RLI Corp.

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RLI Corp.
Traded as NYSERLI
S&P 600 Component
Industry Insurance
Founded 1965
Founder Gerald D. Stephens
Headquarters Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
Key people
  • Jonathan E. Michael (Chairman & CEO),
  • Michael J. Stone (President, Chief Operating Officer)[1]
Services Insurance
Website www.rlicorp.com

RLI Corp. (NYSERLI) is an American property and casualty insurance company headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, with more than 50 branch offices conducting business in all 50 states. Founded in 1965 by Gerald D. Stephens, Replacement Lens, Inc. (RLI) was one of the first insurers of contact lenses, and eventually, the company emerged as one of the leading contact lens insurers in the United States. Building upon its success in the contact lens market, RLI further expanded its business into other niche insurance markets. Today, the company offers specialty property/casualty insurance coverage in both the specialty admitted and excess and surplus markets.[2]

RLI conducts its operations primarily through four insurance subsidiaries — RLI Insurance Company, Mt. Hawley Insurance Company, RLI Indemnity Company and Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company. All of RLI's insurance subsidiaries are rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best Company, a distinction held by fewer than 10 percent of all property and casualty insurance companies in the country.

RLI insurance coverages are distributed to customers across the U.S. through branch offices that market to wholesale brokers and retail agencies. RLI also provides select coverages through independent agents. The company offers nearly 40 different types of casualty, property and surety coverage ranging from individually underwritten coverages to highly complex coverages.[3]

Some lines of insurance the company offers include: General Liability, Commercial and Personal Umbrella Liability, Commercial Transportation, Executive Products Liability, Professional Liability, Commercial Property, Marine, Crop Reinsurance, Property Reinsurance, Contract Surety, Commercial Surety, and Oil and Gas Surety.[4]


RLI’s history of innovation dates to the early 1960s, when Founder Gerald D. Stephens recognized the expense of replacing contact lenses and founded RLI — Replacement Lens, Inc. — a contact lens insurance agency. In 1965, he acquired the holding company that would later become RLI Corp. RLI was one of the first insurers of contact lenses, and eventually, it emerged as the largest insurer of its kind in the world.

Over time, the demand for contact lens insurance shrank with the emergence of more affordable disposable soft lenses. In order to remain competitive, Stephens expanded RLI’s offerings to include commercial property and liability insurance. In 1994, the company retired its founding contact lens insurance product and in 1996 RLI sold its RLI Vision unit to Maui Jim, a manufacturer of luxury sunglasses. Currently, RLI offers a variety of specialty insurance coverages designed for niche markets that are underserved by the insurance and reinsurance industry.

RLI’s long history of financial strength and stability — evidenced by its A+ “Superior” A.M. Best rating — can be accredited to its unique business model. RLI looks for underserved niches and opportunities to offer enhanced products that are new to the marketplace. The company puts decision-making in the hands of its expert underwriters, which enables producers to quickly and easily get customers the coverages they need. [5]

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