I worked at Standard for six and a half years from 2004 thru 2010. When I first started there the CEO was Eric Parsons. Parsons and his staff were pretty decent people.
In 2008 (I think)Parsons was asked to step down. A whole new regime took over. Ness had been an underwriter then the head of underwriting then suddenly he was taking Parson's place.
Things changed. People were laid off. Those remaining were given more and more tasks. I was demoted and stuck in a department training entry level people. Every day was a misery. No one knew just exactly what their job was in my department and many others.
It was chaos and crazy. There was a story going around that one women already very, very overburdened was given on more task and promptly threw up on her desk out of sheer frustration.
People got high level jobs not by merit but by taking the right courses sold by outside psychological companies that convinced the powers-that-be they could make employees more productive.
Computer systems were antiquated and did not speak to one another. But people were expected to get miracles out of them. Because they got there jobs through political games, supervisors didn't know what they were doing and depended upon those earning a lot less to figure it out while they took the credit and the paycheck.
IT jobs were outsourced. This is just one more hypocritical move on Ness's part; outsourcing jobs while pushing employees to volunteer for various charities while much needed jobs were being snatched from Portland and sent overseas.
While I was there, a chronic health condition got worse. I had to finally leave and eventually go on disability. My supervisor begged me to return. After one year on the job she hadn't a clue as to what we did.
I told her I would consider part time but she couldn't give it to me. Under Parsons, we had job-sharing and part time. Under Ness it was full time only.
I had to laugh when I read last year that Ness's explanation of why Standard lost money in 2011 was because of increases claims. I think it was more along the lines of situations like the one in which they lost a million dollar account before the polices were even printed because there were so many screw ups the client didn't trust them and pulled out of the deal.
This company is a loser. They will continue to be a loser. And for this Ness gets $4,000,000 for his crappy leadership.