Members of the Lewer team attended the Insight 2013 Shaw convention, January 21 – 23, at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
The Insight 2013 expo was the most productive Shaw convention Lewer has attended since onboarding the flooring company as a client nearly 15 years ago, according to Lewer senior investment advisor, Kevin Keleher. “Shaw plans a conference every other year and the 2013 show was the best to date,” said Keleher. “We have worked with these dealers through good times and bad – through housing booms and the 2008 recession. It’s great to see the industry rebound.”
At this year’s convention, The Lewer Companies rolled out its new financial products, including a 401(k) plan. After returning from his first Shaw convention, new Lewer senior vice president Greg Addison commented that he was impressed with Shaw’s commitment to business development during the conference. “I have never seen any other company commit the total number of dollars and resources to a dealer conference, including the software industry,” said Addison. “Dealers come and take care of business.”
Lewer Life Insurance Company is pleased to announce the promotion of staff accountant Monika Gray to the position of assistant controller, effective February 1, 2013.
Gray’s career at Lewer has been eventful, both personally and professionally. Professional highlights include her receipt of the 2010 “Employee of the Year” award. Personal highlights include the successful Lewer Charitable Fund (LCF) fundraiser which she volunteered to captain in 2012. Born in Poland, she became a United States citizen in 2011.
Her reputation as a key team member at Lewer originated early in her career when she was named “Innovator of the Year” in 2008, for improvements she implemented in accounting procedures.
On her fifth anniversary with the company last year, Gray commented that one of the most significant changes she has witnessed since joining the team is the change to the new Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting system, which she counts among the biggest breakthroughs in her department since joining the team. “I am growing as the company grows,” she stated.
The Lewer Agency, Inc. is pleased to announce that Jody Miller has joined the Agency as a commercial benefits lines account manager, effective February 25, 2013. Miller, a seasoned employee benefits specialist, worked for a number of area firms, including WageWorks in Kansas City. While at WageWorks, she was responsible for the company’s 14-state Midwest territory and worked with brokers and employer groups.
Miller’s successful account management and sales career was also developed through her employment with Meritain Health, where she worked as a Regional Vice President of Sales and Client Relationship Manager.
Prior to Lewer, Miller also worked as an account executive at the Bukaty Companies, where she was awarded a “Top Producer of the Quarter” award in 2005. She was also an account executive at Coventry Health Care where she was honored with the company’s “Account Manager of the Year” award in 2001.
Miller attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, where she earned a BS degree in Communications and Human Relations. She is licensed to sell Life and Health insurance in the state of Kansas and has earned the CEBS I and II certifications. She is a member of the Employee Benefit Professional Association.
Lewer Financial Advisors, LLC (LFA) was launched in November 2012 after the company received notice from the state of Missouri that its application for licensure as a corporate Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) had been approved. On March 5, 2013, LFA senior vice president Greg Addison was pleased to announce that LFA is now a Registered Investment Advisor in Louisiana.
It was news LFA had been waiting for since the team launched the new financial services firm. At the time, president and CEO Mike Lewer commented that the development of LFA was the result of extensive research and precision timing.
“The decision to form LFA came when we began observing significant changes in market conditions,” said Lewer. “While the health insurance markets began exhibiting more uncertainties, the financial services markets began showing significant opportunities, especially in our niche markets. An increasing number of large investment brokerage firms have pulled out of the small business market. This trend presents us with an extraordinary opportunity to capitalize on our stronghold in the market.”
Kevin Keleher, CLU, ChFC, CASL will now be serving clients in Louisiana as a senior investment advisor for Lewer Financial Advisors, LLC. Keleher can be reached at 800-821-7715 or at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri Approves LFA License
After several years on the drawing board, the Lewer Companies began 2013 with the exciting launch of a new company, Lewer Financial Advisors, LLC (LFA). The development, which began in 2010, is expected to become a significant chapter in The Lewer Companies’ 57 year old historical archive.
After receiving word from the state of Missouri, November 6, 2012, that the Lewer Financial Advisors application for licensure as a corporate Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) had been approved, President Mike Lewer was pleased to announce that “all systems are a go”. The official launching of the new financial services arm of the Lewer organization took place December 1, 2012. “On that date, a new chapter for our company began,” said Lewer.
The development of Lewer Financial Advisors is the result of extensive research and precision timing. The decision to switch to a new model for Lewer’s financial services arm came when Lewer began observing significant changes in the benefits as well as financial market environments.
“While the health insurance markets began exhibiting more uncertainties, the financial services markets began showing significant opportunities, especially in our niche markets,” said Lewer. “In recent years, an increasing number of large investment brokerage firms have discontinued offering programs to the small businesses associated with our affinity markets. This trend presented us with an extraordinary opportunity to capitalize on our stronghold in our markets.”
“By the first of the year, the Lewer group of companies will be operating under a new model,” Lewer explained. “I see our new model as a three-legged stool with Lewer Financial Advisors, LLC (financial services), Lewer Life Insurance Company (insurance), and The Lewer Agency, Inc. (benefits) being the three legs of the stool.”
As an RIA, LFA will now be engaged in the investment advisory business and registered with state securities authorities until the company is managing over $100,000,000 in assets. At that time, LFA will be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Lewer expressed his excitement when commenting on what may be the most significant news story of the decade for The Lewer Companies. “We have a long history of innovating to meet the needs of our markets,” he said. “It’s in our DNA. LFA is another example of how challenges present opportunities and how, through our talents and resources, we are able to take advantage of new market opportunities.”
Lewer is pleased to announce the appointment of Greg Addison to the position of Senior Vice President, Lewer Financial Advisors, effective September 1, 2012. Addison’s mission is to grow The Lewer Companies’ recently launched company, Lewer Financial Advisors.
