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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2013: ARAG Insurance Co.

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Best Places to Work in Insurance 2013: ARAG Insurance Co.

Employees of Des Moines, Iowa-based group legal insurance provider ARAG Insurance Co. know how to make work fun.

Whether it's taking turns trying to dunk President and CEO David Murray during a recent United Way fundraising campaign or tossing bean bags into “cornholes” during the company's Summer Fun Days, ARAG's culture encourages its employees to “work hard, play hard,” said Ann Cosimano, general counsel. “That sets the tone for our workplace.”

The company wants make employees feel they are all equally important, Mr. Murray said.

“We try to treat each other the way we want to be treated,” he said. “Everybody has a voice. Once a quarter, we get together for employees' birthdays. It's called "Dessert with David,' and they get an opportunity to ask me questions.”

Beyond this egalitarian environment, ARAG also offers exceptional benefits, including a lucrative 401(k) plan match of 9% of salary and an annual employer contribution of up to $500 per child to a college savings plan.

“Employees work hard while they are here, but I want to make sure they are saving for retirement and are able to send their kids to college,” Mr. Murray said.

ARAG's family focus has increased in intensity in recent years with its shift in employee demographics, according to Erin Barfels, chief human resource officer. Following several years of adding to its workforce in response to business growth, “we have a very young demographic. Our average age is 37,” she said. “The company conducted a survey, and employees expressed concern about how they would pay for their kids' college.”

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A subsidiary of Dusseldorf, Germany-based Allgemeine Rechtsschutz Versicherungs A.G., ARAG now has 150 employees in the United States, most of whom work out of its Des Moines, Iowa, headquarters, which also features an on-site gym with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and showers.

Employees are encouraged to be active as part of a comprehensive wellness program that offers up to $100 annually in financial incentives and also emphasizes emotional and financial well-being, according to Ms. Barfels.

Though the homegrown program began with an emphasis on physical health, “we've tried to look at it holistically,” she said.