ProAssurance_GroupW. Stancil Starnes, CEO of Birmingham-based ProAssurance Corp., discussed his company’s strategy on October 26, 2010 with students in the combined undergraduate and graduate course, “Strategic Management: Hearing It From the CEOs.” ProAssurance is one of the country’s leading professional liability insurers, insuring physicians, podiatrists, other health professionals and lawyers. Mr. Starnes became CEO of ProAssurance in 2007 after a 35-year career as a distinguished trial lawyer focusing his practice on the defense of physicians in professional liability cases.

Mr. Starnes vividly described his company’s business as “like driving down the highway in a car with no view through the windshield and only the rearview mirror to guide you,” because often times the company will collect premiums for years without knowing whether a particular professional it insures will be found liable and will need to call upon the company’s assets. Starnes noted that it is ProAssurance’s strategy to pay more in legal costs to defend non-meritorious cases brought against its insureds than it likely would be required to pay in settlements of such cases.