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Low risk

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 7:46 a.m. December 20, 2013
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Strategies
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Traveler: Craig Johnson, president and CEO of Sarasota-based FCCI Insurance Group, a property and casualty insurance firm.

Itinerary: FCCI, with more than $525 million in premiums and 700 employees, has five regional offices, including one in its Sarasota headquarters. The other four are in Carmel, Ind.; Dallas; Duluth, Ga., outside Atlanta; and Jackson, Miss. Johnson goes on “State of the Union” tours to all four regional offices twice a year, where he meets with employees. He also visits clients and employees in the 18 states in which FCCI does business, from Michigan to Texas to Virginia. “Travel is very important to us,” says Johnson. “We are in a relationship-based business and we need to be able to go see employees and customers where they work.”

Hearts over Hartsfield: Johnson makes many connections in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest in the country. “A lot of people don't like it because it's so busy, but I like it because it gives you options,” Johnson says. “You could pretty much get anywhere you need to get from there.”

Executive split: FCCI doesn't allow more than three executives or board members to fly on the same flight. It's a safety precaution in case something happens to the plane, which makes sense for a company entrenched in risk management. “My view,” quips Johnson, “is if something happens to me they can just run the company cheaper.”

Support team: Johnson says his wife, Kimberly, and his executive assistant, Arlene Cueman, are the backbone behind a successful work trip. That goes from household chores to making sure the rental car is ready. “I have an outstanding executive assistant whom I can be in contact with as soon as the plane touches down,” Johnson says. “And my wife is a saint. She's CEO of the household.”

Alone time: Johnson bangs out emails while he waits in the airport, but the plane is his reading time. He'll read the Wall Street Journal, insurance publications and presentations from employees. “It's quiet,” he says, “and it's just me.”

Across the pond: One of Johnson's travel nightmares happened five years ago, when he joined two other FCCI executives on a trip to London to meet with reinsurers. Turns out Johnson got sick before the flight, with a stomach bug, and he spent much of the trip throwing up. He vividly recalls the agony of waiting on a bathroom line, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. “I've never felt more sick in my entire life than on that airplane,” says Johnson. “If you had seen me on that airplane, you would have thought I looked worse than dead.”


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