John Ritenour – IOA Co-Founder -On “Paying It Forward”

Giving back to the community where he lives is an important part of who John Ritenour is. The co-founder of Insurance Company of America grew up in a working-class community just east of Pittsburgh, where every household either had a family member who worked in the steel mills or knew someone who did. Most families struggled to live paycheck to paycheck.

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After answering an ad for an insurance company, John Ritenour quickly found success as a leading insurance salesman, earning enough to propose to his high school sweetheart, Valli. The pair are still together and have made quite an impact in both the insurance industry and the world of philanthropy. The couple parlayed Ritenour’s early success into a move to Florida and their own agency, which would eventually become IOA. Neither of them has forgotten their humble roots and continue to be grateful for their success.

John Ritenour On Paying It Forward

Ritenour made it a professional and personal goal to give back to his community as soon as he was able. He’s never forgotten the people who helped him become successful. John Ritenour is committed to paying that help forward to a new generation.

The first event IOA sponsored is what has become the IOA Corporate 5K, recently renamed the SimplyIOA Corporate 5k, the largest 5K event in Florida. From a small event in 1995, the IOA Corporate 5K has grown to be known as the “Largest Office Party in Florida.” The event, which is held in Orlando each September, combines competition and charity. Over the years, the IOA Corporate 5K has helped to provide thousands of meals and raised thousands of dollars for area charities. These have included the Track Shack Youth Foundation, Christian Service Center, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

John Ritenour founded The IOA Foundation in 2008 as the charitable organization. Today, his son Heath is the chairman of the Foundation, but John and his wife are still active. The Foundation’s charitable projects, according to its website, include “children, education, health and wellness, animals, social services, entrepreneurship, mentoring, financial empowerment and financial literacy.” Some of the events the Foundation sponsors include the IOA Golf Classic and the IOA Championship.

The stated mission of The IOA Foundation is “to help kids from infancy to college.” To that end, the Foundation works to encourage the entrepreneurial efforts of talented young people, giving them an understanding of what it means to be empowered in any situation. John Ritenour views the Foundation’s work as a tribute to those who helped him when he was just starting out. “I wanted to be successful. Growing up where I grew up, there weren’t a lot of successful people,” said Ritenour. “This is a chance to prove to the people in the community that there are undeniable challenges to getting to the top, but that those challenges are well-worth outmaneuvering when you know what awaits on the other side.”

Creating a Legacy

After more than 30 years in the insurance industry, John Ritenour transitioned from his role as chairman of IOA in 2018. His son, Heath Ritenour, now leads the company and is carrying on the charitable initiative that his father began. He’s even added a few charitable events of his own. John says, “The thing that I’m most proud of, is my son. He’s done a great job stepping into my shoes.” Heath equally values his relationship with his father, stating, “My father is my most important mentor. He taught me more about life and business than anyone.”

About Insurance Company of America

Headquartered in Longwood, Florida, Insurance Office of America has grown to include more than 60 offices since John and Valli Ritenour founded the company over 30 years ago. What started as a three-person operation has grown to include more than 1,300 team members. The company reported gross revenue of $225 million in 2020. Insurance Office of America was honored to be named among Insurance Journal magazine’s list of Top 100 Independent Property/Casualty Agencies in the U.S. in 2019.

About John Ritenour

John Ritenour has devoted his professional life to the insurance industry. After several years in the insurance business in Pennsylvania, John and his wife, Valli, moved to Florida and opened Insurance Office of Florida, the company that would eventually become IOA.

John Ritenour has earned numerous awards in his more than 35 years in the insurance business. These include Success magazine’s Success Award for Business Achievement and the Symetra Tour’s (LPGA) Eloise Trainor Award.

Now retired, the Ritenours still live in central Florida. Though their son handles the insurance business, they are still active in the company’s charitable activities. Not having daily management demands gives John time to spend with the couple’s grandchildren. He says he’s working on his next big goal—being the “best grandfather in the world.”


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