The Lewer Companies

Madison Area Technical College Student Wins First Place in LewerMark Scholarship Contest

The Lewer Agency is pleased to announce that Tariq Anjum from Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin is the first-place winner of the 2014/2015 LewerMark “Make Your Mark” Scholarship Contest. Tariq was nominated by Jacquelyn Dahlke, Coordinator and Advisor at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin. He is from a rural area of Punjab in central Pakistan, a sovereign country in South Asia.

Tariq Anjum and LewerMark Vice President Jeff Crawford on scholarship presentation day at Madison Area Technical College, May 12

Tariq Anjum and LewerMark Vice President Jeff Crawford on scholarship presentation day at Madison Area Technical College, May 12

Anjum impressed the panel after the judges learned that he chose to spend his Spring Break working at homeless shelters in New York City. Among other outstanding efforts, Anjum was recently a member of the Madison College Volunteer Service Team that visited Ground Zero, the site of the 911 attacks.

“After Ground Zero, the team visited a nearby church and recommended that our service teams work there in the future,” Dahlke wrote in her letter of recommendation. “The service team navigated New York City by subway and bus. These were great ‘in-the-mix’ experiences. Upon return to Madison, the team expressed a fondness for working and learning together. Team members said that having three international students on the team was an ‘unexpected learning bonus.’ Tariq was one of the international students.”

“The team not only learned about various cultures in New York, they also learned about the cultures of the three international students, some of whom were soon to return to their home countries,” Dahlke continued. “The world has become a little closer and caring, because countries weren’t just places on a map on the evening news, anymore…they were the places where someone they now knew, and cared about, grew-up…and had families there.”

“Tariq has served with distinction, as the Madison College Student Senate President,” Dahlke added. “He is valued and respected by his peers, faculty and administrators. He is sought-out for his opinions and help. He is a planner, a thinker, a goal-setter and a worker. (Man, does he work!)….Tariq is an international student who is making a difference in the world…one person at a time.”

The LewerMark scholarship contest, now in its 10th year, attracted entries from over 100 international students throughout the United States. According to a member of the panel, LewerMark Director of Sales Erin Bennett, judging the contest is a commitment as judges work hard to select winners they feel are truly capable of making a difference in the world. “My strategy for judging is quite the process to narrow them down so it takes me awhile,” she said. “It is a very rewarding process.”

The Lewer Agency is honored to play a small role in helping its LewerMark 2014/2015 first-place scholarship winner Tariq Anjum from Madison Area Technical College achieve his dream to make a difference in the world.

Regional Benefits Advisor Hired at Lewer Canada

Lewer Canada is pleased to announce that they have hired Bob Mathur as a Regional Benefits Advisor, effective April 1, 2015. Mathur will be focusing on bringing in new business from the Uni-Select and Shaw Flooring affinity relationships.

LewerMark Regional Benefits Advisor Bob Mathur at a recent Automotive Industries Association trade show in Canada

LewerMark Regional Benefits Advisor Bob Mathur at a recent Automotive Industries Association trade show in Canada

Mathur started his career at Lewer by attending a trade show with Sales Director Craig Griffith for the Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada. He then finished the week with a Sandler Sales Training boot camp.

For a decade, Mathur has worked with small and medium sized organizations, constructing customized benefit solutions that have helped them improve employee morale, enhance employee relations and increase productivity and he is bringing this knowledge and experience with him to Lewer Canada.

He takes the time to understand and uncover his client’s goals in order to provide them with a solution that truly meets their needs. By exceeding his client’s needs and expectations, he is able to develop a long-lasting relationship that is built on trust and integrity. “Having worked with clients of all sizes and from various industries, I have come to realize that there is no such thing as a one-size fits all solution,” he said. “In order to provide best in class advisory services and solutions, one needs to fully understand the goals and objectives of each client.”

Prior to working in the benefits industry, Mathur spent over a decade working for some of Canada’s largest financial institutions providing investment, lending and financial planning services to individuals including business owners and incorporated professionals.

“He takes pride in his ability to understand and anticipate his client’s goals. His skill in creating strong partnerships is the result of his strong focus on relationship-building, and by continuously looking for ways to improve the client experience,” said Griffith, a former colleague of Bob’s.

“I joined Lewer because of the great vision, great opportunity, and because I am very comfortable with the management,” said Mathur. “My short-term goal is to learn the products and solutions that Lewer is able to offer. My long-term goal is to build a loyal base of clients who see Lewer, and myself, as the place/person to entrust with their business.”

