and the younger generation believed that California Casualty needed to change, too. Though reluctant to veer off what had been a successful path, Carl Brown, Sr. began to see the merits of the new plan. As a result, California Casualty pioneered the concept of affinity group insurance in 1951 with the endorsement of the California Teachers Association.
Syd Westington and Carl Brown, Jr.
Carl Jr. became Chairman in 1957 following his father’s death. During his tenure he saw to it that other key business partnerships were cemented. These included sponsorship by the Peace Officers Research Association of California and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities. In 1970, California Casualty auto insurance was made available to the 60,000 employees of the University of California.
What most distinguished Carl Jr., however, may have been his moral compass. Concerned that the company had drifted away from the guiding principles of business set forth by his father, he set pen to paper and crafted the California Casualty Code. Ahead of its time, this code of ethics reaffirmed a corporate culture of high integrity. In one form or another, the Code sits prominently in every employee’s work area today.
Carl Brown, Jr. ushered California Casualty into a new era. The road was at times bumpy, and as he could, he found respite in nature. To ensure a time and place for solid reflection and planning, he purchased an 85-acre spread in Wyoming, built a house there and made ample use of it.