Progressive Insurance has named Karen Barone national distribution leader for its agency business.

In her new position, Barone will be responsible for maintaining and advancing the company's leadership role in agent technology, which is designed to make it easier for agents to sell and service policies. She also will lead Progressive's sales organization, which helps agents develop marketing plans to win new customers and retain existing ones in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Barone came to Progressive 19 years ago as a manager trainee. Most recently she was the central region personal lines GM, a position she assumed in September 2007. In that role, she was responsible for the Progressive's personal auto product in 14 Midwest states.

She also has served as a customer service supervisor, claims representative, product analyst, state product manager and regional marketing director.

"Independent agents are critical to our success and play a key role for consumers shopping for insurance," Barone said. "Agents provide us with the largest possible retail network; my job is to make sure we're offering them the product, prices, and tools they need to grow with us. I promise to bring my experience and my passion to the position and to be our independent agents' No. 1 advocate."

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