Lewer Canada Attends Uni-Select Conference

Lewer Canada was pleased to attend the annual Uni-Select Conference held May 27, 2015 at the Woodbine Racetrack north of Toronto.

Bob Mathur and Craig Griffith at the Uni-Select Conference last week

Bob Mathur and Craig Griffith at the Uni-Select Conference last week

The meeting was attended by 800 Ontario Uni-Select Members and Installers. As part of the pre-conference marketing effort, the Lewer team conducted a mailing and made follow-up calls to dozens of Uni-Select members.

In September 2013, Lewer Canada was pleased to announce that it had finalized a new agreement with Uni-Select Inc., a distributor in the automotive aftermarket. The company, through its subsidiary, Uni-Select Inc. – USA, is also strongly established and strategically spread across 48 American states.

In addition, Uni-Select is a major independent distributor of paint and related products in North America. The company, based in Boucherville, Quebec, was founded in 1968. To date, it is the largest distributor of automotive parts in Canada and the sixth largest distributor in the United States.

Lewer US and Lewer Canada Attend Winter Shaw Conventions

In January, Lewer US was represented by Senior Account Manager Tom Kohl at the annual Shaw convention, in Orlando, Florida. The convention was held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. A total of 1,058 dealers from the U.S. and Canada attended the convention.

Shaw planned a number of events including a live band the last night of the convention with a Mardi Gras themed gala, as well as a trip to Universal Studios. A great time was had by all,” said Kohl. “We had a number of dealers stop by the booth to check out why Lewer is a one-stop benefits shop.”

In February, Craig Griffith, Director, Business Development for Lewer Canada Ltd. (LCL) attended his second Shaw Winter Markets convention in Southern Ontario near Niagara Falls.

Griffith presented to the Territory Managers attending the conference, as he did last year. “The focus for the next couple of weeks will be reaching out to the TMs and providing them with information about LCL and what we can offer their dealers,” said Griffith.

He also commented that at the Niagara Falls conference, traffic was more spread out this year compared to last year. “I came away with some solid leads of businesses interested in investigating Group Benefits with LCL,” he said.

Lewer US Attends 7-Eleven’s Annual ‘Experience Conference’

The 7-Eleven Experience Conference is the premier franchise event of the year. In February, Lewer President Mike Lewer, Lewer Financial Advisors Vice President Greg Addison and LewerBenefits Account Manager Tom Kohl attended the conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The convention theme was Connect. Innovate. Evolve. Organizers communicated the message that in light of current legislative, regulatory and economic pressures, now, more than ever, it is essential that the industry expand its networks and strengthen existing connections to “unite the industry and promote innovation.”

On Wednesday, from the booth in Vegas, Lewer updated the home office with the news that activity at the booth was brisk. “We had to print more handouts,” he said. “There is lots of interest in Lewer’s Private Exchange and Retirement programs.”

After returning home, Kohl compared this year’s show to last year’s event. “I think we had a better turnout this year,” he said. “A couple hundred attendees came by the booth. Both LewerBenefits and Lewer Financial Advisors had great stories to tell this year.”

Addison attended the conference to present the Supplemental Retirement Savings Solution plan to franchisees. “The concept, which uses an Indexed Life Insurance Chassis, was very positively received and we came back with dozens of leads from franchisees who wanted to be contacted and provided with more information,” said Addison. “Overall, I’d describe this conference as one of the most productive I’ve attended.”

Mike Lewer and a client in Vegas at the 7-Eleven Experience Conference

Mike Lewer and a client in Vegas at the 7-Eleven Experience Conference

Greg Addison (left) and Tom Kohl (middle) working from the booth in Las Vegas

Greg Addison (left) and Tom Kohl (middle) working from the booth in Las Vegas

Mike Lewer (left) and Greg Addison (right) visit with franchisees at the 7-Eleven Experience Conference

Mike Lewer (left) and Greg Addison (right) visit with franchisees at the 7-Eleven Experience Conference


Lewer Installs Symbility Claims Management System

Lewer Canada recently completed the installation of Symbility Claims Connect, a secure, online communications hub, data warehouse and reporting tool. The system allows Lewer Canada customers the ability to submit claims, retrieve Explanation of Benefits forms and sign up for direct deposit.

Lewer US President Mike Lewer and Vice President, Agency Accounting Melissa Grann traveled to Lewer Canada’s Mississauga office in December to meet with President René Sainte-Marie, Director, Business Development Craig Griffith, and Sales and Marketing Specialist Beth Loch of the Lewer Canada team and Doram Dascaloff, an account manager with Symbility. The team finalized plans for the portal roll out, which launched in February.

