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Recognizing that work is a big part of most people's lives, Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Heffernan Insurance Brokers makes an effort to provide a workplace experience that's in line with the rest of its employees' lives.
Formed in 1988, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, the top-ranked medium-sized agent/broker in this year's Business Insurance Best Places to Work in Insurance, is one of the largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the United States. Heffernan provides commercial insurance, employee benefits, personal insurance, and financial services to a wide range of businesses and individuals.
“I think the main thing is that we encourage an environment that basically says, "Do your job; do it well; and we're not going to put a lot of restrictions on how you do it, how you act in our corporate environment,” said F. Mike Heffernan III, the broker's chief executive officer.
“As long as you're respectful to people, do a good job, you can be happy here,” Mr. Heffernan said.
The broker looks internally for most promotions. It also encourages social exchanges among its employees, “So work will be more like what their life's like,” Mr. Heffernan said.
“Obviously, we want them to enjoy themselves,” the broker's CEO said. “I think our basic philosophy is that if the people who work for us are enjoying themselves, responding to clients, they should be providing better service.”
That sort of approach should be a win-win for the company and its employees, Mr. Heffernan suggested. “Based on that, we should be more successful as a company; and if that's the case, people will have more opportunities within our company,” he said.
Heffernan has been able to maintain that attitude of allowing employees to “be themselves” even as the company has grown, the CEO said.
“It kind of permeates the entire organization. And, as we've grown, we've been able to keep it going,” he said. “It's probably the most important thing to our company, to keep our culture.”
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Founded in 1948, Higginbotham & Associates is one of the nation's 100 largest independent insurance and financial service brokerage firms and a leader in the Texas marketplace. The firm has positioned itself as the “Single Source for a Secure Future” by providing access to comprehensive commercial and personal property/casualty coverage, employee benefits, retirement plans, life insurance, executive compensation, risk management, and benefits administration.
What makes the company a great place to work? “Despite its rapid growth, Higginbotham has maintained a small-business atmosphere that promotes work/home balance and where employees feel connected, supported and appreciated as key contributors to the firm's success.”
SAN MATEO, CALIF.
EPIC's comprehensive product offerings include specialty practices such as construction, employee benefits, emerging growth/select business, private equity, private client, captives/program group, national specialty programs, renewable energy, retail/manufacturing, technology/life science, transportation, warehousing and logistics. Resources and services include alternative risk, directors and officers/errors and omissions, international services, risk control and claims advocacy.
What makes the company a great place to work? “We continually strive to create a unique culture of teamwork, committed colleagues, passion, work/life balance, a blend of experience and youth, fun and celebration. We value, take care of, and respect our employees…We link our employees to the strategy and financial success of the company and provide a collaborative environment. We make heroes of employees who bring our values to life and celebrate success.”
SHORT HILLS, N.J.
Bollinger's customers include more than 15,000 business clients throughout the United States, ranging from publicly traded global firms to local businesses. In addition to commercial property/casualty insurance, the firm provides its clients employee benefit programs, risk management services, surety and fidelity bonds, and claims management. The personal lines division offers traditional insurance products.
What makes the company a great place to work? “Bollinger's president/CEO has always stated and proved that Bollinger's most important asset is our employees. That is why he shared his own $500,000 bonus with each employee, giving them each $1,000 (paying for the payroll taxes himself).”
Insurance Office of America is a full-service insurance agency handling all lines of insurance, including commercial lines, personal lines, bonds, life and health. IOA prides itself on the level of service provided to its clients, as well as many other value-added services.
What makes the company a great place to work? “IOA is exceptional because of the quality of the service we provide to our customers, the investment we give back to the community, and the value placed on work/life balance.”
Hylant Group, a family-owned, privately held organization founded in 1935, is a full-service insurance broker whose specialties include commercial and personal property/casualty insurance consulting and brokerage services, employee benefit plan consulting, program administration for public entity programs, and financial and wealth management services for corporations and individuals.
What makes the company a great place to work? “Employees are aligned with company values, which include open and honest communication, dedication, teamwork and having an entrepreneurial spirit, and always maintaining our client-first philosophy.”