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Section 1: DEF 14A (DEF 14A)

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
SCHEDULE 14A
Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Filed by the Registrant  [X]
Filed by a party other than the Registrant  [ ]
Check the appropriate box:
[ ] Preliminary Proxy Statement
[ ] Confidential, for Use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))
[X] Definitive Proxy Statement
[ ] Definitive Additional Materials
[ ] Soliciting Materials under § 240.14a-12
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UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
(Name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):
[X] No fee required.
[ ] Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(1) and 0-11.
(1)Title of each class of securities to which the transaction applies:
(2)Aggregate number of securities to which the transaction applies:
(3)Per unit price or other underlying value of the transaction computed pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 0-11 (set forth the amount on which the filing fee is calculated and state how it was determined):
(4)Proposed maximum aggregate value of transaction: 
(5)Total fee paid:
[ ] Fee paid previously with preliminary materials.
[ ] Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule 0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number, or the Form or Schedule and the date of its filing.
(1)Amount Previously Paid:
(2)Form, Schedule or Registration Statement No.:
(3)Filing Party:
(4)Date Filed:


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UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
118 Second Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
April 7, 2020
Dear Fellow Shareholder:
I am pleased to invite you to join us at United Fire Group, Inc.’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the "Annual Meeting"). This year’s meeting will be held at our principal executive offices at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401. Simultaneously, the Annual Meeting will be conducted virtually via live audio webcast. You will be able to attend the Annual Meeting, submit questions and vote online by logging on to www.meetingcenter.io/216769913 using your 15-digit control number provided with the Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials or on your Proxy Card. The password for the meeting is UFCS2020. In light of public health concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related travel restrictions, I encourage you to participate virtually rather than in person.
The meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.
At this year’s meeting, you will be asked to vote on the following proposals:
ProposalsRecommended Vote
1Election of four Class A Directors and one Class C Director identified in the proxy statement.FOR
2Ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020.FOR
3Amendment of the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan.FOR
4Approval, on an advisory basis, of the compensation of the Company’s named executive officers.FOR
Management will also report on United Fire Group, Inc.’s business and shareholders will have an opportunity to ask questions of management and Ernst & Young LLP.
Attached you will find a notice of the Annual Meeting and a proxy statement that contains additional information about the meeting and explains the methods you can use to vote your proxy, including by telephone and over the Internet.
Your vote is important. Whether or not you plan to attend the Annual Meeting, we encourage you to sign your proxy card and return it in the enclosed postage-paid envelope or vote by telephone or Internet prior to the meeting. This ensures that your shares of United Fire Group, Inc.'s Common Stock will be represented and voted at the meeting, even if you cannot attend.
For the Board of Directors,
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Jack B. Evans
Chairman of the Board


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UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Notice of 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of United Fire Group, Inc.
Date and time: Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time
Place: United Fire Group, Inc.'s principal executive offices at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401 and virtually via live audio webcast. Shareholders will be able to attend the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the "Annual Meeting"), submit questions and vote online by logging on to www.meetingcenter.io/216769913 at the Annual Meeting date and time using their 15-digit control number provided with the Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials or on the proxy card. The password for the meeting is UFCS2020. In light of public health concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related travel restrictions, we encourage shareholders to participate virtually rather than in person.
Items of business: At the Annual Meeting, we will ask shareholders to:
5.Elect one four Class A Directors identified in the attached proxy statement to three-year terms expiring in 2023 and one Class C Director identified in the attached proxy statement to serve the remainder of a term expiring in 2021.
6.Ratify the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020.
7.Amend the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan.
8.Approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation of our named executive officers.
9.Vote upon such other matters as may properly come before the meeting or at any adjournment or postponement thereof.
Who can vote: You can vote if you were a shareholder of record on March 23, 2020.
On or about April 7, 2020, we will begin mailing to our shareholders a Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials, which will indicate how to access our proxy materials on the Internet. By furnishing the Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials, we are lowering the costs and reducing the environmental impact of our Annual Meeting.
The Board of Directors recommends that shareholders vote FOR the election of each director nominee named in Proposal 1 of the proxy statement and FOR Proposals 2, 3 and 4.
By Order of the Board of Directors,
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Neal R. Scharmer, Corporate Secretary
Dated April 7, 2020 at Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Your vote is important. Instructions on how to vote are contained in this proxy statement and in the Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials. Please cast your vote by telephone or over the Internet as described in those materials. Alternatively, if you requested a copy of the proxy/voting instruction card by mail, you may mark, sign, date and return the proxy/voting instruction card in the envelope provided.


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UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC.
118 Second Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
PROXY STATEMENT FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON MAY 20, 2020
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON MAY 20, 2020:
The Notice of the Annual Meeting, this Proxy Statement, the 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the 2019 Annual Report to Shareholders are available at: http://ir.ufginsurance.com.
This solicitation of proxies is made by the Board of Directors of United Fire Group, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our,” as the context requires). Proxies will be used at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders (the "Annual Meeting") of United Fire Group, Inc., an Iowa corporation, to be held on May 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time, and at any adjournment or postponement thereof. This year's Annual Meeting will be held at our principal executive offices at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401 and virtually via live audio webcast. Shareholders will be able to attend the Annual Meeting, submit questions and vote online by logging on to www.meetingcenter.io/216769913 using their 15-digit control number provided with the Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials or on the proxy card. The password for the meeting is UFCS2020. In light of public health concerns regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related travel restrictions, we encourage shareholders to participate virtually rather than in person.
With respect to shares of our $0.001 par value common stock (“Company Common Stock”) held in the United Fire Group, Inc. 401(k) Plan (the “401(k) Plan”), the Board of Directors is soliciting participants on behalf of the Trustee of the 401(k) Plan to direct the Trustee as to how to vote the shares held in the plan.
Under rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Company has chosen to provide its shareholders with the choice of accessing the Annual Meeting proxy materials on the Internet, rather than receiving printed copies of those materials through the mail. In connection with this process, a Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials (the “Notice”) is being mailed to the Company’s shareholders who have not previously requested electronic access to its proxy materials or printed proxy materials. The Notice contains instructions on how you may access and review the Company’s proxy materials on the Internet and how you may vote your shares over the Internet. The Notice will also tell you how to request the Company’s proxy materials, in either printed form or by email, at no charge. The Notice contains a control number that you will need to vote your shares. We suggest you keep the Notice for your reference through the meeting date.
The Company anticipates that the Notice will be mailed to shareholders and participants in the 401(k) Plan beginning on or about April 7, 2020.
We will solicit proxies principally by mail, but our directors and employees may also solicit proxies by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail. Our directors and employees may also conduct personal solicitations. Our directors and employees will not receive any additional compensation in connection with their solicitation efforts.
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ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS
Questions and Answers About the Annual Meeting
What is the purpose of the Annual Meeting?
At the Annual Meeting, shareholders will act upon the matters listed in the Notice of the Annual Meeting, including (i) the election of four Class A Directors identified in the attached proxy statement to serve three-year terms expiring in 2023 and one Class C Director identified in the attached proxy statement to serve the remainder of a term expiring in 2021, (ii) the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020, (iii) amend the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan and (iv) the approval, on an advisory basis, of the compensation of our named executive officers. Our management will also report on our performance during fiscal year 2019. Representatives of Ernst & Young LLP will be present at the Annual Meeting, will have the opportunity to make a statement if they choose to, and will be available to respond to appropriate shareholder questions.
How can I attend the Annual Meeting?
The Annual Meeting will be held at our principal executive offices at 118 Second Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401 and simultaneously through live audio webcast. Shareholders of record will be able to attend the Annual Meeting in person or virtually. If you attend virtually, you will be able to submit questions during the Annual Meeting and vote online by logging on to www.meetingcenter.io/216769913 using your 15-digit control number provided with the Notice or on your proxy card. The password for the meeting is UFCS2020.
The Board of Directors has been monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including with regard to the health and well-being of our employees and shareholders, as well as the related government-imposed restrictions. We encourage shareholders to participate virtually rather than in person. Hosting the Annual Meeting in a hybrid virtual format facilitates participation in the Annual Meeting without the need to travel or gather together in person.
The Annual Meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Check-in will begin 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting, and you should allow ample time for check-in procedures, both in person and on-line.
If you encounter any difficulties accessing the virtual meeting during check-in or during the meeting, please follow the instructions that will be posted on the virtual shareholder meeting login page.
How do I register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet?
If you are a shareholder of record (i.e. you hold your shares registered in your name through Computershare Trust Company, N.A. our transfer agent and registrar), you do not need to register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet. Please follow the instructions on the Notice or on your proxy card that you received with this Proxy Statement to attend the meeting.
If you hold your shares through an intermediary, such as a broker, bank or other nominee, you must register in advance to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet.
To register in advance to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet, you must submit a legal proxy that reflects proof of your proxy power. The legal proxy will show your holdings in Company Common Stock with your name. Please forward a copy of the legal proxy along with your email address to Computershare according to the below instructions.
Requests for registration should be directed as follows:
By email: Forward the email from your broker, or attach an image of your legal proxy, to legalproxy@computershare.com
By mail: Computershare, United Fire Group, Inc. Legal Proxy, P.O. Box 43001 Providence, RI 02940-3001.
Requests for registration must be labeled as "Legal Proxy" and be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 15, 2020. You will receive a confirmation of your registration by email after Computershare receives your registration materials.
Who may attend the Annual Meeting?
All shareholders of record as of March 23, 2020 or their duly appointed proxies may attend the Annual Meeting. If you hold your shares through a broker, bank or other nominee, you will not be admitted to the Annual Meeting unless you bring a copy of a statement (such as a brokerage statement) from your nominee reflecting your stock ownership as of
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March 23, 2020, or register as described above under "How do I register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet?"
May shareholders ask questions at the Annual Meeting?
Yes. As part of the Annual Meeting, we will hold a live question and answer session, during which we will answer questions that are pertinent to the Company and the meeting matters, as time permits. Shareholders will have the ability to ask questions in person or submit questions online during the Annual Meeting.
Who is entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting?
Shareholders of Record
If your shares are registered in your name with Computershare Trust Company, N.A. our transfer agent and registrar, you are considered a shareholder of record. Shareholders of record at the close of business on March 23, 2020 are entitled to receive notice of and to vote at the Annual Meeting or at any postponement or adjournment thereof. At the close of business on March 23, 2020, there were 24,982,154 shares of Company Common Stock issued and outstanding. Each share of Company Common Stock entitles its record holder to one vote.
Brokerage and Other Account Holders
If your shares are held in a brokerage account or by a bank or other nominee, your name does not appear anywhere in the Company’s shareholder records. Instead, the “street name” of your broker, bank or other nominee who holds the shares for you appears on our records and you are the beneficial owner of the shares. Access to our proxy materials is being forwarded to you by your broker, bank or other nominee. As the beneficial owner, you have the right to direct your brokerage firm, bank or other nominee how to vote your beneficial shares by filling out and returning the voting instruction form provided to you from such other institution. Telephone and Internet voting options may also be available to beneficial owners. As a beneficial owner, you are invited to attend the Annual Meeting, but you must obtain a legal proxy from the record holder of your shares and bring a copy of a statement (such as a brokerage statement) from your nominee reflecting your stock ownership as of March 23, 2020, or register as described above under above under "How do I register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet?".
401(k) Plan Participants
If you are a participant in our 401(k) Plan, your proxy card shows the number of shares of Company Common Stock held for your benefit in those plans, plus any other shares you may own. If you hold stock through the 401(k) Plan, voting your proxy also serves as confidential voting instructions to the Trustee of the 401(k) Plan (Principal Financial Group). The Trustee will vote your shares in accordance with the specific voting instructions that you indicate on your proxy card. If you provide no specific voting instructions, the Trustee of the 401(k) Plan will vote your shares in proportion to the voting instructions it receives from those plan participants who do submit voting instructions.
What constitutes a quorum for the Annual Meeting?
The presence at the Annual Meeting of a majority of the outstanding shares (50% plus one share) of Company Common Stock represented either in person, virtually during the live webcast, or by proxy will constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at the meeting. Abstentions and broker non-votes will each be counted as present for purposes of determining the existence of a quorum at the Annual Meeting.
What is a broker non-vote?
A “broker non-vote” occurs when a broker submits a proxy but lacks discretionary power to vote on a “non-routine” proposal and a beneficial owner fails to give the broker voting instructions on that matter. The ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the Company's independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2020 is the only matter to be presented at the Annual Meeting that is considered a "routine" matter, and brokers have the discretionary power to vote on this matter without any instructions from the beneficial owners. Each of the other matters to be presented at the Annual Meeting are considered "non-routine."
Therefore, if you hold your shares in “street name” you should give voting instructions to your broker to ensure your shares are counted in the election of directors, and the advisory vote to approve executive compensation. Broker non-votes will have no effect on the voting results of the matters presented at the Annual Meeting.
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How do I vote my shares?
You may vote in the following ways:
In person: We will distribute paper ballots to anyone who wishes to vote in person at the Annual Meeting. However, if you hold your shares in street name, you must request a legal proxy from your broker and bring it to the Annual Meeting in order to vote in person at the Annual Meeting.
Virtually during the Annual Meeting: See the instructions above under "How can I attend the Annual Meeting?" and "How do I register to attend the Annual Meeting virtually on the Internet?"
By mail: Complete and sign your proxy card and return it by mail in the enclosed business reply envelope. If you mark your voting instructions on the proxy card, your shares will be voted as you instruct. If an additional proposal comes up for a vote at the Annual Meeting that is not on the proxy card, your shares will be voted in the best judgment of the authorized proxies, Jack B. Evans and Neal R. Scharmer. If you sign and return your proxy card without marking voting instructions, your shares will be voted FOR the election of each of the director nominees identified in this proxy statement, FOR the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020, FOR the amendment of the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan, and FOR approval, on an advisory basis, of the resolution regarding the compensation of our named executive officers.
By telephone: To vote your shares by telephone, call the toll-free telephone number on your proxy card. You must have a touch-tone or cellular telephone to use this voting method. You will need to follow the instructions on your proxy card and the voice prompts to vote your shares.
Over the Internet: You may go to the website listed on your proxy card to vote your shares over the Internet. You will need to follow the instructions on your proxy card and the website to vote your shares.
Telephone and Internet voting options are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deadline for voting by telephone or the Internet is 12:00 a.m. Central Time on May 20, 2020. When prompted, you will need to enter the 15-digit control number shown on your proxy card. You will then be able to vote your shares and confirm that your instructions have been properly recorded. If you vote by telephone or over the Internet, your vote authorizes the proxies in the same manner as if you had signed, dated and returned your proxy card by mail. Telephone and Internet voting procedures, including the use of control numbers found on the proxy cards, are designed to authenticate shareholders’ identities, to allow shareholders to vote their shares securely and to confirm that their instructions have been properly recorded. If you vote by telephone or over the Internet, you do not need to return your proxy card.
If you hold your shares in street name, you may vote by telephone or over the Internet only if your bank, broker or other nominee makes those methods available to you, in which case your broker, bank or other nominee will provide specific instructions for using those options.
If I hold my shares in a brokerage account and do not return voting instructions, will my shares be voted?
If your shares are held in a brokerage account or by a bank or other nominee, your broker, bank or other nominee will ask you how you want your shares to be voted. If you provide voting instructions, your shares must be voted as you direct. If you do not furnish voting instructions, one of two things can happen, depending upon whether a proposal is “routine.” Under the rules that govern brokers who have record ownership of shares beneficially owned by their clients, brokers have discretion to cast votes on routine matters, such as the ratification of the choice of auditor, without receiving voting instructions from their clients. Brokers are not permitted, however, to cast votes on “non-routine” matters, such as the election of directors, or executive compensation matters, without receiving client voting instructions. A “broker non-vote” occurs when a broker holding shares for a beneficial owner does not vote on a particular proposal because the broker does not have discretionary voting authority for that proposal and has not received voting instructions from the beneficial owner. The proposal to approve the ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020 is the only routine matter being voted on at the Annual Meeting and, therefore, is the only proposal that may be voted by your broker, bank or other nominee in its discretion without having received voting instructions from you.
Can I revoke my proxy or change my vote after I return my proxy?
Yes. Even after you submit a proxy, you may revoke your proxy or change your vote at any time before the proxy is exercised and vote cast at the Annual Meeting by:
delivering written notice to our transfer agent, Computershare, P.O. Box 505000, Louisville, KY 40233-5000, or via overnight delivery to Computershare, 462 South 4th St. Ste 1600, Louisville, KY 40202;
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delivering written notice to the Corporate Secretary of United Fire Group, Inc. at P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909;
executing and delivering a later-dated proxy;
voting again by telephone or Internet;
appearing and voting in person at the Annual Meeting; or
attending virtually and voting during the Annual Meeting.
Attendance at the Annual Meeting, either in person or virtually, will not, by itself, revoke a previously granted proxy. If you hold your shares in street name, you may contact your broker, bank or other nominee for instructions as to how to revoke or change your vote.
Who pays for this proxy solicitation?
United Fire Group, Inc. will pay the expenses of this solicitation of proxies. Expenses may include reimbursement to brokerage firms and others of their cost for forwarding solicitation materials to beneficial owners.
Does United Fire Group, Inc. deliver proxy materials electronically?
Yes. In accordance with the SEC’s “Notice and Access” rules, United Fire Group, Inc. mailed the Notice to shareholders beginning on or about April 7, 2020. The Notice describes the matters to be considered at the Annual Meeting and how shareholders may access the proxy materials over the Internet. It also provides instructions on how shareholders may vote their shares. If you received the Notice, you will not receive a printed version of the proxy materials unless you request one. If you would like to receive a printed version of the proxy materials, free of charge, please follow the instructions in the Notice.
What are the benefits of electronic delivery?
Electronic delivery reduces United Fire Group, Inc.’s printing and mailing costs as well as the environmental impact of the Annual Meeting. It is also a convenient way for you to receive your proxy materials and makes it easy to vote your shares over the Internet.
How may I obtain copies of United Fire Group, Inc.’s corporate governance documents?
The following documents are available free of charge to any shareholder who requests them by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909, or on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com, by selecting Overview and then Governance Documents.
Anti-Hedging and Anti-Pledging Policy
Clawback Policy
Code of Ethics and Business Conduct
Corporate Governance Guidelines
Disclosure Policy
Committee Charters – Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Executive Committee, Investment Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee and Risk Management Committee
In addition, copies of our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are available free of charge to any shareholder who requests them by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909. Our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are also available free of charge on the SEC's EDGAR website at www.sec.gov.
Delivery of One Set of Annual Meeting Materials to Shareholders in a Single Residence ("Householding")
SEC rules permit companies and intermediaries such as brokers to satisfy delivery requirements for proxy statements and annual reports to shareholders with respect to two or more shareholders sharing the same address by delivering a single proxy statement and annual report to shareholders addressed to those shareholders. This process, commonly referred to as “householding,” provides cost savings for companies. We and some brokers household proxy materials and annual reports to shareholders unless contrary instructions have been received from the affected
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shareholders. Once you have received notice from us, your broker, or other designated intermediary that they will be householding materials to your address, householding will continue until you are notified otherwise or until you revoke your consent.
If, at any time, you no longer wish to participate in householding and would prefer to receive a separate printed proxy statement and annual report to shareholders, notify us by calling our transfer agent at (877) 373-6374, or submit a written request via regular mail to Computershare, P.O. Box 505000, Louisville, KY 40233-5000, or via overnight delivery to Computershare, 462 South 4th St., Ste 1600, Louisville, KY 40202.
Shareholders who currently receive multiple copies of their proxy materials and would like to request householding should submit a written request to: Computershare Trust Company, N.A. at either address above.
Please include the Company’s name, United Fire Group, Inc., and your account number(s) in any correspondence regarding householding. Street name shareholders wishing to cancel or request householding of their proxy materials should contact their brokers directly.
Electronic Availability of Proxy Materials
Electronic versions of our Notice of the Annual Meeting, this Proxy Statement and 2019 Annual Report to Shareholders are available on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com by selecting Financial Documents and then Annual Reports and Proxy.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Our Board of Directors currently consists of 11 directors. The current membership includes: John-Paul E. Besong, Scott L. Carlton, Brenda K. Clancy, Christopher R. Drahozal, Jack B. Evans (Chairman), George D. Milligan, James W. Noyce, Mary K. Quass, Randy A. Ramlo, Kyle D. Skogman and Susan E. Voss. As previously disclosed, Sarah Fisher Gardial has resigned from the Board of Directors, effective March 1, 2020. To fill this vacancy, Lura E. McBride is standing for election at the Annual Meeting as a Class C Director to serve the remainder of a term expiring in 2021.
Corporate Governance
In order to promote the highest standards of management for the benefit of shareholders, our Board of Directors follows certain governance practices regarding how the Board of Directors conducts its business and fulfills its duties. United Fire Group, Inc.’s Corporate Governance Guidelines may be obtained free of charge by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909, or on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com, by selecting Overview and then Governance Documents. The following describes the governance practices used by the Board of Directors.
Board Size, Composition and Independence Determination
Following the departure of Ms. Gardial on March 1, 2020, our Board of Directors consists of 11 members, divided among three classes. Two classes consists of four members, and the other class (Class C) consists of three members. The Board of Directors has nominated Lura E. McBride to stand for election at the Annual Meeting to become a director in Class C.
The Board of Directors requires a majority of our directors to be independent, as defined in the listing rules of The NASDAQ Global Select Market (“NASDAQ”). The Board of Directors determines director independence by applying the definition of independence contained in the applicable NASDAQ Listing Rules, both for purposes of NASDAQ’s rule requiring that a majority of the Board of Directors consist of independent directors and its rules requiring the Audit Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee and Compensation Committee to be made up entirely of independent directors.
The Board of Directors has analyzed the independence of each director who served on the Board of Directors during 2019 and director nominee and determined that 10 of our 11 existing directors are independent, and Lura E. McBride, a new director nominee, is also independent. The following directors are independent within the meaning of the NASDAQ Listing Rules, and each is free of any relationship that would interfere with his or her exercise of independent judgment in carrying out the responsibilities of a director: John-Paul E. Besong, Scott L. Carlton, Brenda K. Clancy, Christopher R. Drahozal, Jack B. Evans, George D. Milligan, James W. Noyce, Mary K. Quass, Kyle D. Skogman and Susan E. Voss. Randy A. Ramlo is not independent due to his employment by our Company.
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In determining that Mr. Skogman is independent, the Board considered that the Company maintains a relationship with an insurance agency in which Mr. Skogman is a 25% owner. The services provided by us to this agency were in the ordinary course of business on substantially the same terms and conditions as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with other customers. The value of the services provided by us to this agency represented an immaterial amount to each party and did not rise to the level requiring formal review and approval by the Board of Directors under its written policy regarding related party transactions. We expect to continue providing services to this agency in the future.
Qualifications, Skills and Diversity of Directors and Director Nominees
Our Nominating and Governance Committee, with input from our Chief Executive Officer, reviews and evaluates all director nominees, including incumbent nominees. The Nominating and Governance Committee and the Board of Directors seek qualified individuals who possess the minimum qualifications and the desirable qualities or skills described under the heading Director Nomination Process in this proxy statement.
All of our incumbent directors and nominees possess both the specific minimum qualifications and the desirable qualities or skills. The following charts reflect the diversity of our Board of Directors and the qualifications of each of the directors.

Summary of Director Diversity, Qualifications and ExperienceJohn-Paul BesongScott CarltonBrenda ClancyChris-
topher
Drahozal
Jack EvansLura McBrideGeorge MilliganJames NoyceMary QuassRandy RamloKyle SkogmanSusan Voss
Academia & EducationX
AccountingXXX
ActuarialX
Senior AdministrationXXXXXXXXXX
Business OperationsXXXXXXXXXX
Corporate GovernanceXXXXXXXXXXXX
Finance & CapitalXXXXXX
Financial StatementsXXXXXXXXXXXX
Insurance IndustryXXXXX
InvestmentXXXX
MarketingXXXX
Regulatory & GovernmentX
Risk ManagementXXXXXX
Technology & SystemsXXX

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Diversity
Our directors and nominees provide an effective mix of experience and fresh perspective, as shown on the following charts.
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The average age is 62 as of December 31, 2019. The average tenure is 13.3 years.
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Attendance at Director and Shareholder Meetings
The full Board of Directors met four times during 2019. All of the directors attended 75% or more of the aggregate number of meetings of the Board of Directors and the committees on which they served. Our Corporate Governance Guidelines require directors to attend our Annual Meeting. All directors serving at the time of the 2019 annual meeting of shareholders (the "2019 Annual Meeting") attended that meeting.
Director Retirement
According to our Bylaws, each director must submit his or her resignation from the Board of Directors no later than the first day of February after he or she reaches age 72, and such resignation must be effective no later than the next Annual Meeting.
Director Stock Ownership
We believe that non-employee directors should own and hold Company Common Stock to further align their interests and actions with the interests of our shareholders. Our Articles of Incorporation require that all of our directors own shares of Company Common Stock. The Board of Directors has adopted stock ownership guidelines indicating that each non-employee director should beneficially own at least 100 shares of Company Common Stock when he or she joins the Board of Directors and at least 5,000 shares of Company Common Stock within five years of first being elected to the Board of Directors. A non-employee director shall not sell any shares of Company Common Stock received as a result of an award: (a) if the non-employee director has not met the stock ownership requirement; or (b) if the sale would cause the ownership of the non-employee director to fall below the stock ownership requirement.
Current beneficial stock ownership for each director can be found in the table under Security Ownership by Certain Beneficial Owners in this proxy statement.
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Board Leadership Structure
Our Board of Directors is led by an independent Chairman who is responsible for providing guidance to our Chief Executive Officer, setting the agenda for Board meetings and presiding at all shareholder and director meetings. We also have an independent Vice Chairman who is responsible for presiding in the Chairman’s absence. Neither our Chairman nor our Vice Chairman serves as our Chief Executive Officer. Our Chief Executive Officer is responsible for setting the strategic direction for our Company and providing day-to-day leadership. We currently separate the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. We feel that this is the most appropriate leadership structure for our Board of Directors and executive management at this time because we recognize the benefits of separating the two roles to allow full utilization of the different skill sets required to most effectively and efficiently perform these functions to meet the needs of the Company. Our Board of Directors does not have a formal policy requiring the positions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to be separate, preferring instead to preserve the freedom to decide from time to time what is in the best interest of the Company. Our Board of Directors strongly endorses the concept of an independent director being in a position to lead our independent directors. If at any time neither our Chairman nor our Vice Chairman is an independent director, the independent directors serving at that time will elect an independent director to serve as lead director.
The Board of Directors has six standing committees: Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Executive Committee, Investment Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee and Risk Management Committee. Only independent directors may serve on the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee. Each committee is governed by a written charter that is reviewed and approved annually by the applicable committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee, and the full Board of Directors. All committee charters are available for review either on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com by selecting Overview and then Governance Documents, or in paper form upon written request to: United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909.
Risk Oversight by the Board of Directors
The Risk Management Committee’s charter requires it to assist the Board of Directors in identifying and evaluating risks inherent in our business and to oversee and review the significant policies, procedures, and practices employed to manage risks.
Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) is a methodology that helps us assess and manage our overall exposure to risk. In addition to our Risk Management Committee, we have an executive enterprise risk management committee (“executive ERM committee”) that consists of our President & Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Vice President & Chief Investment Officer, Vice President & Chief Claims Officer, Vice President & General Counsel, Vice President—Corporate Marketing, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Vice President & Strategy Officer, Vice President & Corporate Underwriting Manager, Director of Internal Audit, and Corporate Safety Manager.
The executive ERM committee meets independently of the Risk Management Committee, with representatives from the Risk Management Committee in attendance. Members of the executive ERM committee are invited to attend and participate in meetings of the Risk Management Committee. During 2019, the executive ERM committee met on a quarterly basis to implement risk management strategies. During its meetings, the executive ERM committee discusses the risks that our Company faces and the controls that are in place to mitigate those risks, and identifies potential additional risks.
Collectively, the Risk Management Committee and the executive ERM committee have identified two broad categories of risk faced by our Company: insurance risk and operational risk. We employ a multi-disciplinary approach to risk identification and evaluation, analyzing risk from the point of view of claims, underwriting, finance, and investments. Types of insurance risks generally include, but are not limited to, those risks associated with catastrophes, loss reserving practices, underwriting practices, policy pricing, geographical concentrations of property insured, competition and business mix. Types of operational risks we face generally include, but are not limited to, those risks associated with the diversification and quality of our investments, information technology and cybersecurity, regulatory and legal compliance, business continuity planning, executive succession planning and the application of accounting policies and procedures.
ERM issues are also discussed during quarterly meetings of our full Board of Directors, where directors are updated on ERM issues and the ongoing efforts of the executive ERM committee and our Risk Management Committee. The work of our executive ERM committee, in conjunction with the Risk Management Committee and the Board of Directors, has led to the development of new tools, such as the CATography Underwriter™ tool, designed to aid in the evaluation and mitigation of our Company’s business risks.
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In addition, certain Board committees oversee risk within their respective areas of responsibility. For example, the Audit Committee has been delegated with primary oversight of financial, accounting and securities related risk, and the Compensation Committee oversees the risks associated with the Company’s compensation policies and practices, including conducting an annual risk assessment of such policies and practices. Together with the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee has concluded that the risks arising from our compensation policies and practices are not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Clawback Policy
To further align management's interests with the interest of shareholders and support good governance practices, the Board of Directors has adopted a clawback policy applicable to incentive-based compensation to executive officers. In the event the Company is required to prepare an accounting restatement due to errors, omissions or fraud, the Board of Directors may direct the Company to recover from each of the executive officers the excess value received from any incentive award over the value actually earned based on the restated performance. Our Clawback Policy may be obtained free of charge by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909, or on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com, by selecting Overview, then Governance Documents and then Clawback Policy.
Anti-Hedging and Anti-Pledging Policy
Our policies do not permit our directors or executive officers, including our named executive officers, or employees, to "hedge" their ownership by: (a) trading in publicly-traded options, puts, calls, or other derivative instruments related to the Company’s equity or debt securities; or (b) purchase financial instruments, including prepaid variable forward contracts, instruments for the short sale or purchase or sale of call or put options, equity swaps, collars, or units of exchangeable funds, that are designed to or that may reasonably be expected to have the effect of hedging or offsetting a decrease in the market value of any securities of the Company. In addition, directors or officers are not permitted to hold securities of the Company in margin accounts or pledge securities of the Company as collateral for loans. Our Anti-Hedging Policy may be obtained free of charge by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909, or on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com, by selecting Investors, then Overview, then Governance Documents and then Anti-Hedging Policy.
Chief Executive Officer Performance Evaluation
Representatives of the Executive Committee and Compensation Committee meet each year with our Chief Executive Officer Randy A. Ramlo to review his goals for the current year. During the year, the Executive Committee meets regularly with our Chief Executive Officer to review his performance. The Executive Committee and the Chair of the Compensation Committee annually review the performance of our Chief Executive Officer and assess his performance for that year. The Chief Executive Officer also meets with the Compensation Committee, which considers his performance for the year.
Code of Ethics
Our Board of Directors has adopted a Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that applies to all of our officers, directors, and employees. United Fire Group, Inc.’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct may be obtained free of charge by writing to United Fire Group, Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909, or on our public website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com by selecting Overview, then Governance Documents and then Code of Ethics and Business Conduct. The Code of Ethics and Business Conduct sets forth certain expectations of business conduct and identifies various violations of the code and establishes procedures regarding the reporting of such violations. We intend to include on our website information about any amendments to, or waivers from, a provision of the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that apply to our principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller.
Board Effectiveness Assessment and Evaluation Process
Our Nominating and Governance Committee conducts an annual survey of the directors to assess the effectiveness of our Board of Directors. The Nominating and Governance Committee reviews and considers the results of the survey, reports its findings to the Board of Directors and addresses any areas of concern. The committee also makes recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding our corporate governance practices. All standing committees of our Board of Directors also conduct annual self-assessments and report such self-assessments to the Board of Directors.
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Director Compensation
We have designed the compensation of our non-employee directors to attract and retain qualified directors and to align directors’ interests with the interests of our shareholders. See Director Compensation in this proxy statement for a description of our directors’ compensation program and the fees paid to our non-employee directors during 2019.
Executive Sessions of Independent Directors
The independent directors meet in executive session following each meeting of the Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board presides at meetings of the independent directors. These sessions allow the independent directors to discuss topics without management present. Four executive sessions were held in 2019.
Access to Management and Independent Advisers
The independent directors have access to management and, as necessary and appropriate, to independent advisers.
Committees of the Board
The current membership of six standing committees of the Board of Directors is shown in the following table:
Director NameAudit CommitteeCompensation CommitteeExecutive CommitteeInvestment CommitteeNominating and Governance CommitteeRisk Management Committee
Executive Director
Randy A. RamloMMM
Independent Directors
Jack B. Evans, ChairmanMCMM
John-Paul E. BesongMM
Scott L. CarltonM, FMC
Brenda K. ClancyM, FMM
Christopher R. DrahozalMMC
George D. MilliganMMM
James W. Noyce, Vice ChairC, FMMM
Mary K. QuassCMM
Kyle D. SkogmanMMMC
Susan E. VossMMM
M = Member | C = Chair | F = Audit Committee Financial Expert
Audit Committee
We have a separately designated standing Audit Committee, as defined in Section 3(a)(58)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The Audit Committee is governed by a charter which requires that each member of the Audit Committee be an independent director. All of the members of the Audit Committee are independent under the NASDAQ Listing Rules, applicable law, and the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC, including Section 10A(m)(3) of the Exchange Act. The Board of Directors has determined that Messrs. Carlton and Noyce and Ms. Clancy each possess the skills necessary to qualify as audit committee financial experts as defined by Item 407(d)(5) of Regulation S-K under the Exchange Act.
The Audit Committee is directly responsible for the appointment, compensation and retention (or termination) of our independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee is also responsible for oversight of our internal audit function. The Audit Committee seeks to maintain free and open communications between the directors, the independent registered public accounting firm, the internal auditor and management. Other duties consist of reviewing recommendations by the internal auditor and the independent registered public accounting firm on accounting matters and internal controls; advising the Board of Directors on the scope of audits; reviewing our annual Consolidated Financial Statements and the accounting standards and principles followed; and, if necessary, conducting independent inquiries. The Audit Committee met four times during 2019, including one time in a joint session with the Risk Management Committee and one continuing education meeting.
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Compensation Committee
All of the members of our Compensation Committee are independent under the NASDAQ Listing Rules, applicable law, and the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC, including Section 10C(a) of the Exchange Act. No Compensation Committee member is an employee or former employee of our Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates. With the exception of compensation for his or her service on the Board of Directors, no Compensation Committee member received any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from us. No Compensation Committee member had any relationship that, in the opinion of the directors, would interfere with his or her exercise of independent judgment as a member of the committee.
Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation
During 2019, none of our executive officers served on the compensation committee (or its equivalent) or Board of Directors of another entity whose executive officer(s) served on our Board of Directors or Compensation Committee. No Compensation Committee member had any relationship requiring disclosure under the heading Transactions with Related Persons in this proxy statement.
Responsibilities and Authority
The role of the Compensation Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in its' responsibilities relating to compensation of our senior executive officers and directors. The Compensation Committee oversees all aspects of the compensation of our executive officers and directors, including our director and management equity plans and deferred compensation plans, and other management incentive compensation programs. In overseeing those plans, the Compensation Committee may delegate authority to Company officers for day-to-day plan administration and interpretation. Management provides information to assist the committee regarding participation and award levels in the management plans. The Compensation Committee may not delegate authority for matters affecting the executive officers. The Compensation Committee’s primary processes with respect to compensation of our named executive officers can be found under the heading Compensation Discussion and Analysis in this proxy statement. During 2019, the Compensation Committee engaged the services of Frederic W. Cook & Co. ("FW Cook") as its independent outside compensation consultant to provide advice on executive and director compensation matters. For a discussion of the specific services provided by FW Cook, see Compensation Discussion and Analysis in this proxy statement. The Compensation Committee met four times during 2019.
Executive Committee
The Executive Committee meets during the intervals between Board of Directors’ meetings and has the right and authority to exercise the full powers of our Board of Directors, except where limited by law, or where responsibility and authority is reserved to the Board of Directors or vested in another committee of the Board of Directors. This committee also meets regularly with our Chief Executive Officer, participates with management in the development of our strategic initiatives, and monitors the implementation of these initiatives. In addition, the Executive Committee provides regular advice and counsel to management. The Executive Committee met seven times during 2019.
Investment Committee
The Investment Committee develops and oversees the Investment Policies and Acquisition/Holding Investment Practices of the Company and its subsidiaries. In addition, it reviews the Company’s investments and the quality and performance of, and the risks related to, the Company’s investment portfolios. The Investment Committee meets regularly with our Chief Investment Officer and his staff. The Investment Committee met four times during 2019.
Nominating and Governance Committee
All of the members of our Nominating and Governance Committee are independent under the NASDAQ Listing Rules, applicable law, and the applicable rules and regulations of the SEC. The Nominating and Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing all director nominees, including incumbents, and making recommendations of nominees to the entire Board of Directors. The committee is also responsible for assessing and reporting on nominee qualifications, making assessments of director independence, identifying and reviewing related person transactions, and other matters, including director education and succession planning. The Nominating and Governance Committee met four times during 2019.
Risk Management Committee
For a description of responsibilities and activities of the Risk Management Committee, see Risk Oversight by the Board of Directors in this proxy statement. During 2019, the Risk Management Committee met four times as a
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committee, including one time in a joint session with the Audit Committee, as we believe that both committees should be involved in addressing our Company’s risks.
Director Nomination Process
The Nominating and Governance Committee has adopted a written policy with regard to the consideration of director candidates, including candidates recommended by shareholders. The Nominating and Governance Committee evaluates candidates recommended by shareholders in the same manner as it evaluates other candidates. The committee seeks candidates with the following minimum qualifications:
Each candidate must be prepared to represent the best interests of all of our shareholders and not just one particular constituency.
Each candidate must be an individual who has demonstrated integrity and ethics in the candidate’s personal, business, and professional life and has an established record of business and professional accomplishment.
Neither the candidate nor the candidate’s family members (as defined in the NASDAQ Listing Rules), affiliates or associates (as defined in Rule 405 promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933) shall have any material personal, financial, or professional interest in any present or potential competitor of ours.
Each candidate must, as a director, agree to participate fully in Board of Directors activities, including active membership on at least one Board committee and attendance at, and active participation in, meetings of the Board of Directors and the committee(s) of which he or she is a member and not have other personal, business or professional commitments that would interfere with or limit his or her ability to do so.
Our Articles of Incorporation require that every director is also a shareholder. Each candidate must be willing to make, and financially capable of making, an investment in Company Common Stock as required by the non-employee director stock ownership guidelines adopted by our Board of Directors.
The Nominating and Governance Committee considers it very desirable for candidates to possess the following qualities or skills:
Each candidate should contribute to the Board of Directors' overall diversity, which is broadly construed to mean a variety of opinions, perspectives, personal experience, business experience, professional experience, and backgrounds (such as gender, race, and ethnicity), as well as other differentiating characteristics.
Each candidate should contribute positively to the existing chemistry and collaborative culture among the directors.
Each candidate should possess professional, business, and personal experience and expertise relevant to the Company’s business. In this regard, the Nominating and Governance Committee will consider financial, management and business background, personal and educational background and experience, community leadership, independence and other qualifications, attributes and potential contributions.
The Nominating and Governance Committee identifies and screens candidates for director and makes its recommendations for director to the Board of Directors. The Nominating and Governance Committee selects and recommends each candidate to the Board of Directors each year based on its assessment of, among other things:
the candidate’s personal qualifications as discussed above;
the past and potential contributions of our current directors, and the value of continuity and prior experience on our Board of Directors;
the need for a director to possess particular attributes or particular experience or expertise; and
other factors that it considers relevant, including any specific qualifications the Nominating and Governance Committee adopts from time to time.
At the Annual Meeting, shareholders are being asked to elect Lura E. McBride as a Class C Director to serve the remainder of a term expiring in 2021. Ms. McBride was identified as a candidate to serve as director by independent director Jack B. Evans.
Any shareholder may recommend a person to be considered as a candidate or nominate one or more persons for election as a director of our Company. A shareholder who desires to make such a recommendation must comply with the same requirements applicable to director nominations set forth in Sections 8 and 9 of Article I of our Bylaws. Our Board of Directors encourages shareholders who wish to recommend candidates to the Nominating and Governance Committee to send their recommendations in writing addressed to the Nominating and Governance Committee, United Fire Group, Inc., Attention: Corporate Secretary, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909 using the procedures discussed below.
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Communicating with the Board of Directors
Concerns and Complaints
United Fire Group, Inc. has adopted a process for communicating with our Board of Directors or individual directors. To communicate with our Board of Directors or individual directors regarding issues of concern to or about our Company, access our website, http://ir.ufginsurance.com, by selecting Investor Resources and then Concerns/Complaints, call toll free by telephone at 1-877-256-1056, or write to our Audit Committee at United Fire Group, Inc., Attention: Audit Committee Chair—Confidential, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909. Our Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Neal R. Scharmer, and Audit Committee Chair, James W. Noyce, are responsible for reviewing and reporting such communications to our Board of Directors and individual directors. If requested, and to the extent possible, all communications with our Board of Directors are kept strictly confidential.
Shareholder Proposals and Director Nominations for the 2021 Annual Meeting
To be eligible for inclusion in the proxy materials for the annual meeting of shareholders in 2021 (the "2021 Annual Meeting"), a shareholder proposal must be received by our Corporate Secretary by the close of business on December 8, 2020. All proposals must comply with Rule 14a-8 under the Exchange Act, which lists the requirements for the inclusion of shareholder proposals in company-sponsored proxy materials. Proposals must be delivered to our Corporate Secretary at United Fire Group, Inc., Attention: Corporate Secretary, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909.
Any shareholder proposal that is not submitted for inclusion in next year’s proxy statement under SEC Rule 14a-8, but is instead sought to be presented directly at our 2021 Annual Meeting, or any director nomination for our 2021 Annual Meeting, must be received at our principal executive offices no earlier than the close of business on December 21, 2020 and no later than the close of business on January 20, 2021. Proposals and nominations must be delivered to our Chairman at United Fire Group, Inc., Attention: Chairman of the Board, P.O. Box 73909, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52407-3909.
According to our Articles of Incorporation, minority shareholders who collectively hold at least one-fifth of our outstanding Company Common Stock are entitled to nominate a proportionate number of directors as set forth in Article VII, Section 1(e) of our Articles of Incorporation. Shareholders nominating directors pursuant to this provision must also comply with the provisions of our Bylaws governing director nominations.
PROPOSAL ONE – ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Our Articles of Incorporation require that our Board of Directors be divided into three classes, A, B and C, with one class elected at each Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors must consist of no more than fifteen and no less than nine members, with the exact number fixed by the Board of Directors. The membership of our Board of Directors is currently fixed at 12, divided among three classes, with each class consisting of four members. Four Class A directors and one Class C director identified in this proxy statement are to be elected at this year’s Annual Meeting.
Upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee, our Board of Directors has nominated the following individuals for election to our Board of Directors this year.
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Director Nominees
Directors (Class A) – Terms Expiring in 2020
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Mr. Carlton has a strong international business background and extensive experience within the finance and accounting functions in a global public company. He is currently the President of Tokai Carbon GE LLC, the US subsidiary of Tokai Carbon, a global leader in carbon-based materials, a position he has held since 2017. Prior to this position, Mr. Carlton was the President of SGL Carbon LLC ("SGL Carbon") for 10 years, leading the U.S. companies of SGL Carbon, a leading worldwide manufacturer of carbon-based products. From 2002 until 2007, Mr. Carlton served as Vice President of Finance and Controlling for the largest business unit of SGL Carbon, and in that capacity was responsible for the controlling, finance and accounting functions. Since beginning his career with SGL Carbon in 1994, Mr. Carlton has worked in a variety of accounting and financial positions at various locations within and outside of the U.S. Mr. Carlton holds a bachelors degree in financial management, a masters of business administration degree and completed the Senior Executive Education Program at the London Business School. Mr. Carlton also has insurance experience on both a domestic and international scale. He is also a director of the Carolina chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (“NACD”) and is a registered NACD Governance Fellow. Mr. Carlton serves on the board of E4 Carolinas of Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. Carlton is a first cousin by marriage to Mr. Drahozal, another director of the Company.
Scott L. Carlton
Age 51
Director since 2012
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Ms. Clancy has a wealth of valuable experience in the insurance industry, having most recently served as the Global Chief Technology Officer for AEGON N.V. ("AEGON") (2013-2016), which is a multinational life insurance, pensions and asset management company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands. AEGON is a parent company of Transamerica Corporation, an American holding company for various life insurance companies and investment firms doing business primarily in the United States, offering life and supplemental health insurance, investments, and retirement services. Throughout her 40-year career with AEGON, Ms. Clancy held numerous financial leadership positions including President of Transamerica Life Insurance Company (2008-2016), Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Transamerica Life Insurance Company (2004-2008), Senior Vice President, Information & Finance and Treasurer of Life Investors Insurance Co. of America (1997-2004), and Vice President and Controller of Life Investors Insurance Co. of America (1992-1997). She was actively involved in all major acquisitions, strategy development, change initiatives and business integration. Ms. Clancy is currently a Director for UnityPoint Health, a nonprofit healthcare organization operating in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Brenda K. Clancy
Age 65
Director since 2016
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Mr. Ramlo has served as our President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2007. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer (2006-2007), as Executive Vice President (2004-2007), and as Vice President, Fidelity and Surety (2001-2004). Mr. Ramlo has been with the Company since 1984 and has a very strong knowledge of our business and the insurance industry. He holds numerous professional insurance designations, including Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding, Associate in Management and Associate in Risk Management. Mr. Ramlo is a long-time community leader and supporter, with service to many diverse organizations. He serves as a director of Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, an economic development organization, a member of the board of trustees of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, a member of the University of Northern Iowa School of Business Executive Advisory Board, a trustee on the Iowa College Foundation Board and a trustee of the Eastern Iowa Branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.
Randy A. Ramlo
Age 58
Director since 2008
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Susan E. Voss joined American Enterprise Group, Inc. as its Vice President and General Counsel in November 2013. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, American Enterprise Group provides personal and customized health and life insurance solutions for individuals, families and small business owners. In 2019, Voss became VP of Government Relations and retired December 31, 2019. Prior to joining American Enterprise Group, Inc., Ms. Voss had her own consulting firm in 2013, Voss Consulting, LLC, which provided consulting and expert witness services in the areas of insurance and financial product regulation and compliance issues. Before Voss Consulting, Ms. Voss worked in Iowa state government for 31 years, the last 20 of which were spent with the Iowa Insurance Division. In 2005 she was appointed by then-Governor Tom Vilsack to serve as Iowa Insurance Commissioner, a position she held until 2013. Ms. Voss was elected by her peers as an officer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (“NAIC”) in 2007 and served as its President in 2011. During her time as Iowa Insurance Commissioner and her tenure with the NAIC, Ms. Voss served on a number of NAIC committees including: Market Conduct and Regulation Committee (which she chaired from 2005 to 2006), the Principles-Based Reserving Working Group (which she chaired in 2012), International Insurance Committee (which she chaired in 2012), Life and Annuities Committee, Financial Condition Committee and Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committee.
Susan E. Voss
Age 64
Director since 2014

Directors (Class C) – Terms Expiring in 2021
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Lura E. McBride is the President & CEO at Van Meter Inc. ("Van Meter"), a one-hundred percent employee-owned electrical and automation distributor, a position she has held since 2016. She previously served as Chief Operating Officer since 2010. She has responsibility for the overall vision, direction and growth strategy of Van Meter, employing over 500 employee-owners in 15 locations across Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Virginia. She has experience building strong leadership and a high performing culture to create lasting value for customers, supplier partners, communities and employee-owners. She serves on the Van Meter Board of Directors, the Werner Electric Supply Board of Directors and the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED). Prior to joining Van Meter in 2008, she worked for almost 15 years at Accenture, a global management consulting company based out of Chicago, Illinois. Her work experiences were in the areas of Systems Integration, Change Management, Human Performance, Knowledge Management, Business Process Design and Program Management. Ms. McBride graduated from University of Iowa with degrees in Finance and Marketing. In the community, Ms. McBride serves on various boards and committees including The Tippie School of Business Advisory Board, Tanager Place, The Hall-Perrine Foundation, Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital, Iowa BIG and the Cedar Rapids Police Chief Council.
Lura E. McBride
Age 47
Director Nominee

Vote Required and Board Recommendation
Directors in uncontested elections are elected by a majority vote of the shares, represented either in person or by proxy, and entitled to vote in the election at the Annual Meeting at which a quorum is present. In tabulating the voting results for the election of directors, “FOR” votes are counted in favor of the election of a director, and “AGAINST” votes are counted against the election of a director. Abstentions will have the same effect as a vote against the director.
The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR the election to the Board of each of the five director nominees identified in this proxy statement.
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Continuing Directors
The following individuals are continuing members of our Board of Directors who are not up for election at the Annual Meeting.
Directors (Class C) – Terms Expiring in 2021
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Mr. Drahozal is an internationally known legal scholar. He is the John M. Rounds Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence, Kansas, where he has taught since 1994. During Fall 2015 and Fall 2018 he was the Mason Ladd Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law. He is on the Board of Directors of The McIntyre Foundation. From 2012 to 2016, Mr. Drahozal served as special advisor to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., on matters related to the use of arbitration clauses in consumer financial services contracts. Prior to teaching, Mr. Drahozal was in private law practice in Washington, D.C., and served as a law clerk for the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Drahozal is a first cousin by marriage to Mr. Carlton, another director of the Company.
Christopher R. Drahozal
Age 58
Director since 1997
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Mr. Evans became Chairman of our Board of Directors in October 2009. He has served as a director since 1995 and as Vice Chairman from 1997-2009. Mr. Evans has a very strong business background and currently holds the position of Chairman of The Hall-Perrine Foundation since December 2018, a private philanthropic corporation located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has held the position of President from 1996 to 2018. From 1993 to 1995, he served as President of SCI Financial Group, a regional financial services firm located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that provided brokerage, insurance and related services to its clients. Mr. Evans has extensive experience with public companies. He has served on the Board of Trustees of registered investment companies in the Nuveen Mutual Funds complex since 1999. He has served as a director of Alliant Energy Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin, a utility company, and as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Mr. Evans is also a former member of the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s public university system. As a long-serving director of our Company, Mr. Evans has gained broad knowledge of the insurance industry generally and our Company in particular.
Jack B. Evans
Age 71
Director since 1995
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Mr. Milligan has a strong business background, with service since 1985 as President of The Graham Group, Inc., of Des Moines, Iowa. The Graham Group, Inc. consists of a real estate firm specializing in developing office buildings and a construction firm specializing in constructing hospital facilities. Since 2005, Mr. Milligan has also served as a director of West Bancorporation, Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa, a bank holding company. Mr. Milligan serves as a director on the loan committee and nominating and governance committee of the West Bancorporation, Inc. Board of Directors. Mr. Milligan previously served as director of Allied Life Insurance Company. Mr. Milligan is a long-time community leader and supporter, being active with the Boy Scouts of America, the Dowling Foundation, and the Variety Club of Iowa.
George D. Milligan
Age 63
Director since 1999

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Directors (Class B) – Terms Expiring in 2022
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Mr. Besong has a strong technical, business and management background, having previously held the position of Senior Vice President of e-Business and Chief Information Officer for Rockwell Collins, a Fortune 500 company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that provides aviation electronics for both commercial and military aircraft. He was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer in 2003, serving until 2015. Since 2015, Mr. Besong has served as a director of QCR Holdings, Inc. of Moline, Illinois, a multi-bank holding company. Mr. Besong is a strong community supporter and member of various industry and community boards. He serves on the board of directors of Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI), Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids Area), Mercy Medical Center, Iowa Public Television Foundation and Technology Association of Iowa ("TAI") CIO Advisory Board, where he serves as a member and former chair of the executive board of TAI. Mr. Besong’s business background provides him with a very strong understanding of technological advances critical to the insurance industry. The Board of Directors believes that Mr. Besong’s qualifications to serve as director include his business acumen and distinguished management career as an officer and information technology expert of a Fortune 500 company.
John-Paul E. Besong
Age 66
Director since 2013
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Mr. Noyce has a strong business, accounting and insurance industry background, with extensive public company experience. Before retiring, Mr. Noyce had nearly three decades of experience in the financial services industry, most recently as Chief Executive Officer and Director of FBL Financial Group, Inc. (“FBL”), an insurance holding company headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa. While at FBL, Mr. Noyce served as Chief Executive Officer and Director (2007-2009), Chief Financial Officer (1996-2007), and Chief Administrative Officer (2002-2007). From January 2000 to July 2002 he was Executive Vice President and General Manager of the property casualty companies managed by FBL. Mr. Noyce began his employment with FBL and its affiliates in 1985. From January to May 2016, Mr. Noyce served as Interim CEO of the Greater Des Moines YMCA while the organization performed a search for a permanent CEO. Since 2009, Mr. Noyce has served as a director of West Bancorporation, Inc. of West Des Moines, Iowa, a bank holding company, and was named Board Chairman in April 2018. Mr. Noyce has held or still holds numerous professional certifications and designations including certified public accountant; Fellow, Casualty Actuarial Society; Associate, Society of Actuaries; Fellow, Life Management Institute; and Member, American Academy of Actuaries. He was named Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry by the Iowa Society of CPAs and was inducted into the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Business and Industry Hall of Fame in 2007.
James W. Noyce
Age 64
Director since 2009
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Ms. Quass is President and Chief Executive Officer of NRG Media, LLC, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a position that she has held since 2005. NRG Media, LLC is a broadcast group consisting of 42 analog radio stations and 20 digital streaming radio stations in the Midwest. Ms. Quass also served on the board of directors for Van Meter Inc., a distributor of electrical and mechanical supplies, services and solutions in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, region of U.S. Bank. Ms. Quass’ service extends to community boards as Chair for Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Trustee of United Way East Central Iowa. Ms. Quass is involved in professional organizations including service on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau Executive Committee, and as Treasurer of the QMac IBA Foundation and past Chair of the Iowa Broadcasters Association. Ms. Quass has been recognized by the broadcast industry as one of the 40 Most Powerful Broadcasters (2005-2010). In 2017, Ms. Quass was recognized by the Radio Industry, receiving the Radio Wayne "Americas Best Broadcaster Award and MIW Trailblazer Award given to Outstanding Women leaders. In 2019, Ms. Quass received the National Association of Broadcasters National Radio Award. Ms. Quass has a very strong understanding of the insurance industry in general and our business operations in particular due to her service on our Board of Directors.
Mary K. Quass
Age 69
Director since 1998
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Mr. Skogman possesses a strong business background. Since 1990, he has served as President of Skogman Construction Co. of Iowa, a company that specializes in residential construction and real estate sales, primarily in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Skogman Homes has built over 6,200 homes since Mr. Skogman became President. Mr. Skogman also owns an interest in a property-casualty insurance agency. He was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Area Homebuilders Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Kyle D. Skogman
Age 69
Director since 2000