Symbility Solutions® (TSX.V: SY), headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is a global provider of cloud-based and smartphone/tablet-enabled claims technology for the property and casualty and health insurance industries. Designed to be flexible and easy-to-use, Symbility Solutions’ two product suites, Symbility Property™ and Symbility Health™, empower insurers to collaborate across the entire claims processing workflow and reduce costs while delivering a market-leading claims experience.

Lewer Closes Application Period for 2014/2015 Scholarship

The LewerMark team thanks all of the students who entered the 2014/2015 LewerMark “Make Your Mark” Scholarship Contest.

Each year, since 1995, student entrants – both inbound and study abroad students – have been challenged to submit a 500-word essay that answers the question: “How will an international education help me make a difference in the world?”

Again, this year, three scholarships will be awarded to the winners through the students’ schools. The first place award is $1,250, the second place award is $1,000.00, and the third place award is $750.00.

Applicants who submitted their essays by the March 2, 2015 deadline are now being considered for a scholarship award. Winners must be attending school after the award is granted in order to receive the scholarship proceeds for the next school year.

In honor of the 10th Anniversary of the LewerMark Scholarship, 10 applicants will receive a $25 gift card just for entering the contest.

All winners will be announced by early April.

LewerMark Website Now Offers Live Online Chat Feature

Thanks to the addition of “Live Chat” on the LewerMark website, school advisors and students are now able to get immediate assistance from LewerMark service personnel between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“This new feature is a nice enhancement when it comes to our customer service,” says LewerMark Vice President Jeff Crawford. “In my experience, there are only so many ways to contact a company, and each one has drawbacks. Unlike previous advances in technology, online chat sessions have enormous potential to truly improve the quality of service for our customers.”

“Since the majority of our audience is a generation of young tech-savvy international students, we felt this was a great way to open another line of communication. As a whole, the age group we work with prefer chatting, texting, or emailing, over calling,” said Regional Sales Director Erin Bennett.

LewerMark Launches Tax Service for International Students

The Lewer Agency has partnered with Sprintax, a Chicago, Illinois-based company that prepares tax returns for students. Many international students in the United States might not realize that they are required to file US tax documents and, most importantly, the deadline is fast approaching: April 15th.

Most international students are considered non-residents for tax purposes. If they have not received any source of income they will need to file Form 8843. If they have received income in the last calendar year then they will need to file Form 8843 and most likely Form 1040NR-EZ.

Jennifer Gallagher, Sprintax Vice President of Sales, has partnered with Lewer on the project. “We are now working on getting the word out to LewerMark students by promoting the tax preparation service on websites, in email blasts, and on social media platforms,” said LewerMark Vice President, Jeff Crawford.

Services cost just $34.95 for a Federal filing, $24.95 for a State filing, and $14.95 for Form 8843 or ITIN.


LewerMark Attends AWISA Winter 2015 Meeting

Since 2010, The Lewer Agency has been a member of The Association of Washington International Student Affairs (AWISA), an organization that connects Washington’s international educators. LewerMark Vice President Jeff Crawford and Account Manager Laura Caferro attended the AWISA 2015 Winter Meeting, February 20, at the University of Washington in Bothell, Washington. Its members share the common goal of promoting international education.

Jeff Crawford presenting at the AWISA Winter 2015 Meeting

Jeff Crawford presenting at the AWISA Winter 2015 Meeting

At the meeting, Crawford announced that The Lewer Agency is now offering SIM cards for international students attending schools in Washington through its recent partnership with CampusSIMs, a company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The service plan enables students to bring their own phones from home and access America’s fastest 4G LTE network for as little as $25 per month.

“We had a majority of our client schools in attendance so it was a wonderful opportunity to check in with so many of our Lewer folks in this venue,” said Caferro. “There were great presentation sessions. We also enjoyed a lunch sponsored by our partner Jennifer Gallagher, Vice President of Sales at Sprintax.”

Gallagher and her company recently partnered with Lewer to offer students tax filing services.

AWISAns” are Washingtonians and members of the global community and include international student and scholar advisors, study abroad advisors, international admissions specialists, student activity coordinators, and English as a Second Language (ESL) advisors, according to the website. AWISA meetings feature sessions on a wide range of topics including international student recruitment, international student and scholar regulations, study abroad programming, ESL instruction, planning on-campus activities, and more.

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The Lewer Companies