Jim L. Ridling, a native Arkansan who has lived and worked in Montgomery for the past 20 years, was reappointed Insurance Commissioner by Governor Robert Bentley on January 17, 2011.
Ridling is a graduate of the University of the Ozarks. Upon graduation, he entered a management training program in 1967 with Fireman’s Fund Insurance, leading to several management positions and culminating in his service as executive vice president of U.S. operations. In 1987, he embraced a new challenge, leaving California to come back to his native South. He traded his stock in American Express (which owned Fireman’s Fund at the time) for ownership in Southern Guaranty, a Fireman’s Fund subsidiary headquartered in Montgomery. He came to Montgomery as president and CEO of Southern Guaranty. The following year, Southern Guaranty sold to Winterthur Swiss, and he remained in his previous role and added the duties of chairman until his retirement December 31, 2003.
Following his retirement from Southern Guaranty, Ridling remained active. He and other local business leaders formed River Bank and Trust, where he currently serves as vice chairman. He has also been an integral part of many community civic charitable endeavors.
Ridling serves as chairman of the board of directors for Jackson Hospital and on the boards of directors of the Montgomery Airport Authority, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and the Central Alabama Community Foundation. He is a former chairman of the River Region United Way and holds memberships on several other boards.