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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2014: The Hanover Insurance Group Inc.

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The Hanover Insurance Group Inc. is a proud 162 years old, and employees say the company's adherence to its cultural values while empowering staff to develop their careers and granting them autonomy is one of the reasons they think it is a great place to work.

The company, which offers a wide range of property/casualty insurance products via a select number of agents and brokers, has been expanding its geographic presence since 2003 to become a “world-class property and casualty company,” while retaining a local focus, said Dick Lavey, Hanover's president of field operations and chief marketing officer.

“We preserve the cultural element as a sacred asset,” he said.

“We have a proud history and a dynamic future,” said Mary Bernadette Corrigan, personal lines zone vice president. “And that draws talented people — which makes (The Hanover) a great place to work.”

Being granted freedom and autonomy while knowing one is being supported by colleagues and “all pulling in the same direction” enables employees to grow their careers and feel rewarded, she said.

The company “truly is a meritocracy,” Ms. Corrigan said. “If you do a good job, it is going to be recognized.”

Professional development — via internal and external education programs as well as formal and informal mentoring — is something the company actively encourages, she said.

Wendy Booth, regional sales director for small commercial business in the Pacific region, joined the company 41/2 years ago to head its expansion into the Pacific states — something she describes as “a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity.”

The ability to be able to take a company with such a long history and “essentially do a startup” reflects what she cites as the company's entrepreneurial spirit.

“Everybody has the same drive of execution,” she says, which makes it a “really good place to work.”

Additionally, Ms. Booth is working with other colleagues to build up a women's network within the company.

While the company's management provides guidance, “development planning is really determined by us” — the employees — said Christopher Campbell, director of claims process improvement.

“I am very impressed with how our goals are set out and our development plans are executed,” he said.

Among the benefits offered to employees are a 401(k) matching program, flexible spending accounts, a wellness center and onsite gym that are available seven days a week, and an employee share purchase program that was launched this year.

The company also has large community involvement and is a significant supporter of the United Way as well as local charities.

Employees also are encouraged to undertake volunteer work. After the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast, for example, colleagues helped on projects to rebuild houses.