NOVATO -- The annual Bank of Marin Employee Health Fair is a highly anticipated event dating back to 2005.

The fair is hosted at the Bank of Marin headquarters in Novato and starts at 8 a.m., two hours before the bank opens for business. Staffers from other branches in Napa and Sonoma Counties and San Francisco are invited to attend.

“Everyone looks forward to the fair when nursing teams from Kaiser Permanente, HealthNet or United Healthcare come in to give flu shots and conduct a series of tests for skin cancer, cholesterol, glucose (diabetes), blood pressure and body mass index measurements and other health assessments,” said Veronika Johnson, compensation and benefits officer for Bank of Marin. “Fifteen-minute chair massages are also available.”

[caption id="attachment_44780" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Bank of Marin employees participating in the Alzheimer's Walk"][/caption]

“By investing in meaningful health benefits and wellness programs the bank is simply saying that it cares about its people. We also sponsor community events that promote healthy lifestyles,” she said.

All employees appreciate the fact that health tests are free, she said. They don’t have to take time off, go to a hospital or make co-payments to obtain these exams and get confidential results.

[caption id="attachment_44781" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Bank of Marin team building with a horseback ride"][/caption]

All of the company’s 250 employees receive a Health Wellness Passport prior to touring the fair. A stamp is issued for taking part in each activity or when employees correctly answer questions related to the bank’s benefit programs.

A completed passport qualifies them to be eligible for a raffle with prizes such as iPods, spa and health club gift certificates and other incentives.

[caption id="attachment_44782" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Bank of Marin President Russ Colombo (front row center) and employees at Cycle for Sight ride"][/caption]

In addition, Bank of Marin hosts quarterly wellness workshops with topics selected by workers during the annual employee benefit survey. The company provides employees with corporate discounts for gym and health club memberships. 

“Reducing or preventing employee health risks increases productivity and reduces absenteeism, sick time off, worksite injuries, as well as a reduction in time taken for leaves and disability claims,” Ms. Johnson said. “This translates into lower health insurance utilization.” Because Bank of Marin has a quality health and wellness program in place, health insurance carriers have given the bank a premium rate reduction in recent years.

“Taking care of our employees is essential to making Bank of Marin a best place to work and an employer of choice,” said bank President and CEO Russ Colombo. Mr. Colombo  himself participates in several cycling races, triathlons and marathons -- and many employees join him.  The bank has sponsored its own team for the Marin County Triathlon.