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Insurance founder resigns

Former Tampa Mayor William Poe Sr. is stepping down as president and chief executive of Poe Financial Group, the insurance holding company he founded in 1996.

James Wurdeman, who has been with the company since its inception, takes over both jobs. Wurdeman, 51, had been executive vice president. He also was treasurer of Poe's earlier venture, Poe & Associates, a public company that became part of what is now Brown & Brown.

Poe Sr., 72, will remain as chairman and his sons will still hold top positions in the company, William Poe Jr. as vice chairman and Charles Poe as senior vice president.

Through its subsidiaries Southern Family Insurance, Atlantic Preferred Insurance and Florida Preferred Property Insurance, Poe Financial has 240,000 policyholders who paid $300-million in premiums last year.

The company found opportunity after Hurricane Andrew when many insurers dumped their Florida homeowners' policies. The state's Joint Underwriting Association, which became the insurer of last resort, paid insurance companies to take the higher-risk policies off its books.

Poe Financial grew to 170 employees and moved to new headquarters on Harbour Island last year to make room for them.

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