St. Helena Insurance, George Petersen report new programs and hiresHeffernan Insurance Brokers recently unveiled a new wellness offering to Bay Area clients. The program was piloted in the group's Walnut Creek office and is now available to North Bay customers as a package or as an a la carte option.
"Since we are a health benefits provider, one advantage we have is the ability to utilize wellness tools already in many benefits packages that employers didn't know were there," said Heffernan Wellness Director Adam Cox, who created the program.
"The programs have proven successful in improving company culture and it makes business sense, though it usually takes a few years to realize the savings in premiums," said Mr. Cox, who is based in Walnut Creek.
Two years ago the company hired Mr. Cox to create and a pilot wellness program within the business with the ultimate goal of producing an external offering. Their experience was used to fine-tune the program called Heffernan Wellness at Work, which was officially released late last month.
Since implementation within Heffernan, staff has shed more than 700 pounds and participated in many philanthropic events including organized runs and bike races.
Depending on the level of service purchased, the program costs an average $30 per person and includes one-on-one health assessments, nutrition plans, goal-setting, performance tracking software services and other services. Premium savings are realized as claims are reduced.
"Wellness is a huge topic among employers today, but buy-in is kind of like how business reacted when they first started talking about workers' comp loss prevention. At first employers were slow to rigorously participate, thinking it was a lot of effort without direct pay-off, but then they started to see the reduction in claims," Mr. Cox said.
At the same time, the brokerage also recently hired 17 producers to lead a new professional practices division specializing in architectural, engineering and law firms.
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St. Helena Insurance, founded in 1925, launched a new, "retooled" commercial lines department and shifted its company focus to the wine and agriculture industries, though it still covers a broad range of businesses.
The brokerage also hired three new staff members and consolidated its Monterey and Yountville offices into St. Helena. Commercial Lines Manager Mike Applegate, which was one of the new hires, said the changes were part of a companywide strategic planning effort launched near the end of last year.
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George Petersen Insurance of the North Bay is in the midst of a growth spurt, adding two new brokers and expanding its marketing division. New additions include former Petaluma Wells Fargo Insurance Services producer Steve Shira and former Rogers & Young Insurance Services broker Sean Parsons, who has 14 years experience in the industry.
Partner Josh Johnsen said the company will likely add more people this year and possibly a new office.
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Leadership with the State Compensation Insurance Fund, California's quasi-public workers' comp "insurer of last resort," responded with clear opposition this month to the governor's proposal to sell a portion or all of its assets and liabilities in the organization.