Association Issues Formal Apology For Inappropriate Remarks Made During April Interview With President & CEO
In response to a June 28, 2023 article on CNN, the nation’s largest independent insurance association, the Big “I” issued a formal apology on June 29, 2023, for remarks made by retiring president & CEO Bob Rusbuldt during an April interview with Fox News Host Jesse Watters at the Association’s Annual Legislative Conference.
According to the original CNN article, the interview between Mr. Rusbuldt and Mr. Watters included “…a crude comment” involving Vice President Harris prompting both laughs and outrage from the audience according to the outlet’s sources.
At a diversity-focused event scheduled later that day, CNN noted that Mr. Rusbudlt did apologize to those gathered for the remarks made earlier in the day, however, for many it was deemed too little too late.
In response to the CNN article’s claims, the Big “I” issued an officially apology on June 29, 2023. In it, the Association stated in part:
The Big “I” strives to be a fair, open, and inclusive organization and we do not condone racist, sexist, or homophobic statements or behavior. In response to this incident, we had Mr. Rusbuldt relinquish his operational duties immediately following the Legislative Conference and in advance of his retirement in September. It is disappointing to see Mr. Rusbuldt end his 37-year career at the Big “I” in this way.
Much more distressing, however, is the hurt and discomfort so many of our members, partners and staff experienced as a result of his remarks. We do not in any way condone or agree with any of Mr. Rusbuldt’s statements, but we must take full responsibility for them.
We deeply regret that this incident occurred at an event that is intended to celebrate our organization and its membership. We have been working with our DEI team internally and externally since the event on ways to foster a more inclusive and respectful culture and ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
As reported in Agency Checklists, Mr. Rusbudlt, the Association’s longest serving president, had announced his retirement from the Association last September. Charles Symington was named as Mr. Rusbuldt’s successor.
Big “I” Chairman offers his thoughts in an online video
In addition to the official press release issuing the above apology, the Big “I” also published a video statement from its Chairman John Costello. A link to view the video on the Big “I”‘s Youtube channel is provided below: