January 10, 2005

Joseph J. Pingatore Joins Western National Insurance Group as General Counsel

Minneapolis based Western National Insurance Group announced that Joseph J. Pingatore has joined the company as General Counsel, effective today.

Mr. Pingatore is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (Bachelor of General Studies) and William Mitchell College of Law (Juris Doctor - Cum Laude). His professional career started as an attorney in the general practice of law in Rochester, MN. Joe's insurance career started at MSI Insurance Companies (now known as Country Insurance & Financial Services) in 1987 as Claims Counsel. The succeeding 17 years saw Joe's rise in the management of MSI, where he most recently served as Vice President, Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary of the Country Insurance & Financial Services/MSI Insurance Group.

“Joe's many years of insurance experience in MN, and in the many facets of an insurance company, make him a valuable addition to the management team at Western National," observed Stu Henderson, President and CEO of the Group. "We look forward to his contributions to our continued conservative and profitable growth through our independent agency partners.”

Western National Insurance Group consists of two regional Property and Casualty Insurance companies with annual direct written premium in excess of $195 million. Western National Mutual Insurance Company (with headquarters in Edina, Minnesota) currently offers insurance products in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Western National Assurance Company (with offices in Seattle, Washington) currently offers insurance products in the states of Washington and Oregon. The company distributes its insurance products solely via the Independent Agency distribution system.

For further information, please contact:

Mary S. Manley
SVP Corporate Affairs & Administration

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