PROPOSAL TWO – RATIFICATION OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE’S APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Information About Our Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
The Audit Committee has appointed Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020 and has directed that management submit the selection of the independent registered public accounting firm to shareholders for ratification at the Annual Meeting. Ernst & Young LLP has served as our independent registered public accounting firm since 2002. Representatives from Ernst & Young LLP will attend the Annual Meeting, will have the opportunity to make a statement if they wish to do so, and will be available to respond to appropriate shareholder questions. Although shareholder ratification of the appointment of our independent registered public accounting firm is not required by our Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws or otherwise, the Board of Directors is seeking ratification as a matter of good corporate governance. The Audit Committee will consider the outcome of this vote in future deliberations regarding the appointment of our independent registered public accounting firm.
Fees Billed to United Fire Group, Inc. During 2019 and 2018
The following table represents the total fees billed for services rendered to us by Ernst & Young LLP for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019, and December 31, 2018, respectively:
Services2019 Fees ($)2018 Fees ($)
Audit (1)1,306,100  1,427,500  
Audit-Related (2)—  —  
Tax (3)100,020  204,495  
All Other—  —  
Total Fees1,406,120  1,631,995  
(1)Audit Fees. “Audit” fees consist of fees for professional services rendered for the audit of United Fire Group, Inc.’s Consolidated Financial Statements and internal control over financial reporting, review of the interim Consolidated Financial Statements included in quarterly reports, services that are normally provided by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with statutory or regulatory filings or engagements, and services that generally only the independent registered public accounting firm can reasonably provide.
(2)Audit-Related Fees. “Audit-Related” fees consist of fees for assurance and related services that are traditionally performed by the independent registered public accounting firm and are reasonably related to the performance of the audit or the review of our financial statements, but are not reported as “Audit” fees.
(3)Tax Fees. Tax fees billed to us by Ernst & Young LLP in 2019 and 2018 related to tax compliance, tax advice, or tax planning services rendered to us.
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Audit Committee Pre-Approval
The Audit Committee of our Board of Directors is governed by a charter that requires the Audit Committee to appoint, evaluate, and oversee our independent registered public accounting firm. As part of its responsibilities, the Audit Committee reviews and approves the provision of all audit and non-audit services for the purpose of assuring the independence of our independent auditors. The Audit Committee pre-approved all of the services provided and the fees charged by Ernst & Young LLP during 2019 and 2018.
Vote Required and Board Recommendation
Ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for 2020 requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on this proposal. In tabulating the voting results for the ratification of the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP, abstentions will not affect the voting results on this proposal because only “FOR” and “AGAINST” votes are counted as votes cast.
The Audit Committee and the Board of Directors recommend a vote FOR ratification of the Audit Committee’s appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as United Fire Group, Inc.’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2020.
Report of the Audit Committee*
February 2020
The Audit Committee reviews United Fire Group, Inc.’s financial reporting process on behalf of the Board of Directors. Management has primary responsibility for the financial statements and the reporting process, including the system of internal controls. In accordance with standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), Ernst & Young LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, is responsible for performing an audit of United Fire Group, Inc.’s Consolidated Financial Statements, assessing the effectiveness of United Fire Group, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting and issuing reports thereon. The Audit Committee monitors these processes. The Audit Committee consists entirely of independent directors and operates pursuant to a charter adopted by it and by the Board of Directors. The Audit Committee met four times during 2019.
The Audit Committee has:
reviewed and discussed the audited Consolidated Financial Statements with management;
discussed with Ernst & Young LLP the matters required to be discussed by the applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the SEC;
received from Ernst & Young LLP the written disclosures and the letter required by the applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding the independent auditor’s communications with the Audit Committee concerning independence; and
discussed with the independent auditors, the auditors' independence.
The Audit Committee has discussed with United Fire Group, Inc.’s internal auditor and with Ernst & Young LLP the overall scope and plans for their respective audits. The Audit Committee met with the internal auditor and Ernst & Young LLP both with and without management present, to discuss the results of their examinations, the evaluations of United Fire Group, Inc.’s internal controls and the overall quality of United Fire Group, Inc.’s financial reporting process.
Based on the reviews and discussions referred to above, the Audit Committee recommended to the Board of Directors (and the Board of Directors has approved) that the audited Consolidated Financial Statements be included in United Fire Group, Inc.’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, for filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Audit Committee appointed Ernst & Young LLP as United Fire Group, Inc.’s independent registered public accounting firm for the year ending December 31, 2020 and recommends that the shareholders ratify the appointment.
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James W. Noyce, Chair
John-Paul E. Besong
Scott L. Carlton
Brenda K. Clancy
Christopher R. Drahozal
Jack B. Evans
George D. Milligan
Kyle D. Skogman
*This Report of the Audit Committee is not “soliciting material” and is not deemed “filed” with the SEC. The incorporation by reference of this proxy statement into any document filed with the SEC by the Company shall not be deemed to include this report unless such report is specifically stated to be incorporated by reference into such document.
PROPOSAL THREE – AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED FIRE GROUP, INC. NON-EMPLOYEE DIRECTOR STOCK PLAN
Description of the Plan
Our Board of Directors has adopted, subject to shareholder approval, an amendment to the 2005 Non-Qualified Non-Employee Director Stock Option and Restricted Stock Plan (the “Director Plan”) to: (a) increase from 300,000 to 450,000 the number of shares that may be issued under the Director Plan; (b) extend the life of the Director Plan from December 31, 2020 to December 31, 2029; and (c) allow for the grant of awards of restricted stock units ("RSUs"). The amendment also renames the Director Plan as the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan. The amendment to the Director Plan will become effective upon shareholder approval. The following summary description of the Director Plan, as proposed to be amended, is qualified in its entirety by reference to the full text of the Director Plan, as amended, which is attached to this Proxy Statement as Appendix A.
Nature and Purpose of the Director Plan
The Director Plan authorizes the Board of Directors to grant to non-employee directors awards of restricted stock, RSUs settled in shares of our common stock, and non-qualified stock options to purchase our common stock. Such awards may be granted alone, in tandem, or in addition to other awards. The purpose of the Director Plan is to advance the interests of our Company through the attraction, motivation, and retention of qualified non-employee directors. The Director Plan provides a means for non-employee directors to increase their equity ownership of our Company. By increasing their equity ownership, their economic interests will more closely align with those of our other shareholders, and the non-employee directors will have an additional incentive to contribute to our Company’s success.
Shares of Stock Subject to the Director Plan
The Director Plan previously reserved 300,000 shares of common stock that the Board of Directors could allocate between awards of non-qualified stock options and awards of restricted stock. As of December 31, 2019, only 34,863 shares remained available to be awarded under the Director Plan; and awards covering 47,554 shares were outstanding under the Director Plan. The proposed amendment increases the number of shares that may be issued under the Director Plan from 300,000 to 450,000. If the shareholders approve the amendment to the Director Plan, the Board of Directors will be able to grant awards with respect to an additional 150,000 shares of common stock without again seeking approval from the shareholders. On March 23, 2020, the closing sales price per share of our common stock as reported on NASDAQ was $29.46.
If there is any change in the shares of our common stock because of a merger, consolidation or reorganization, or if the Board of Directors declares a stock dividend or stock split distributed in shares of common stock, or if there is a change in our capital stock structure affecting our common stock, the number of shares of common stock reserved for issuance under the Director Plan will be correspondingly adjusted to prevent dilution or enlargement of awards granted under the Director Plan.
Administration
The Director Plan is administered by the Board of Directors and the Compensation Committee.
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Plan Term
The effective date of the most recent amendment to the Director Plan was May 18, 2011, the date the amendment was approved by the shareholders, and the Director Plan is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020. The proposed amendment to the Director Plan provides that the Director Plan will expire on December 31, 2029, thereby extending the life of the Director Plan.
Eligibility
Awards under the Director Plan may be granted only to non-employee directors, as recommended by the Compensation Committee and approved by the Board of Directors. As of March 23, 2020, there were 10 non-employee directors eligible to receive awards pursuant the Director Plan. In granting awards to directors, our Compensation Committee takes into account the duties of the directors, their present and potential contribution to our success and the success of our subsidiaries, and other factors that our Compensation Committee deems relevant in connection with accomplishing the purposes of the Director Plan. See Director Compensation in this proxy statement for a description of our directors’ compensation program.
Although all of our non-employee directors will be eligible for awards under the Director Plan, as amended, it is not possible, at this time, to predict the future benefits and amounts that will actually be received by any individual director or group of directors.
Limitations
The Director Plan provides that no non-employee director may be granted awards under the Director Plan with an aggregate grant date fair value in a calendar year that exceeds $300,000.
Terms and Conditions of Awards
The Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors may grant awards of options, restricted stock and RSUs subject to such restrictions and conditions as they determine. Each award must be evidenced by a written agreement between us and the individual director specifying the number of shares and the other terms, restrictions, and conditions of the award. Awards may be subject to additional terms and conditions, including those described below.
Exercise Price; Consideration
At the time a stock option award is granted, the Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors will determine the exercise price for the shares of common stock underlying the stock option. The exercise price for a stock option award may not be less than 100% of the "fair market value" of a share of common stock on the date the stock option is granted, as defined in the Director Plan.
The Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors may grant awards of restricted stock or RSUs for such consideration as they may determine, including cash, cash equivalents, full-recourse promissory notes, past services and future services, provided that to the extent an award of restricted stock consists of newly issued restricted stock or to the extent shares of common stock underlying an award of RSUs are to be newly issued, the director must furnish consideration having a value not less than the par value of the restricted stock or shares of common stock, as applicable.
Payment of Consideration
The means of payment for shares issued upon exercise of an award may be specified in each award agreement. The Director Plan permits payment to be made by cash, delivery of other shares of Company common stock, or broker-assisted sales. The Board of Directors may condition the delivery of any shares or other benefits under the Director Plan on satisfaction of applicable withholding obligations.
Vesting Conditions
Restrictions and conditions may lapse in full or in installments on the basis of factors, including the director's continued service, as determined by the Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors and specified in the applicable award agreement. If the Board of Directors does not designate a vesting schedule for a stock option award, the stock option award will become fully vested on the one-year anniversary of the grant date.
Dividends and Dividend Equivalents
A stock option award agreement or RSU award agreement may provide that the award includes the right to receive dividends or dividend equivalents payable in cash or shares of common stock. Any dividends and dividend equivalents under any award will be subject to the same vesting conditions and payment dates as the underlying
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shares of common stock, and no dividends or dividend equivalents will be paid unless and until the related award has vested.
Term of Stock Option Award
The Board of Directors has the discretion to set the term of each stock option award, provided the term may not be more than 10 years from the date of grant. No award may be exercised after the expiration of its term.
Change in Control
Notwithstanding any restrictions set forth in any award agreement, all awards will become immediately vested and exercisable upon the occurrence of a change in control (as defined in the Director Plan). A change in control will occur if: (i) any person becomes the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of 20% or more of the combined voting power of our outstanding securities; (ii) during any period of two consecutive years, individuals who at the beginning of such period constitute the Board of Directors and any new director whose election by the Board of Directors or nomination for election by the Company’s shareholders was approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of the directors then still in office who either were directors at the beginning of the period or whose election or nomination for election was previously so approved, cease for any reason to constitute a majority of the Board of Directors; (iii) a merger, share exchange or consolidation with any other company is consummated, other than a merger, share exchange or consolidation that would result in the voting securities outstanding immediately prior thereto continuing to represent at least 50% of the combined voting power of the surviving entity outstanding immediately after such merger, share exchange or consolidation, or our shareholders approve a plan of complete liquidation or an agreement for the sale or disposition by us of all or substantially all our assets.
Death or Retirement of Director
Upon the death of a director or the retirement of a director from the Board of Directors, that director’s options whose terms have not expired become fully vested and immediately exercisable. If a director dies during the term of an option without having fully exercised the option, the executor or administrator of the director’s estate or the person who inherits the right to exercise the option by bequest or inheritance shall have the right at any time following the director’s death until the expiration date of the option to exercise the option. Upon the death of the transferee of an option transferred upon the death of a director, the transferee’s executors, administrators or beneficiaries may exercise the option for a period of one year following the date of the transferee’s death, provided that in no event may an option be exercised after its expiration date. Upon the retirement, disability or death of a director or in special circumstances, the Board of Directors may waive restrictions with respect to that director’s restricted stock or RSUs.
Non-Transferability of Awards
Unless otherwise provided by the Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors, awards granted under the Director Plan are not transferable other than by will or the laws of descent and distribution.
Other Provisions
An award agreement may contain other terms, provisions, and conditions not inconsistent with the Director Plan, as the Compensation Committee or the Board of Directors may determine.
Summary of Federal Income Tax Consequences of the Director Plan
The following summary is intended only as a general guide to the current U.S. federal income tax consequences of participation in the Director Plan and does not attempt to describe all possible federal or other tax consequences of such participation or tax consequences based on particular circumstances. Furthermore, the tax consequences are complex and subject to change, and a taxpayer’s particular situation may be such that some variation of the described rules is applicable.
The following discussion is based on an analysis of the Internal Revenue Code, existing laws, judicial decisions and administrative rulings and regulations, all of which are subject to change. In addition to being subject to the Federal income tax consequences described below, a director may also be subject to state and local tax consequences in the jurisdiction in which he or she works and/or resides.
The grant of a stock option under the Director Plan will create no income tax consequences to the non-employee director or to us. A director who is granted a non-qualified stock option will generally recognize ordinary income at the time of exercise in an amount equal to the excess of the fair market value of the common stock acquired at such time over the exercise price. We will generally be entitled to a deduction in the same amount and at the same time as ordinary income is recognized by the non-employee director. A subsequent disposition of the common stock will give rise to capital gain or loss to the extent the amount realized from the sale differs from the exercise price of the option.
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This capital gain or loss will be long-term capital gain or loss if the common stock has been held for more than one year from the date of exercise.
A director will not recognize taxable income at the time restricted stock is granted and we will not be entitled to a tax deduction at that time, unless the director makes an election to be taxed at that time. If such election is made, the director will recognize compensation taxable as ordinary income at the time of the grant in an amount equal to the excess of the fair market value for the shares at such time over the amount, if any, paid for those shares. If such election is not made, the director will recognize compensation taxable as ordinary income at the time the restrictions constituting a substantial risk of forfeiture lapse in an amount equal to the excess of the fair market value of the shares at such time over the amount, if any, paid for those shares. The amount of ordinary income recognized by making the above-described election or upon the lapse of restrictions constituting a substantial risk of forfeiture is generally deductible by the Company.
A director will not recognize taxable income at the time a RSU is granted and the Company will not be entitled to a tax deduction at that time. Upon settlement of RSUs, the director will recognize compensation taxable as ordinary income in an amount equal to the fair market value of any shares delivered and the amount of any cash paid by the Company, and the Company will be entitled to a corresponding deduction.
Amendment and Discontinuance of the Director Plan
The Board of Directors may at any time amend or discontinue the Director Plan, provided the Board of Directors may not, without shareholder approval, (i) decrease the exercise price for shares under a stock option to less than 100% of the fair market value of the shares on the date the option is granted, as defined in the Director Plan, (ii) change the class of persons to whom awards may be made pursuant to the Director Plan, (iii) provide for awards to be exercisable more than 10 years after the date granted, or (v) increase the number of shares to be reserved for awards granted pursuant to the Director Plan. In addition, the Board of Directors may not revoke or alter the terms of any award previously granted pursuant to the Director Plan with the impacted director's consent.
Historical Equity Awards Table
The following table sets forth the number of stock options and shares of restricted stock granted over the lifetime of the Director Plan to the Company's non-employee directors as of March 23, 2020. As noted above, only directors are eligible to receive awards under the Director Plan.

GroupStock OptionsRestricted Stock
All non-executive directors190,649  98,491  

Vote Required and Board Recommendation
Approval regarding the amendment of the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares (represented either in person or by proxy) entitled to vote in the election at a meeting at which a quorum is present.
The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR the proposed amendment of the United Fire Group, Inc. Non-Employee Director Stock Plan.
PROPOSAL FOUR – SHAREHOLDER ADVISORY VOTE TO APPROVE THE COMPENSATION OF THE COMPANY’S NAMED EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
Say-On-Pay Advisory Vote
As required pursuant to Section 14A of the Exchange Act, shareholders have the opportunity to vote, on a non-binding advisory basis, on the compensation of our named executive officers (“Say-on-Pay Vote”). Our Board of Directors is committed to corporate governance best practices and recognizes the interest of shareholders in executive compensation matters. Although the vote is advisory and is not binding on the Board of Directors, the Compensation
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Committee will review the voting results and consider the constructive feedback obtained through the shareholder advisory vote in making decisions about future compensation arrangements for our named executive officers.
Based on the voting results of the 2017 Annual Meeting with respect to the frequency of future Say-on-Pay votes, the Board had decided to include a Say-on-Pay vote in our proxy statement on an annual basis until the next required advisory vote on the frequency of future Say-on-Pay votes.
As discussed in Compensation Discussion and Analysis in this proxy statement, the Board of Directors believes that our current executive compensation program directly links executive compensation to our Company’s performance and aligns the interests of our named executive officers with those of our shareholders. For example:
Our executive compensation program encourages executive decision-making that is aligned with the long-term interests of our shareholders;
Bonuses and performance stock unit awards for named executive officers are tied to specific performance goals;
We encourage long-term stock ownership by our executive officers with award features such as time-based vesting;
We have adopted stock ownership guidelines for our executive officers; and
Our compensation uses a balance of short- and long-term performance metrics to encourage the efficient management of our business and minimize excessive risk-taking.
The Board of Directors believes that United Fire Group, Inc.’s executive compensation program is designed to meet the objectives discussed in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis section of this proxy statement. Accordingly, the Board recommends that shareholders vote in favor of the following resolution: “RESOLVED, that the compensation paid to United Fire Group, Inc.’s named executive officers as described in the proxy statement under Executive Compensation, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis section, the compensation tables and other narrative disclosure, contained therein, is hereby APPROVED.”
Vote Required and Board Recommendation
Approval of the resolution regarding the compensation of our named executive officers requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on this proposal. In tabulating the voting results for the resolution regarding executive compensation, abstentions will not affect the voting results on this proposal because only “FOR” and “AGAINST” votes are counted as votes cast.
The Board of Directors recommends a vote FOR the approval, on an advisory basis, of the compensation of our named executive officers.
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners
The following table sets forth information as of March 23, 2020, with respect to persons known to us to beneficially own more than five percent of the Company Common Stock, based solely on our review of filings with the SEC pursuant to Section 13(d) or 13(g) of the Exchange Act. Except as otherwise indicated, each of the shareholders listed in the following table has sole voting and dispositive power over the shares beneficially owned:
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Title of ClassName and Address of Beneficial OwnerAmount and Nature of Beneficial Ownership (#)Percent of Class (%)
CommonBlackRock, Inc.
55 East 52nd St
New York NY 10055
3,335,704  (1)13.4 %
CommonDee Ann McIntyre
1218 Bishops Lodge Rd
Santa Fe NM 87501-1099
2,997,102  (2)12.0 %
CommonThe Vanguard Group
100 Vanguard Blvd
Malvern PA 19355
2,256,554  (3)9.0 %
CommonDimensional Fund Advisors LP
6300 Bee Cave Rd
Austin TX 78746
1,941,999  (4)7.8 %
CommonEARNEST Partners LLC
1180 Peachtree St NE Ste 2300
Atlanta GA 30309
1,524,477  (5)6.1 %
(1)Based on a Schedule 13G (Amendment No. 11) filed with the SEC on February 4, 2020, the number of securities beneficially owned by BlackRock, Inc. as of December 31, 2019 includes: 3,286,038 shares for which it holds sole voting power and 3,335,704 shares for which it holds sole dispositive power.
(2)Based on a Schedule 13G (Amendment No. 7) filed with the SEC on February 14, 2019, the number of securities beneficially owned by Mrs. McIntyre as of December 31, 2018 includes: 2,525,239 shares for which Mrs. McIntyre holds sole voting and dispositive power, and 471,863 shares for which Mrs. McIntyre holds shared voting and dispositive power.
(3)Based on a Schedule 13G (Amendment No. 5) filed with the SEC on February 12, 2020, the number of securities beneficially owned by The Vanguard Group as of December 31, 2019 includes: 22,437 shares for which it holds sole voting power, 4,820 shares for which is holds shared voting power, 2,231,944 shares for which it holds sole dispositive power and 24,610 shares for which it holds shared dispositive power.
(4)Based on a Schedule 13G (Amendment No. 11) filed with the SEC on February 12, 2020, the number of securities beneficially owned by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP ("Dimensional") through various funds and accounts as of December 31, 2019 includes: 1,888,989 shares for which it holds sole voting power and 1,941,999 shares for which it holds sole dispositive power. Dimensional disclaims beneficial ownership of such securities.
(5)Based on a Schedule 13G (Amendment No. 18) filed with the SEC on February 7, 2020, the number of securities beneficially owned by EARNEST Partners, LLC as of December 31, 2019 includes: 911,583 shares for which it holds sole voting power and 1,524,477 shares for which it holds sole dispositive power.
Security Ownership of Management
The following table sets forth certain information regarding the beneficial ownership of our Company Common Stock as of March 23, 2020, with respect to each of our directors, director nominees, named executive officers and all of our directors and executive officers as a group. As of March 23, 2020, we had 24,982,154 shares of Company Common
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Stock outstanding. Except as otherwise indicated, each of the shareholders listed in the following table has sole voting and dispositive power over the shares beneficially owned:
Name of Beneficial OwnerAmount and Nature of Beneficial Ownership (#) (1)Percent of Common Stock Outstanding (%)
John-Paul E. Besong11,968  (2)  
Scott L. Carlton128,580  (3)  
Brenda K. Clancy4,006  (4)  
Christopher R. Drahozal887,473  (5) 3.55  
Barrie W. Ernst70,275  (6) 0.28  
Jack B. Evans60,686  (7)  
Dawn M. Jaffray28,518  (8) 0.11  
Lura E. McBride100  (9)  
George D. Milligan40,622  (10)  
James W. Noyce18,355  (11)  
Mary K. Quass27,436  (12)  
Randy A. Ramlo244,195  (13) 0.98  
Neal R. Scharmer39,400  (14) 0.16  
Kyle D. Skogman38,786  (15)  
Susan E. Voss8,277  (16)  
Michael T. Wilkins112,080  (17) 0.45  
All directors and executive officers as a group1,720,757  6.89  
*Represents less than 1% of the issued and outstanding shares of Company Common Stock as of March 23, 2020.
(1)The inclusion in this table of any shares shown as beneficially owned does not constitute admission of beneficial ownership. None of the shares disclosed in the table are pledged as security. In computing the number of shares of Company Common Stock beneficially owned by a person and the percentage ownership of that person, we deemed outstanding shares Company Common Stock subject to options held by that person that are currently exercisable or exercisable within 60 days from March 23, 2020, and Company Common Stock issuable upon the vesting of restricted stock units ("RSU") within 60 days from March 23, 2020, to be outstanding. We did not deem these shares outstanding, however, for the purpose of computing the percentage ownership of any other person.
(2)Includes 10,213 shares owned individually by Mr. Besong and stock options for 1,755 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Besong on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(3)Includes 87,200 shares owned individually by Mr. Carlton and 41,380 shares owned in accounts for the benefit of Mr. Carlton’s children.
(4)Includes 4,006 shares owned individually by Ms. Clancy.
(5)Includes 30,912 shares owned individually by Mr. Drahozal, 243,086 shares owned individually by Mr. Drahozal’s wife, 74,714 shares owned in accounts for the benefit of Mr. Drahozal’s children, 471,863 shares owned by The McIntyre Foundation, of which Mr. Drahozal and his wife serve as directors, and 66,898 shares owned by the J. Scott McIntyre Trust FBO the Kaye Drahozal Family, of which Mr. Drahozal and his wife serve as co-trustees.
(6)Includes 8,638 shares owned individually by Mr. Ernst, 7,822 shares owned in a Company 401(k) account for Mr. Ernst’s benefit, 1,178 shares held individually by Mr. Ernst’s wife, stock options for 48,496 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Ernst on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020, and 1,479 RSUs and 2,662 PSUs vesting on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(7)Includes 51,935 shares owned individually by Mr. Evans, 2,000 shares held in a 401(k) account for Mr. Evan’s benefit, 3,674 shares held in an individual retirement account for Mr. Evans’ benefit, 2,024 shares held in an IRA account for the benefit of Mr. Evans’ wife, and stock options for 1,053 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Evans on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(8)Includes 1,181 shares owned individually by Ms. Jaffray, stock options for 22,368 shares that are exercisable by Ms. Jaffray on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020, and 1,774 RSUs and 3,195 PSUs vesting on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(9)Includes 100 shares owned by Ms. McBride individually.
(10)Includes 38,867 shares owned individually by Mr. Milligan and stock options for 1,755 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Milligan on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(11)Includes 12,955 shares owned individually by Mr. Noyce, 1,500 shares held in a trust account for Mr. Noyce’s wife, and stock options for 3,900 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Noyce on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
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(12)Includes 18,082 shares owned individually by Ms. Quass and stock options for 9,354 shares that are exercisable by Ms. Quass on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(13)Includes 36,378 shares owned individually by Mr. Ramlo, 404 shares owned individually by Mr. Ramlo’s wife, 2,266 shares owned by a Company 401(k) account for Mr. Ramlo’s benefit; stock options for 194,382 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Ramlo on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020, and 3,844 RSUs and 6,921 PSUs vesting on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(14)Includes 9,456 shares owned individually by Mr. Scharmer, 2,891 shares held in a Company 401(k) account for Mr. Scharmer’s benefit, stock options for 24,569 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Scharmer on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020, and 887 RSUs and 1,597 PSUs vesting on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(15)Includes 28,691 shares owned individually by Mr. Skogman, 5,650 shares owned by Mr. Skogman’s wife, and stock options for 4,445 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Skogman on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
(16)Includes 8,277 shares owned individually by Ms. Voss.
(17)Includes 25,171 shares owned individually by Mr. Wilkins, 2,878 shares held in a Company 401(k) account for Mr. Wilkins’s benefit, stock options for 79,062 shares that are exercisable by Mr. Wilkins on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020, and 1,774 RSUs and 3,195 PSUs vesting on or before 60 days from March 23, 2020.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The United Fire Group, Inc. Stock Plan authorizes the Board of Directors to grant stock options and other stock awards to employees of the Company or its subsidiaries and affiliates, with 3,400,000 shares initially reserved for such awards and 834,910 shares remaining available for future issuance at December 31, 2019.
The 2005 Non-Qualified Non-Employee Director Stock Option and Restricted Stock Plan authorizes the Board of Directors to grant stock options and restricted stock to non-employee directors, with 300,000 shares initially reserved for such awards and 34,863 shares remaining available for future issuance at December 31, 2019.
The following table shows information, as of December 31, 2019, regarding shares of Company Common Stock authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans.
Equity Compensation Plan Information – 2019
Plan Category
Number of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, Warrants and Rights (#)
(a)
Weighted-Average Exercise Price of Outstanding Options, Warrants and Rights ($) (b) (1)
Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans (Excluding Securities Reflected in Column (a)) (#)
(c)
Equity Compensation Plans Approved by Security Holders1,062,164  (2) 35.39  869,773  (3) 
Equity Compensation Plans Not Approved by Security Holders—  —  —  
Total1,062,164  869,773   
(1)The weighted-average exercise price is calculated based solely on the exercise prices of outstanding stock options and does not reflect the shares that will be issued upon the vesting of outstanding PSUs or RSUs that have no exercise price.
(2)Includes 829,714 stock options, 159,062 RSUs, and 73,388 PSUs (assuming probable achievement estimated as of December 31, 2019).
(3)Includes 834,910 shares available for issuance under the United Fire Group, Inc. Stock Plan and 34,863 shares available for issuance under the 2005 Non-Qualified Non-Employee Director Stock Option and Restricted Stock Plan.

