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Kemper President and COO Smith retires


LONG GROVE, Ill.--William D. Smith, president and chief operating officer of Kemper Insurance Cos., is retiring, effective Tuesday.Mr. Smith has held the posts since September 1996, and no successor has been named. David B. Mathis, Kemper's chairman and chief executive officer, is postponing his own retirement to continue in his position for the time being.

In addition, the Long Grove, Ill.-based insurer has created an office of the chairman to focus on strategic and operational issues.

Mr. Smith's retirement comes at a time when Kemper is facing financial difficulties. A.M. Best Co., Standard & Poor's Corp. and Moody's Investors Service all recently lowered their ratings of the insurer. In addition, Kemper recently announced that National Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., would provide a cut-through endorsement on Kemper policies beginning Jan. 1.

Joining Mr. Mathis in the office of the chairman are: Dennis R. Brand, Kemper's senior vp and chief risk officer; Patricia Drago, executive vp and leader of Kemper's Client Services Group; William A. Hickey, executive vp and chief financial officer; Robert A. Lindemann, senior vp and president of American Manufacturers' Mutual Insurance Co.; and Gary J. Tully, senior vp and president of Kemper Financial Protection and Kemper International.