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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2014: Medium Employers

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Providing a great place to work is a key factor in attracting and retaining the brightest talent prospects, and Business Insurance honored a record 75 insurance industry employers that have created an environment in which people thrive and enjoy their work, making the companies the 2014 Best Places to Work in Insurance.

A total of 15 midsize employers were recognized. Following is the full list:

Medium employer

1 Assurance Agency Ltd.

2 Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.

3 Discovery Benefits Inc.

4 Hylant Group Inc.

5 Edgewood Partners Insurance Center Inc., dba EPIC

The IMA Financial Group Inc. is a Denver-based agent/broker that is employee-owned and offers diverse financial services. It provides services to mid-market and small business clients in the areas of insurance and risk management services, including property/casualty, employee benefits, surety, alternative risk, global risk, executive and professional liability, risk control and claims management. IMA focuses on construction, energy, hospitality, public entities, real estate and technology. Additionally, the firm offers personal lines, personal wealth and 401(k) management, and wholesale brokerage services. It offers its 556 employees benefits such as:

Complimentary Starbucks beverages for associates and guests.

Paid-time off to volunteer.

Opportunities for employee ownership in the company.

Stock bonuses for all vested employees in the form of an annual gift of IMA stock.

Monthly desserts for employee birthdays.

Flexible work schedules that provide work-life balance.

On-site gym facility for Denver-based employees.

Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. is a Farmington Hills, Michigan-based property/casualty insurer providing coverages designed to protect businesses as well as protecting the health and safety of every employee. Amerisure is licensed in all 50 states and maintains strategically located “core service centers” in select geographic regions to enhance service options. It offers its 721 employees benefits such as:

Flexibility in regard to working hours, including telecommuting options and a compressed workweek.

Workplace celebrations including a summer picnic and holiday parties.

Paid time off to support local outreach events and charity work.

Development of a Professional Education Plan that shows commitment to education/development for all employees.

Blue jean Fridays.

J. Smith Lanier & Co. is a West Point, Georgia-based employee-owned agent/broker touted as the largest privately owned insurance brokerage firm in the Southeast. It specializes in the management of business, alternative risk, employee benefits and personal insurance. The company, founded in 1968, now employs 558 people in 5 states and 19 offices. Among the benefits highlights for its employees are:

Annual Christmas bonus.

Annual company conference.

An employee stock ownership program

Generous holiday schedules.

Employee lunches provided.

Summer picnic.

Accident Fund Holdings Inc. is a Lansing-Michigan-based insurer/provider specializing in monoline workers compensation whose subsidiaries together represent one of the largest workers compensation insurers and the largest nongovernmental specialty writer of workers compensation insurance in the United States. Accident Fund Holdings conducts business through four brands: Accident Fund, United Heartland, CompWest and Third Coast Underwriters. Accident Fund provides expertise in the field of workers compensation insurance and specializes in the health care, nursing homes, nonprofits, social services, manufacturing, transportation, schools and wholesale/retail segments. Its 982 employees enjoy incentives such as:

Fitness Fridays, when employees are encouraged to wear fitness clothes on the last Friday of each month and walk or work out during breaks and lunches.

On-site reflexology and yoga sessions at each location two times a week.

Caring culture with accessibility to company leadership.

Baby blankets for employees or their spouses when a child is born, and memory boxes for employees when a death occurs in the immediate family.

Company contributes up to $2,250 toward employee health savings accounts. Short-term disability program is 100% company-paid.

Holmes Murphy & Associates Inc. is a West Des Moines, Iowa-based agent/broker that partners with business and industry leaders nationwide in the areas of property/casualty, employee benefits, captive insurance, risk management and loss control. Its 562 employees enjoy benefits such as:

Market-competitive total rewards programs including an annual bonus for all associates.

Trip incentive when OK goals are reached.

Flexibility to balance work/personal life including generous paid time off policy and allowing employees to leave at 3 p.m. before a holiday.

Reimbursements of $125 once a year for weight management programs/gym memberships.

Peer-to-peer recognition program, among other rewards.

Health insurance premium reduction if they get an annual physical and age-appropriate screenings each year.

Mentoring and job-shadowing opportunities.

RLI Corp. is a Peoria, Illinois-based specialty insurer that has been successful for more than 45 years with a diversified portfolio of property/casualty coverages and surety bonds serving niche or underserved markets. Covered risks include commercial/excess umbrella, general liability, products liability, commercial specialty auto, public transportation and marine liability. These coverages are provided through independent agents and brokers nationwide. It has 865 employees and provides benefits such as:

Employee stock ownership plans and

401 (k) profit sharing plans.

“Bonus celebration” of the previous year’s business successes with each branch office hosting a different event with food and beverages.

Underwriting staff below the vice president level are eligible for the Underwriting Incentive Program based on financial performance and product line-specific factors. Payouts differ per product line.

Other employees are eligible for either the Associate Incentive Program or Management Incentive Program, depending on their level within the company. Payouts for these programs are based on company performance and goal attainment.

Enrollment in the RLI 500 Club, a companywide initiative that provides monthly exercise tips and recipe cards for several meals that are 500 calories or less.

The Navigators Group Inc. is a Stamford, Connecticut-based international commercial property/casualty specialty insurance holding company with insurance operations, underwriting managers and operations at Lloyd’s of London. Its 614 employees enjoy perks such as:

Tuition reimbursement

Casual Fridays.

Company events including a holiday party, picnic and Mardi Gras.

Award and recognition program.

Wellness programs that include fitness club reimbursement and Weight Watchers.

A matching gift program that matches 100% of employee charitable contributions to an unspecified annual limit. It also matches donations collected as part of employee participation in walkathons, bike-athons, etc., up to an annual limit.

Covington, Lousiana-based Gilsbar Inc. is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing privately held health and benefits managers. Falling under the category of insurer/provider, the firm boasts expertise in the insurance and benefits administration market. Gilsbar offers third-party administrator services, medical management services, wellness solutions, member advocacy, group insurance benefits and professional liability. Benefits offered to its 348 employees include:

Quarterly employee recognition program that awards employees, nominated by managers, for exceptional work or innovation. Awardees receive a gift card along with movie tickets and recognition at a company meeting and in a newsletter.

Holiday celebrations and charity casual days.

Free disposable toothbrushes in the bathrooms.

A wellness program that includes partnership with a local farm that delivers fresh produce bags during the spring and fall to participants.

Five on-site blood drives each year, held during paid working hours.

Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. is a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based insurer/provider that was founded in 1919 by a farmers trade organization to help the farmers get more affordable workers compensation protection for their workers who operated steam-driven farming equipment. Today, it sells property/casualty insurance including business insurance, personal auto, homeowners, umbrella, and surety bonds through independent agents in nine states. Its 785 employees enjoy benefits such as:

Flexible schedules including a condensed workweek, varying start and end times and telecommuting.

Professional designation awards in the form of incentive pay for employees who meet performance expectations and complete a professional designation. Payments range from monetary payments (up to $2,500) to trips to such destinations as Hawaii.

Paid time off to allow employees time to volunteer for a nonprofit organization.

Weight-loss challenges.

Exercise classes provided on-site, including Zumba and yoga.

Hiscox Ltd. is a Bermuda-based global specialist insurer with roots dating back to 1901. Unlike traditional insurers, Hiscox targets specific types of insurance in which we develop expertise, often focusing on areas other insurers find too complex to insure. It’s New York-based Hiscox USA subsidiary operates in all U.S. states and the District of Columbia, offering a range of specialty insurance products through U.S.-based brokers. It also sells a range of customized insurance products directly to professional businesses with less than 10 employees. It offers its 275 employees perks such as:

Sharesave program offering all employees an opportunity to purchase shares discounted 20% from market value.

Profit bonus based on the company’s ability to meet profit targets. All employees are eligible, and awards range from 5%-20% of salary.

Jeans every day.

Charitable giving.

Company/office events including holiday parties, company drinks and picnics.