The Company previously offered an employee stock purchase plan that was terminated effective January 8, 2020.
Delinquent Section 16(a) Reports
Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act requires the Company’s directors, executive officers, and persons who own more than 10% of a registered class of the Company’s equity securities (collectively “Reporting Persons”) to file initial reports of ownership and reports of changes in ownership of Company Common Stock and other equity securities with the SEC. SEC regulations require us to identify in this proxy statement any Reporting Person who failed to timely file a report during the most recent calendar year. Based solely on our review of copies of reports filed under Section 16(a) and written representations made to us by Reporting Persons, we believe that all applicable filing requirements were complied with for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 with the following exception: on February 15, 2019,
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David Conner became vested in RSUs resulting in 1,869 shares withheld for payment of tax liabilities, which was reported late on Form 4 on February 22, 2019.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
Compensation Discussion and Analysis
The Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors is responsible for developing the philosophy and structure of the compensation program for our named executive officers and recommends compensation levels to our Board of Directors for approval. This Compensation Discussion and Analysis provides an overview of our executive compensation program for 2019 and our executive compensation philosophy and structure.
Executive Overview
Company Performance
Below is a brief summary of our fiscal year 2019 financial performance. The numbers below are presented according to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP"). The combined ratio is the property and casualty industry standard measure of underwriting profitability. A combined ratio under 100% indicates that an insurance company is generating an underwriting profit and a combined ratio over 100% indicates that an insurance company is generating an underwriting loss. In 2019, we produced a GAAP combined ratio of 109.0% (103.1% excluding catastrophe losses).
In addition to our combined ratio results, other notable activity included the following:
Our return-on-equity decreased to 1.7% in 2019 from 3.0% in 2018.
Our net income decreased to $14.8 million in 2019 from $27.7 million in 2018.
Our catastrophe losses increased to $64.4 million in 2019 from $46.7 million in 2018.
The book value of our common stock increased to $36.40 in 2019 from $35.40 in 2018.
During 2019, our results were impacted by an increase in severity of losses in our commercial auto line of business, prior year reserve strengthening in our Gulf Coast region and an increase in catastrophe losses. These were all partially offset by an increase in the fair value of our equity portfolio recognized as a realized gain in the income statement.
Capital Management
In 2019, we declared and paid cash dividends of $1.30 per share to shareholders. We have paid a quarterly dividend every quarter since March 1968. In 2019, we also repurchased 258,756 shares of our Company Common Stock at an average cost of $45.22 per share and a total cost of $11.7 million. We are authorized by our Board of Directors to purchase an additional 1,857,444 shares of Company Common Stock under our current share repurchase program, which expires in August 2020. The amount and timing of any future repurchases will be at management’s discretion.
Consideration of Say-on-Pay Results
In 2019, approximately 99% of our shareholders who voted on the “say-on-pay” proposal at our 2019 Annual Meeting approved the compensation of our named executive officers as described in our 2019 proxy statement. The Compensation Committee carefully considered the results of this advisory, non-binding shareholder vote and did not implement any changes to the compensation programs for our named executive officers as a result of the shareholder vote.
Pay-For-Performance
Absolute Pay-TSR Alignment
The following chart demonstrates the alignment between total shareholder return ("TSR") and the compensation of our CEO for the last five calendar years. We believe the chart illustrates the correlation between changes in the
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Company's TSR and the CEO's compensation, which is consistent with, and reflects our philosophy of, aligning compensation with the interests of shareholders and long-term value creation. 
403541884_chart-0665e2868c6a47e1a531.jpg
(1)"CEO Pay" means the sum of salary, bonus, non-equity incentive plan awards, stock awards, option awards, change in pension value and non-qualified deferred compensation earnings, together with all other compensation, as reported in the Summary Compensation Table for our CEO for the applicable year.
(2)The value of "Indexed TSR" at each year-end shown above is based on the then-current value of an assumed $100 investment in Company Common Stock on December 31, 2014, and reflects changes in stock price and assumes that dividends paid to shareholders are reinvested in Company Common Stock on the date paid.
Compensation and Benefits Philosophy
When determining the compensation levels for our named executive officers, the Compensation Committee considers the following principles:
Performance. The Compensation Committee has tied the compensation of our named executive officers to the Company’s achievement of pre-established performance goals. The Compensation Committee considers the individual’s contribution to Company performance and, where applicable, to the performance of his or her functional area. The Compensation Committee and Board of Directors believe that tying each named executive officer’s compensation to the achievement of pre-established performance goals creates an incentive for the executive to achieve the Company’s objectives and further align his or her interests with our shareholders.
Fairness and Reasonableness. We strive to provide compensation and benefit programs that are fair and competitive with our industry peers, while reasonably rewarding our named executive officers for their service relative to performance.
Cost. We strive to provide appropriate incentives and motivation to our named executive officers that will continue to increase value to our shareholders by designing compensation programs that we believe are cost-effective and affordable.
Benchmarking
The Compensation Committee engaged Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc. ("FW Cook") as an independent compensation consultant to assist it in analyzing our comparison group and evaluating the competitiveness and design of our
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compensation program for our named executive officers. The Compensation Committee used FW Cook’s Top Officer Competitive Compensation Analysis ("Analysis") to evaluate the reasonableness of 2019 salary recommendations for our named executive officers. As described below, FW Cook’s Analysis used both comparison group data and published survey data. The Compensation Committee identified the 19-company comparison group to evaluate 2019 compensation decisions, based upon the recommendations of FW Cook.
Companies included in the comparison group met the following criteria:
Industry group: property and casualty, and multi-line insurance carriers;
Revenues between $350 million and $3.15 billion;
Market capitalization between $285 million and $4.5 billion; and
Meets one of the following criteria: (a) prior comparison company; (b) included in the Institutional Shareholder Services ("ISS") peer group in its 2018 proxy analysis; or (c) names United Fire Group, Inc. as a comparison company.
The following 19 companies were included in the 2019 comparison group used to assist with evaluating 2019 compensation decisions. This was the same peer group that was used to evaluate 2018 compensation decisions except for the additions noted below and the deletion of FBL Financial Group, Inc., National General Holdings Corporation and OneBeacon Insurance Group due to not meeting the criteria identified above.
2019 Comparison Group
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. #Navigators Group Inc.
Amerisafe, Inc.
ProAssurance Corporation
Argo Group International Holdings Ltd
RLI Corporation
Donegal Group Inc.Safety Insurance Group Inc.
EMC Insurance Group Inc.Selective Insurance Group Inc.
Employers Holdings Inc.State Auto Financial Corporation
Global Indemnity Limited #
Stewart Information Services
Horace Mann Educators CorporationUnited Insurance Holdings Corp. #
Infinity Property & Casualty CorporationUniversal Insurance Holdings, Inc.
Kemper Corporation
(#) Addition to comparison group from 2018.
In addition to comparison group data, the FW Cook Analysis also utilized data from Ward Group® Property & Casualty Insurance—US Survey, a published third-party compensation survey in which the Company participates.
FW Cook's Analysis compared the total direct compensation of our named executive officers to the average of median market data from the comparison group and the industry survey data. While the Compensation Committee reviewed FW Cook's Analysis to evaluate the market competitiveness of the executive compensation program, the Compensation Committee also considered a number of other factors in evaluating the 2019 overall compensation of our named executive officers. These other factors included: (a) the Company’s recent performance; (b) the executive’s experience, responsibilities and role in Company culture; (c) our existing compensation structure; and (d) the relationship in compensation between our named executive officers and our other employees.
Risk Considerations
We believe that the design and objectives of our compensation program for named executive officers provides an appropriate balance of fixed compensation (base salary) and at-risk compensation (incentives). Total direct compensation of our named executive officers is intended to provide a balanced program that encourages the named executive officers to take appropriate risks aimed at improving Company performance and enhancing long-term shareholder value, while avoiding inappropriate risks. In this regard, our compensation program for named executive officers includes, among other things, the following design features:
a balanced mix of cash-based and equity-based compensation;
a balanced mix of short-term and long-term incentives;
variable compensation based on a variety of performance goals;
threshold performance goals that must be achieved to earn incentives;
time-based vesting requirements for equity-based compensation; and
stock ownership guidelines.
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After reviewing our Company's compensation plans applicable to all employees, we have determined that none of these plans create risks that would have a material adverse effect on the Company.
Annual Compensation Process
Role of Management
Our Chief Executive Officer has a role in determining the compensation of named executive officers other than his own. Guided by the principles discussed under Compensation and Benefits Philosophy, our Chief Executive Officer:
facilitates the collection and compilation of data for consideration by the Compensation Committee;
identifies appropriate performance measures and recommends to the Compensation Committee performance goals that the Compensation Committee may consider to determine short-term and long-term incentive awards; and
develops compensation recommendations for each named executive officer position other than his own.
Role of the Compensation Committee and Board of Directors
The Compensation Committee refer to the principles discussed under Compensation and Benefits Philosophy to guide it in determining and implementing compensation programs for our named executive officers. For named executive officers other than our Chief Executive Officer, the Compensation Committee receives and reviews Mr. Ramlo’s recommendations as described above and makes recommendations to the full Board of Directors. The full Board of Directors then acts on these recommendations to set the compensation of our named executive officers.
The Compensation Committee takes the following steps to approve the compensation of our Chief Executive Officer:
The Compensation Committee identifies appropriate performance measures.
The Compensation Committee considers the compensation principles discussed under the heading Compensation and Benefits Philosophy as well as each of the Company’s compensation elements, and reviews market data and recommendations from the executive compensation study prepared by FW Cook. Based on that consideration and review, it annually recommends to the Board of Directors the base salary, annual incentive compensation and long-term incentive awards for our Chief Executive Officer. The Board of Directors reviews and considers the proposals of the Compensation Committee and makes its final determination based on what it believes to be in the interests of the Company and our shareholders.
Role of Independent Consultants
Under its charter, the Compensation Committee, in its sole discretion, has the authority, resources and funds necessary to retain or obtain the advice of outside advisers, including independent compensation advisers, legal counsel and other advisers and experts. Prior to retaining or obtaining advice from such outside advisers, the committee evaluates their independence by reference to the NASDAQ Listing Rules. 
During 2019, the Compensation Committee engaged FW Cook to advise it on compensation matters for our named executive officers. FW Cook reported directly to the Compensation Committee and provided services related to named executive officer compensation. Management did not participate in the selection process and did not recommend FW Cook, nor did management participate in specific matters assigned to FW Cook by the Compensation Committee. Although particular assignments may vary, compensation consultant engagements by the Compensation Committee have generally included:
reviewing and advising on all principal aspects of compensation for named executive officers, including base salaries, equity awards and annual incentive plan awards for named executive officers;
reviewing and advising the Compensation Committee on compensation for non-employee directors; and
providing advice and input to the Compensation Committee on the identification and selection of appropriate peer companies.
Compensation Consultant Independence
The Compensation Committee carefully considers the independence of the consultants it hires prior to engagement. To maintain the independence of the compensation consultant, the Compensation Committee has the sole authority to retain or terminate FW Cook. In connection with its engagement of FW Cook, the Committee considers various factors bearing upon FW Cook's independence including, but not limited to, the amount of fees received by FW Cook from the Company as a percentage of FW Cook's total revenue, FW Cook's policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest, and the existence of any business or personal relationship with a member of the Compensation Committee or management that could impact FW Cook's independence. After reviewing these and other factors, the
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Committee determined that FW Cook was independent and that its engagement did not present any conflicts of interest.
Elements of Compensation
We compensate our named executive officers using direct compensation and Company-sponsored benefit plans. As direct compensation, we pay competitive base salaries and performance-based cash and equity awards. Our named executive officers participate in Company-sponsored health and welfare benefit plans available generally to all salaried employees of the Company. In addition, we provide nonqualified deferred compensation plans and limited perquisites to our named executive officers as discussed below.
Total Direct Compensation
During 2019, total direct compensation consisted of: (a) base salary; (b) annual performance-based cash awards; and (c) long-term equity-based awards. We pay these elements of direct compensation because we believe:
a fair, reasonable and competitive base salary is essential to attract and retain talented executives;
annual performance-based cash awards recognize and reward the named executive officer’s role in overall Company performance; and
equity-based compensation helps our named executive officers to “think like owners” and, therefore, aligns their interests with those of our shareholders.
Elements of Compensation
ElementTypeFormPeriodPurpose
Annual Base SalaryFixedCashOngoingAttract and retain; recognize individual performance
Annual Incentive Plan ("AIP")VariableCash1 yearShort-term company performance
Long Term Incentive Plan ("LTIP")Variable
Stock Options
time-based
3-year pro rataShareholder alignment, long-term value creation and retention; represents 25% of total award opportunity
RSUs
time-based
3-year cliffShareholder alignment, long-term value creation and retention; represents 25% of total award opportunity
PSUs
performance-based
3-year cliffLong-term company performance, shareholder alignment and retention; represents 50% of total award opportunity

