Telisa Yancy, president of American Family Insurance Direct, has been named president of the American Family Insurance Group of companies. Yancy’s appointment reflects the organization’s ongoing focus on growth, innovation and customer preference.
This position was previously held by CEO and President Bill Westrate who succeeded Jack Salzwedel upon Salzwedel’s retirement at the end of 2021. Naming Yancy to this position is a return a structure the company has had before. Westrate served as president beginning in 2017, before moving into the CEO role in 2022.
Yancy joined the organization as a marketing director in 2009, leading a major rebranding effort for American Family Insurance and subsequently becoming Marketing Vice President and then Chief Marketing Officer. In 2019, Yancy was named Chief Operating Officer, and in 2021, she became president of the organization’s direct sales channels, which include insurance companies CONNECT, Homesite and The General.
Yancy has been recognized for her leadership skills, marketing expertise and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. These honors include a Silver EFFIE, Ebony Magazine Power 100, AdAge Woman to Watch, GlobalMindeED Inclusive Leader Award and multiple inclusions in Savoy Magazine’s most influential Black Executives. She serves on the boards of directors for National Public Radio and Deluxe Corp. Yancy is a graduate of the University of Illinois and earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Business.
Yancy brings her vast experience to this new role, in which she will oversee the group’s direct and agency business operations. In addition to the direct sales companies, American Family Group includes American Family Insurance and Main Street America Insurance which sell and service products through exclusive and independent agency owners, respectively.
“Telisa’s strong focus on evolving customer preferences, combined with her broad and deep organizational experience, position her to lead operations across the diverse American Family Insurance Group,” said Westrate. “She’s built strong relationships with our agency owners and distribution partners, and has clearly demonstrated the flexibility, resilience and innovative thinking needed to lead during an ever-changing business and economic landscape.”
Yancy’s new role will begin Jan. 1, 2023. Westrate will remain CEO.