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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2013: Gilsbar Inc.

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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2013: Gilsbar Inc.

It's no wonder employees of Gilsbar Inc. always seem to be smiling: Their company restrooms are stocked with pre-pasted, single-use toothbrushes, which employees are encouraged to use as part of the company's full-spectrum wellness program.

“Oral health is critical,” said Doug Layman, Gilsbar's executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. “It can lead to so many other problems. We've also focused on financial wellness, on kids, and getting the spouses heavily involved.”

Employees of this Covington, La.-based third-party claims administrator can earn up to $750 annually in incentives for participating in on-site health screenings, exercise challenges, volunteering, completing wellness webinars and other activities. These “wellness bucks” can then be used to purchase sportswear and sporting goods, or to pay for their kids' school activity fees or other wellness-oriented programs.

“Or they can purchase time off at year-end or put the leftover funds into a health savings account,” said Cackey Haun, internal wellness and communications coordinator at Gilsbar. “It's an internal program that's available to employees but also is sold to clients,” she said. “Spouses are also able to participate, but they cannot earn the wellness bucks. We also have held specific kids' challenges with prizes.”

For example, employees' children who participated in a recent summer reading challenge all received leather bookmarks, with winners receiving Barnes & Noble Inc. gift cards.

The incentives are so popular that 90% of Gilsbar's 315 employees participate in the wellness program, Ms. Haun said.

Claims manager Peggy Cardella said she always maxes out her wellness bucks and looks forward to using them to purchase time off the following year.

“I'm very competitive. This gives me a push to do a little more,” said Ms. Cardella, who runs in numerous races year-round. “Gilsbar will pay your entrance fee for races, and if you turn in your number afterwards, you get wellness bucks,” she said.

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“We're very into engagement, because we also do this for a living for our customers,” said Mr. Layman. “We try to have something that interests everybody. It's not just about lowering health care costs. The goal is to increase the overall well-being of our associates. It's about making Gilsbar a great place to work, where people really enjoy getting out of bed and coming to work in the morning.”

“A lot of companies talk about people being their greatest asset,” Mr. Layman said. “It is the absolute truth in our organization. Our people have such passion for what they do. They take their jobs very seriously and very personally. This award honors them,” he said, responding to being named one of the Best Places to Work in Insurance by Business Insurance magazine.