The mix of the total direct compensation for the CEO and, on average, for the other NEOs are shown below. The charts outline the size, in percentage terms, of each element of targeted total direct compensation at the date of grant.
2019 Compensation Mix at Target
403541884_chart-a5ac107d48bd42d995d1.jpg 403541884_chart-b71d075e5978441cb5c1.jpg
Annual Base Salary
We establish base salary levels to recruit and retain experienced executives who can help us achieve our business goals. We determine a named executive officer’s initial base salary level by considering a variety of factors, including the executive’s experience and responsibilities, our existing compensation structure, comparison group benchmarking and the executive’s role in maintaining a culture that values our employees. The CEO annually recommends to the
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Compensation Committee the base salary for each executive position other than his own. For 2019, the Compensation Committee did not recommend to the Board of Directors any increases to the base salary of named executive officers other than market adjustments to the base salaries for Ms. Jaffray and Mr. Scharmer.
The following table shows the 2018 and 2019 year-end base salary levels, as approved by the Board of Directors, for each of our named executive officers:
Annual Base Salary – 2018 and 2019
Name and Principal Position2018 Base Salary ($)2019 Base Salary ($)Change in Base Salary (%)
Randy A. Ramlo – President/Chief Executive Officer  800,000  800,000  —  
Michael T. Wilkins – Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer  490,000  490,000  —  
Dawn M. Jaffray – Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer  440,000  460,000  4.5  
Barrie W. Ernst – Vice President/Chief Investment Officer  375,000  375,000  —  
Neal R. Scharmer – Vice President/General Counsel/Corporate Secretary  327,000  335,000  2.4  

Annual Incentive Plan
Structure & Design
The Compensation Committee’s philosophy concerning short-term incentives and the application of that philosophy to determine cash-based compensation remained unchanged from 2018. We have an Annual Incentive Plan ("AIP") that provides annual performance-based cash awards to all Company employees, including all of our named executive officers. The AIP ties a portion of each employee’s annual compensation directly to our financial performance. Our objective in using the AIP is to provide a strong financial incentive for all employees to achieve corporate and functional area goals.
To determine the amount of performance-based cash awards for each named executive officer, we used four performance measures that are defined further below: (1) adjusted return-on-equity; (2) premium growth rate; (3) pure loss ratio; and (4) underwriting expense ratio. As illustrated in the table below, we weight each performance measure and establish threshold, target and maximum performance goals for each performance measure, with increasingly higher awards for attaining increasingly higher performance. Each named executive officer can receive a performance-based cash award for each performance measure. We pay no performance-based cash award for a performance measure if the threshold goal for that measure is not achieved, unless the Compensation Committee exercises discretion.
Potential awards for our named executive officers ranged from 0% to a maximum of 150% of target based upon the achievement of certain predetermined goals and the considerations set forth in greater detail below. Awards under the AIP are calculated separately for each performance measure as follows:
Base Salary × Target Bonus Opportunity ×
Weighting × Performance Factor
=Annual Award Payment
Performance Measure Selection
Adjusted ROE – Adjusted return-on-equity ("Adjusted ROE") means return-on-equity, calculated in accordance with GAAP, excluding the impact of unrealized gains and losses on investments. The Compensation Committee chose Adjusted ROE as an AIP performance measure because ROE is a key performance indicator in our industry watched closely by investors. Since Adjusted ROE is a function of both income and shareholders' equity, it encourages management to focus on objectives that are important for creating shareholder value, including the quality and profitability of our underwriting activities and capital management.
Premium Growth Rate – The Compensation Committee chose Premium Growth Rate as an AIP performance measure because we believe it encourages expanding agency penetration, expanding our geographic footprint, and entering new distribution channels. Premium Growth Rate means direct written premium annual growth, calculated in accordance with GAAP, excluding assumed and ceded reinsurance operations.
Pure Loss Ratio – The Compensation Committee chose Pure Loss Ratio as an AIP performance measure because it believes it is reflective of our underwriting performance and overall profitability. Pure Loss Ratio means losses incurred, without loss adjustment expenses incurred, divided by earned premium, calculated in accordance with Statutory Accounting Principles.
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Underwriting Expense Ratio – The Compensation Committee chose Underwriting Expense Ratio as an AIP performance measure because we are more likely to achieve profitability and value for our shareholders when we keep expenses in line with our established guidelines. Underwriting Expense Ratio means all underwriting-related expenses (e.g. agent commissions, employee compensation, premium taxes, marketing, etc.) divided by written premium in accordance with statutory items paid, pursuant to Statutory Accounting Principles, excluding accruals.
AIP Target Bonus Opportunity and Weighting of Performance Measures – 2019
Named Executive OfficerTarget Bonus Opportunity as % of Base SalaryWeighting of Each Performance Measure (%)
Adjusted ROEPremium Growth RateLoss RatioUnderwriting Expense Ratio
Randy A. Ramlo80  40  20  20  20  
Michael T. Wilkins60  40  20  20  20  
Dawn M. Jaffray60  40  20  20  20  
Barrie W. Ernst50  55  20  15  10  
Neal R. Scharmer50  50   25  20  
Potential awards for our named executive officers ranged from 0% to a maximum of 150% of target based upon the achievement of certain predetermined goals and the considerations set forth above.
Goal-Setting Process
The Compensation Committee annually reviews the threshold, target and maximum goals for each performance measure in order to evaluate whether they remain rigorous and aligned with shareholder interests. Management presents recommendations to the Compensation Committee regarding whether goals should be adjusted. AIP goals are designed to be challenging, but achievable, given the economic and market conditions at the time the goals were set, with achievement at the maximum goals designed to be difficult. For 2019, the Compensation Committee decreased the goals for the Adjusted ROE and Premium Growth Rate performance measures. The Compensation Committee replaced the Loss Ratio performance measure with a Pure Loss Ratio performance measure, with goals adjusted accordingly. The Underwriting Expense Ratio remained unchanged.
Achievement
The following table shows the 2019 performance goals and achievement for each performance measure. Payments to named executive officers under our AIP were made in March 2020 for performance during 2019 and are reported in the Summary Compensation Table – 2019 of this proxy statement under the Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation column.
AIP Goals and Achievement – 2019
2019 AIP Goals (%)2019 AIP Achievement (%)
Performance MeasuresThresholdTargetMaximumResult% of Target
Adjusted ROE 7.5  10  (2.9) —  
Premium Growth Rate   2.9  50  
Pure Loss Ratio52  49  46  61.2  —  
Underwriting Expense Ratio32  31  30  29.4  150  
Achievement for Adjusted ROE, Premium Growth Rate, and Pure Loss Ratio were below threshold, while Underwriting Expense Ratio was 29.4%, resulting in a payout of 150% of target for that performance measure.
Achievement for the premium growth rate was 2.9%, just below the 3.0% threshold, and after reviewing the objectives of the compensation program, including retention and performance incentive, the Compensation Committee exercised discretion to award payout at 50% of target for the premium growth rate performance measure.
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Long-Term Incentive Plan
Design & Structure
At the beginning of each year, the Compensation Committee grants equity awards based on its review of the competitive market and individual performance. Once the grant level is determined, the Compensation Committee allocates the grant to a mix of performance stock units (weighted 50%), restricted stock units (weighted 25%), and stock options (weighted 25%), as summarized below:
Grant TypeAllocation (%)Vesting
PSUs50  "cliff" vest of the third anniversary of the grant date (assuming achievement of performance goals)
RSUs25  "cliff" vest of the third anniversary of the grant date
Stock Options25  one-third of the options vest on each of the three anniversaries of the grant date
403541884_chart-9760bbbae8004d9f9d81.jpg
Performance Stock Units ("PSUs") – PSUs are:
earned over a three-year performance period, subject to continued employment;
earned only to the extent that goals are achieved among four separate, equally weighted, performance measures tied to our 2020 Vision performance milestones, relating to profit, growth, employee satisfaction and customer service; and
released between 0% and 150% of the target award based upon the results achieved.
Restricted Stock Units ("RSUs") – The RSUs "cliff" vest of the third anniversary of the grant date and are settled into an equivalent number of shares of Company Common Stock, in each case, generally subject to the executive remaining employed by us through the applicable vesting date. The purpose of the awards is to encourage shareholder alignment, long-term value creation and executive retention.
Stock Options – Each option has a ten-year term and, provided the executive remains employed by us through such dates, vests as to one-third of the options on each of the first three anniversaries of the grant date. Stock options directly align with our stock performance since they become valuable only if and to the extent the share price increases after the date of grant. Additionally, because stock options do not fully vest for three years, they encourage executive retention.
Performance Measure Selection
PSU performance measures are tied to our 2020 Vision performance milestones, relating to profit, growth, employee satisfaction and customer service. PSU performance goals are measured over a three-year performance period.
Adjusted ROE (Three-Year Average) – The Compensation Committee chose Adjusted ROE as an LTIP performance measure because ROE is a key performance indicator in our industry watched closely by investors. Since Adjusted ROE is a function of both income and shareholders' equity, it encourages management to focus on objectives that are important for creating shareholder value, including the quality and profitability of our underwriting activities and capital management.
Premium Growth Rate (Three-Year Average) – The Compensation Committee chose Premium Growth Rate, as an LTIP performance measure because we believe it encourages expanding agency penetration, expanding our geographic footprint, and entering new distribution channels.
Organizational Culture Inventory (OCI®) (Three-Year Cumulative) ("OCI® Score") – The Compensation Committee chose the OCI® as an LTIP performance measure because it believes the health of our corporate culture is important
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to our long-term strategy. The Human Synergistics International OCI® is a thoroughly researched and widely used culture assessment for measuring organizational culture. The assessment process surveys employees and their responses are aggregated to generate a report containing a score. The assessment is performed at least every-other-year. For purposes of calculating the three-year cumulative score, the score of the prior year will be reused for years where no assessment was performed.
Deep Customer Connections Opportunity Index (Three-Year Cumulative) ("DCC Score") – The Compensation Committee chose four elements of the Deep Customer Connections Opportunity Index as an LTIP performance measure because a strong relationship with our agents is fundamental to our long-term success. Deep Customer Connections surveys our agents to evaluate the quality of our service. Scores are presented for particular elements in the Opportunity Index. The Compensation Committee chose four elements from the surveys to focus on for this performance measure: (a) "Is Responsive in Underwriting;" (b) "Is Flexible in Underwriting;" (c) "Provides Effective, User-Friendly Technology;" and (d) "Quote & Issue Policies without Rework." The survey is performed at least every-other-year. For purposes of calculating the three-year cumulative score, the score of the prior year will be reused for years where no survey was performed.
Goal-Setting Process
The Compensation Committee annually reviews the threshold, target and maximum goals for each performance measure of the PSUs in order to evaluate whether they remain rigorous and aligned with shareholder interests. Management presents recommendations to the Compensation Committee regarding whether goals should be adjusted. The performance goals established for the 2019 PSU grant were designed to be challenging, but achievable, given the economic and market conditions at the time the goals were set, with vesting at the maximum goal designed to be difficult. For 2019, the Compensation Committee did not recommend changing any goals compared to the prior year.
2019 Grant
The 2019 target award opportunities and allocation to each grant type for our named executive officers are summarized below. The Compensation Committee increased the total stock awards for Mr. Ramlo, Mr. Wilkins and Ms. Jaffray in order to more closely align with the market median identified in FW Cook's Analysis.
LTIP Grant – 2019
Named Executive OfficerTotal Stock Award ($)PSUs ($) (1)RSUs ($)Stock Options ($)
Randy A. Ramlo750,000  375,000  187,500  187,500  
Michael T. Wilkins400,000  200,000  100,000  100,000  
Dawn M. Jaffray350,000  175,000  87,500  87,500  
Barrie W. Ernst250,000  125,000  62,500  62,500  
Neal R. Scharmer150,000  75,000  37,500  37,500  
(1)The amount for PSUs is shown at target.
2017 PSU Grant
The 2017 PSU grant vested on March 24, 2019 based on performance through December 31, 2019 and service through March 24, 2019.
LTIP PSU Goals and Achievement – 2017 Grant
LTIP PSU Goals (%)Achievement (%)
Performance MeasuresThresholdTargetMaximumResult% of Target
Adjusted ROE  11  4.0  —  
Premium Growth Rate   4.4  59  
OCI® Score
1,303  1,371  1,440  1,779  150  
DCC Score853  897  942  989  150  

