Retired IOA CEO John Ritenour on the Importance of Giving Back to the Community


John Ritenour knows what it is like to have few resources and what it is like to be financially comfortable. The things that happened in between to move him from one stage to the next are what motivates Ritenour to give back to the community where he lives to this day.

Ritenour grew up in Pittsburgh, the son of working-class parents who never had much money for anything extra. He knew he did not want to work in the steel mills as his parents and the parents of most of his friends did. John Ritenour feels fortunate to have received the support of his community and that he ended up working as an insurance agent in one of his first full-time jobs as an adult. The decision to answer a newspaper ad for an insurance agency in Pittsburgh changed the course of his life.

From Local Insurance Agent to CEO of His Own National Insurance Company

John Ritenour picked up information about the insurance industry quickly in his role as an insurance agent. He experienced success beyond even his own expectations, which gave him the confirmation that he had found his career niche. After a few years working for a local agency, John and his wife, Valli, opened their own insurance agency in Pittsburgh. In 1988, they pursued their dream of moving to Florida, where they opened what is now the Insurance Office of America (IOA). As someone who longed for a business mentor himself as a child, John Ritenour personally mentors young entrepreneurs by providing them with tips and encouragement.

Retirement Has Brought Renewed Appreciation for the Importance of Volunteerism

Philanthropy has always been important to John and ValliRitenour. As CEO of IOA, John launched a charitable foundation in 2008. Before that, companies hosting local charitable events knew they could depend on IOA to sponsor them. John Ritenour served as Chairman of the IOA Charitable Foundation from its launch in 2008 until his retirement in 2018. Heath Ritenour, John and Valli’s son, took over responsibility for both roles at that time. However, the elder Ritenour’s remain heavily involved in the charity.

John Ritenour Understands That Children Are the Future

The IOA Charitable Foundation seeks to meet the health, education, and mentorship needs of children in the community.Philanthropist John Ritenour knows that investing in children now improves their future and the overall quality of the community. As someone who longed for a business mentor himself as a child, John Ritenour personally mentors young entrepreneurs by providing them with tips and encouragement.

The goal of the foundation is to meet both the basic and high-level needs of children from the time they are born until they leave for college. Over the years, it has provided everything from large-scale food donations to school funding. The goal has always been to improve the quality of life for kids whose parents may not be able to provide everything they need. The work has been extremely rewarding, and John and Valli both look forward to full-time philanthropy for years to come.the pandemic raised new opportunities for insurance products that the industry might not have considered prior to 2020. These include event cancellation coverage, pandemic insurance, and cyber threat insurance.

Before the pandemic, insurance agents at IOA spent up to one hour obtaining application data from clients. Ritenour felt this was an unnecessary waste of their time, especially considering that we are living in the information age. With help from some members of his staff, he created SimplyIOA to make the way clients apply for insurance coverage faster and more efficiently.