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Additional Compensation
Company-Sponsored Benefit Plans
We believe the insurance and retirement benefit plans we sponsor are an important part of fair and reasonable compensation for all of our employees, including our named executive officers. We design these benefit plans to attract and retain a strong employee base, to provide a measure of financial security for our employees and to assist our employees in providing for their own financial security in a manner that recognizes individual needs and preferences. We also provide these programs because we believe that employees who have a plan for health and financial security are better employees. We apply these programs equally to all employees. Our benefit plans consist of an insurance plan that provides health, vision, dental, disability and basic term life insurance coverage and various retirement plans, including a defined-benefit pension plan and a 401(k) plan with a Company match. The pension plan is discussed further under Pension Benefits below.
Nonqualified Deferred Compensation
The United Fire & Casualty Company Supplemental Executive Retirement and Deferral Plan ("SERP") permits certain of our executive officers, including named executive officers, the opportunity to save a portion of their direct compensation for retirement. The SERP allows the Company to make contributions to participants' accounts. In 2019, employer contributions were made for all of the named executive officers. The contributions are calculated to restore the gap between what the selected executives would receive from the defined-benefit pension plan, in the absence of IRS compensation limits. For an executive to receive these contributions, their respective deferral in the SERP must comprise one-fourth of the calculated amount. We believe this plan and its associated vesting is an important tool to retain our executive officers. For amounts deferred after December 31, 2014, (a) any employer contribution made to a participant’s account follows a predetermined vesting schedule, and become 100% vested upon reaching age 65, death, disability, or change in control, and (b) the deferring executive officers may elect to receive their benefits as a lump sum or as annual installments over a 10-year period. The SERP is discussed further under Nonqualified Deferred Compensation below.
Perquisites
We do not rely upon perquisites as a method of providing significant compensation to any of our employees, preferring instead to use direct compensation and incentive plans. We provide only those perquisites that are related to our business or that we believe are necessary to attract and retain key executive personnel. For 2019, we paid for country club dues for three of our named executive officers so they have a club available for business entertainment on our behalf. Perquisites and other personal benefits paid to a named executive officer are reported in the All Other Compensation column of the Summary Compensation Table – 2019.
We expect our other named executive officers to use our corporate aircraft for business travel whenever it is reasonable to do so. Occasionally, a spouse or other guest may accompany executive officers on corporate aircraft when the aircraft is already scheduled for business purposes and can accommodate additional passengers. In those cases, there is no aggregate incremental cost to the Company.
We permit Mr. Ramlo to use our corporate aircraft for personal travel, and under limited circumstances, directors and executive officers may be permitted to use the aircraft for personal use as well.
Named Executive Officers as Shareholders
We believe that ownership of Company Common Stock by our executive officers, including our named executive officers, promotes the alignment of their interests with those of our Company and our shareholders. A Board of Directors policy sets forth guidelines for stock ownership by certain of our executive officers, including our named executive officers. These guidelines include target levels of stock ownership for each covered executive officer. The goal of these guidelines is to have our executive officers, including our named executive officers, hold a meaningful stake in our Company.
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The following table shows the target number of shares to be owned by each named executive officer and each named executive officer’s share ownership as of March 23, 2020:
NameTier (1)Target Number of Shares of Common Stock to be Held (2)Number of Qualifying Shares of Common Stock Held at Record Date
Randy A. Ramlo 69,535  67,490  
Michael T. Wilkins 22,348  41,917  
Dawn M. Jaffray 14,728  23,414  
Barrie W. Ernst 11,165  25,329  
Neal R. Scharmer 9,595  18,848  
(1)Equity ownership targets for Mr. Ramlo as a Tier 3 executive were increased in 2019, and calculated as the number of shares equal to four times his base salary on August 16, 2019 divided by the closing price of Company Common Stock on August 16, 2019. Equity ownership targets for Michael T. Wilkins as a Tier 2 executive were calculated as the number of shares equal to one and one-half times his base salary on January 1, 2014 divided by the closing price of Company Common Stock on December 31, 2013. Equity ownership targets for Dawn M. Jaffray as a Tier 2 executive were calculated as the number of shares equal to one and one-half times her base salary on May 10, 2016 divided by the closing price of Company Common Stock on May 10, 2016. Equity ownership targets for executive officers in Tier 1 were calculated as the number of shares equal to their base salary on January 1, 2014 divided by the closing price of our Company Common Stock on December 31, 2013.
(2)Shares held either directly or indirectly and any RSUs (whether vested or unvested) held by the named executive officer are counted toward the target number of shares. Any unexercised stock options or PSUs (whether vested or unvested) held by the named executive officer are not counted toward the target number of shares. The target number of shares are the number of shares to be held by the named executive officer by December 31, 2019, or within five years of having a new target set, whichever is later.
Report of the Compensation Committee
The Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors has reviewed and discussed with management the Compensation Discussion and Analysis required by Item 402(b) of Regulation S-K. Based on such review and discussions, the Compensation Committee recommended to the Board of Directors that the Compensation Discussion and Analysis be included in the Company’s annual proxy statement and incorporated by reference in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Mary K. Quass, Chair
Scott L. Carlton
Brenda K. Clancy
Sarah Fisher Gardial
James W. Noyce
Susan E. Voss
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Summary Compensation Table – 2019
Name and Principal PositionYearSalary ($)Bonus ($) (1)Stock Awards ($) (2)Option Awards ($) (3)Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation ($) (4)
Change in Pension Value and Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Earnings ($) (5)
All Other Compensation ($) (6)Total ($)
Randy A. Ramlo2019800,000  —  468,725  187,500  256,000  310,398  244,046  2,266,669  
President, CEO2018800,000  981,428  551,033  181,252  366,240  —  251,326  3,131,279  
2017784,616  —  677,489  352,475  246,075  304,172  259,024  2,623,851  
Michael T. Wilkins2019490,000  —  249,922  100,006  117,600  343,565  111,557  1,412,650  
EVP, COO2018490,000  461,299  227,985  75,001  192,276  —  142,096  1,588,657  
2017480,577  —  316,940  166,914  115,939  277,804  105,551  1,463,725  
Dawn M. Jaffray2019460,000  —  218,722  87,494  110,400  81,335  43,051  1,001,002  
EVP, CFO2018440,000  258,871  227,985  75,001  172,656  28,852  43,001  1,246,366  
2017440,000  30,007  303,222  153,221  106,150  52,712  30,276  1,115,588  
Barrie W. Ernst2019375,000  —  156,269  62,496  46,875  198,830  54,292  893,762  
VP, Chief Investment Officer2018375,000  304,135  189,945  62,501  111,094  67,721  51,564  1,161,960  
2017367,789  —  240,523  115,520  49,725  176,393  43,654  993,604  
Neal R. Scharmer2019335,000  —  93,653  37,497  54,438  267,789  47,608  835,985  
VP, General Counsel, Secretary2018327,000  217,226  113,950  37,500  81,685  54,590  47,558  879,509  
2017320,712  —  160,866  85,904  32,460  262,927  37,584  900,453  
(1)Amounts in this column for 2018 include a discretionary bonus related to closing the sale of our subsidiary United Life Ins. Co. that was paid as follows: Mr. Ramlo $25,000; Mr. Wilkins $15,000; Ms. Jaffray $15,000; and Mr. Scharmer $10,000. Further, amounts in this column for 2019 include a discretionary bonus related to the beneficial impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was paid as follows: Mr. Ramlo $153,340; Mr. Wilkins $72,247; Ms. Jaffray $66,147; Mr. Ernst $60,820; and Mr. Scharmer $36,160. Additionally, amounts in this column for 2018 include a discretionary bonus intended to mitigate the dilutive effects of the August 20, 2018 special dividend on equity awards that was paid as follows: Mr. Ramlo $803,088; Mr. Wilkins $374,052; Ms. Jaffray $134,652; Mr. Ernst $243,315; and Mr. Scharmer $171,066. Because the United Fire Group, Inc. Stock Plan did not contemplate a one-time special dividend, the board approved this discretionary bonus to protect employees as the share price was expected to decline due to the one-time special dividend. Finally, for Ms. Jaffray, this column also includes a retention bonus of $43,072 paid to Ms. Jaffray in 2018.
(2)Amounts in this column represent the aggregate grant date fair value for PSUs and RSUs, as applicable, granted during 2019, 2018 and 2017. Amounts in this column are calculated in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation. The grant date fair value for stock awards is measured based on the closing price of our Company Common Stock on the grant date, and the probable satisfaction of the performance conditions for the PSU awards as of the date of grant. Assuming the highest level of performance is achieved for the 2019 PSUs, the maximum value of amounts in this column at the grant date would be as follows: Mr. Ramlo, $562,486; Mr. Wilkins, $300,004; Ms. Jaffray, $262,483; Mr. Ernst, $187,523; and Mr. Scharmer, $112,481. The values shown have not been adjusted to reflect that these units are subject to forfeiture. For a discussion of valuation assumptions used, see Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in our Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
(3)Amounts in this column represent the aggregate grant date fair value for options granted during 2019, 2018 and 2017. Amounts in this column are calculated in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation. To calculate the option amounts we use the Black-Scholes option pricing model. This model estimates the fair value of traded options, which have different characteristics than employee stock options. Changes to the subjective assumptions used in the model can result in materially different fair value estimates. The values shown have not been adjusted to reflect that these units are subject to forfeiture. For a discussion of valuation assumptions used, see Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in our Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
(4)All employees are eligible to participate in our annual performance-based cash award plan if they are in our employ at the time the cash awards for that year are paid. The amounts shown in this column are those amounts earned by the executive for the year shown. These amounts were determined and paid in the subsequent year. For example, any non-equity incentive plan awards shown for 2019 were earned in 2019, but determined and paid in 2020.
(5)The 2019 amount in this column reflects the change in pension value under the United Pension Plan that is described further in the Pension Benefits section and above market earnings under the Company's nonqualified deferred compensation plan. For Mr. Ramlo and Mr. Wilkins the 2018 amount is reported as $0 because each incurred negative changes in pension value of $14,113 for Mr. Ramlo and $23,777 for Mr. Wilkins. The 2019 amount for Mr. Ramlo includes $3,176 in above market deferred compensation earnings. The 2019 amount in this column for Mr. Wilkins includes $1,616
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in above market deferred compensation earnings. The 2019 amount in this column for Ms. Jaffray includes $0 in above market deferred compensation earnings. The 2019 amount in this column for Mr. Ernst includes $770 in above market deferred compensation earnings. The 2019 amount in this column for Mr. Scharmer represents $921 in above market deferred compensation earnings.
(6)All Other Compensation for 2019 includes:
NameRegistrant Contributions to SERP ($)Matching Contributions to 401(k) Plan ($)Perquisites and Other Personal Benefits ($)Total ($)
Randy Ramlo232,993  2,800  8,253  244,046  
Michael Wilkins99,019  2,800  9,738  111,557  
Dawn Jaffray39,237  2,800  1,014  43,051  
Barrie Ernst41,512  2,800  9,980  54,292  
Neal Scharmer43,794  2,800  1,014  47,608  

Grants of Plan-Based Awards
The Board of Directors has adopted a written policy regarding the issuance of options under the Stock Plan. This policy provides that all options shall be issued at regularly scheduled meetings of the Compensation Committee and that the exercise price for options issued under the Stock Plan shall be the closing market price on the option grant date.
Options granted to our named executive officers by our Board of Directors under the Stock Plan have the following characteristics:
Options granted before March 2017 vest one-fifth each year on the first five anniversaries of the grant date. Options granted during or after March 2017 vest one-third each year on the first three anniversaries of the grant date. Options vest immediately if we enter into an agreement to dispose of all or substantially all of our assets or capital stock. The Board of Directors has the authority under the Stock Plan to accelerate vesting of stock options in other circumstances at its discretion.
Options expire on the sooner of:
ten years after the option grant date;
one year after termination of employment for reason of death or disability; or
30 days after the termination of employment for any reason other than death or disability, unless extended by the Board of Directors for up to one year after termination of employment.
The exercise price is the closing market price for Company Common Stock on the option grant date.
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Grants of Plan-Based Awards – 2019
NameGrant DateEstimated future payouts under non-equity incentive plan awardsEstimated future payouts under equity incentive plan awardsAll other stock awards: number of shares of stock or units (#)All other option awards: number of securities underlying options (#)Exercise or base price of option awards
($/sh)
Grant date fair value of stock and option awards ($) (5)
Threshold ($) (1)Target ($) (2)Maximum ($) (3)Threshold (#) (4)Target (#)Maximum (#)
Randy A. Ramlo2/15/2019(6)14,461  54.26  187,500  
2/15/2019(7)864  6,911  10,367  281,202  
2/15/2019(8)3,456  187,523  
(9)64,000  640,000  960,000  
Michael T. Wilkins2/15/2019(6)7,713  54.26  100,006  
2/15/2019(7)461  3,686  5,529  149,920  
2/15/2019(8)1,843  100,001  
(9)29,400  294,000  441,000  
Dawn M. Jaffray2/15/2019(6)6,748  54.26  87,494  
2/15/2019(7)403  3,225  4,838  131,201  
2/15/2019(8)1,613  87,521  
(9)27,600  276,000  414,000  
Barrie W. Ernst2/15/2019(6)4,820  54.26  62,496  
2/15/2019(7)288  2,304  3,456  93,761  
2/15/2019(8)1,152  62,508  
(9)9,375  187,500  281,250  
Neal R. Scharmer2/15/2019(6)2,892  54.26  37,497  
2/15/2019(7)173  1,382  2,073  56,159  
2/15/2019(8)691  37,494  
(9)4,188  167,500  251,250  
(1)We estimate the amounts shown in this column by assuming the achievement of the threshold level for the least-weighted performance measure used in our Annual Incentive Plan and by multiplying 2019 base salary by 8% for Mr. Ramlo; 6% for Mr. Wilkins and Ms. Jaffray; 2.5% for Mr. Ernst; and 1.25% for Mr. Scharmer.
(2)We estimate the amounts shown in this column by assuming the achievement of target levels for all applicable performance measures used in our Annual Incentive Plan and by multiplying 2019 base salary by 80% for Mr. Ramlo; 60% for Mr. Wilkins and Ms. Jaffray; and 50% for Mr. Ernst and Mr. Scharmer.
(3)We estimate the amounts shown in this column by assuming the achievement of maximum levels for all applicable performance measures used in our Annual Incentive Plan and by multiplying 2019 base salary by 120% for Mr. Ramlo; 90% for Mr. Wilkins and Ms. Jaffray; and 75% for Mr. Ernst and Mr. Scharmer.
(4)We estimate the amounts shown in this column by assuming the achievement of the threshold level for only one of the four equal-weighted performance measures under our 2019 PSUs.
(5)Amounts in this column represent the aggregate grant date fair value for stock options, RSUs and PSUs granted during 2019, calculated in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation - Stock Compensation. To calculate the option amounts, we use the Black-Scholes option pricing model. This model estimates the fair value of traded options, which have different characteristics than employee stock options. Changes to the subjective assumptions used in the model can result in materially different fair value estimates. The grant date fair value for RSU and PSU awards is measured based on the closing price of our Company Common Stock on the grant date and the probable satisfaction of the performance conditions for the PSU awards as of the date of grant. For a discussion of valuation assumptions used, see Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in our Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
(6)Represents option awards that vest one-third each year for three years beginning with the first anniversary of the grant date, provided the named executive officer remains employed through the applicable vesting date.
(7)Represents PSUs that vest on the third anniversary of the grant date only if and to the extent the Company achieves performance goals relating to profit, premium growth, employee satisfaction and customer service over the 2019–2021 performance period.
(8)Represents a grant of RSUs that vest in full on the third anniversary of the grant date, provided the named executive officer remains employed through the vesting date.
(9)There is no specific grant date for awards under our Annual Incentive Plan. We pay awards based on our 2019 performance during the first quarter of 2020. Please see Compensation Discussion and Analysis in this proxy statement for further information regarding the Annual Incentive Plan. Actual amounts paid to each named executive officer under
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our Annual Incentive Plan for 2019 are shown in the Summary Compensation Table – 2019 in this proxy statement and were calculated based on each individual's base salary for 2019.

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The following table details the outstanding equity awards held by each of our named executive officers as of December 31, 2019.
Outstanding Equity Awards at Fiscal Year-End – 2019
Option AwardsStock Awards
NameNumber of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Exercisable (#)Number of Securities Underlying Unexercised Options Unexercisable (#)
Option Exercise Price
($/Sh)
Option Expiration Date
Number of Shares or Units of Stock That Have Not Vested
(#)
Market Value of Shares or Units of Stock That Have Not Vested
($)
Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Number of Unearned Shares, Units or other Rights That Have Not Vested (#)Equity Incentive Plan Awards: Market or Payout Value of Unearned Shares, Units or other Rights That Have Not Vested ($)
Randy A. Ramlo3,000  —  22.42  5/19/20208,371  (7)366,064  8,092  (14)353,863  
17,800  —  20.54  2/18/20218,328(8)364,1836,911(15)302,218  
18,609  —  23.96  2/16/20234,598(9)201,071
29,624  —  29.61  2/21/20243,844(10)168,098
39,254  9,813  29.12  2/20/2025(1)4,046(11)176,932
23,674  15,782  39.91  2/19/2026(2)3,456(12)151,131
7,780  11,671  41.32  2/17/2027(3)6,907(13)302,043
10,692  5,346  42.27  3/24/2027(4)
6,844  13,688  44.80  2/23/2028(5)
—  14,461  54.26  2/15/2029(6)
Michael T. Wilkins3,000  —  20.54  2/18/20214,117  (7)180,036  3,348