Addison began working with the company as a consultant in February 2012. As a consultant, Addison’s primary responsibility was to research and craft a strategic plan to form and operate a new business focused on providing financial services and programs to Lewer’s affinity clients – Lewer Financial Advisors.
Addison studied business and law at Louisiana Tech University, where he served as president of the Business Students Association and chancellor of the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity. Following his graduation, he accumulated over 20 years of successful management experience in a variety of industries including aerospace, automotive, information technology, and agriculture. He has successfully grown multiple companies in a variety of industries.
“We welcome this new addition as we prepare for a new chapter for the Lewer companies,” said President Mike Lewer. “I have enjoyed working with Greg in his consulting role. His appointment is driven by the commitment to develop Lewer Financial Advisors as a significant member of the Lewer family of companies over the next few years.”
During the Lewer Life Insurance Company’s semi-annual Board of Directors meeting held in Kansas City on October 11, 2012, Nik Lewer was elected to the company’s Board making him the first third-generation member of the Lewer family to have a seat on the Board. He is the grandson of the founder of the Lewer companies, D. C. Lewer, and the son of president and CEO, Mike Lewer.
As a member of the Lewer family, Nik brings a “lifetime” of experience with the Lewer Companies to his new position. In addition to growing up in the business, he worked part-time at Lewer from 2004 to 2007 while attending college.
Lewer’s experience in the industry expanded in 2007, when he accepted a summer internship at Lockton Companies, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating from the University of Portland with a double major in Global Business and Spanish, he accepted a full-time position with Lockton Companies, Inc. in 2008. As an Account Manager for Lockton Global Benefits, he provided cross border benefits and local benefit packages outside of the U.S. for Lockton client companies that were expanding internationally – sending employees overseas or hiring local nationals for operations in countries outside of the United States.
Lewer served as an account manager at Lockton until 2010, when he was promoted to the position of Global Benefits Consultant. He continued to develop his expertise in the marketing and placement of expatriate and business travel insurance plans for multinational clients. He also served as Lockton’s liaison in Mexico City, where he managed placements, renewals, and translations. In May 2012, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President – Senior Consultant Global Benefits.
“I was naturally drawn to Global Employee Benefits,” said Lewer, who studied internationally in Granada, Spain and Perth, Australia. In addition to his experiences overseas, Lewer is licensed to sell Life and Health insurance and has earned the professional designations of Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) and Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS).
After his election in October, Lewer said he felt “both honored and a little emotional” when his grandfather, D. C. Lewer, announced the motion at the meeting with his father, Mike Lewer, by his side. A member of Generation Y – the country’s next wave of business leaders – Nik Lewer says he believes he is qualified to bring a unique perspective to the Board. “My goal,” he said, “is to do a lot of listening, so I can learn from the veterans at Lewer.”
The Board was also pleased to announce the election of LewerMark Vice President, Jeff Crawford, as the second of the new Board appointments. Jeff also expressed that being elected to serve on the Board was an honor.
Crawford began working with The Lewer Agency as a consultant in 1995 and was hired in 1996 as Manager of Investment and Pension Products. That same year, he assumed the position of Regional Marketing Director, which he held until leaving the company in 2000 to enter the telecommunications industry.
Though Crawford enjoyed success with the telecommunications venture over the following five year period, he decided to come back to Lewer to “level the ride.” When he returned to Lewer, he assumed the position of National Sales Director, Student Insurance.
When Crawford began managing the LewerMark program in 2005, he commented that his goal was “to make LewerMark the overall top program available from a quality and service perspective.” He stated that he wanted to build in-house resources. He also had goals “to provide excellent product support and service to producers and achieve excellent growth.”
Following his recent promotion to Vice President, LewerMark Student Insurance in March 2012, Crawford expressed his satisfaction with the LewerMark team’s performance. “We have successfully competed against larger companies and we have maintained our accounts through various situations, including underwriter changes, network changes, and increasing competition,” he said. “Our success is strengthened by the commitment and participation at the executive level to provide the best products and an overall superior value that is anchored by exceptional customer service.”
According to President Mike Lewer, Crawford brings an important perspective to the Board with his experience and success in developing the LewerMark program as well as his prior experience in the financial services industry. “Jeff has had great success becoming a trusted advisor to many of our clients through his involvement with The Lewer Agency, and we welcome his participation and contribution as a Director of our life insurance company.”
The Lewer Agency is pleased to announce the promotion of Christy White to the position of Senior Customer Service Coordinator, effective December 10, 2012.
White began her career at Lewer as a receptionist and administrative assistant on August 12, 2009, after working as a senior customer service representative for H&R Block in Kansas City. When she was hired, she commented that she joined the company because she liked the vision of the company and she felt there were several ways Lewer could help her grow as an individual.
Shortly, after she was hired, in December 2009, she was awarded with the 2009 “Rookie of the Year” award. In all Lewer Performance Award (LPC) categories that year, the company’s most prestigious employee awards program, Christy won the highest number of nominations.
Upon her receipt of the “Rookie of the Year” award that year, White commented, “The Lewer Agency makes me think of the Olive Garden slogan – When You’re Here, You’re Family. Since I’ve been at Lewer, everyone has welcomed me with open arms and has been so helpful. I am happy my co-workers thought enough of me to nominate me.”
Two years later, in May 2011, White received her first promotion, from receptionist to Enrollment & Customer Service Coordinator.
In December, after the announcement of White’s most recent promotion, her manager, Patti Dennell, expressed her appreciation. “Christy has worn many hats since starting with Lewer – receptionist, mailroom assistant, enrollment rep, and customer service rep,” said Dennell. “She has done an excellent job in all positions, but I am so grateful to have her in the customer service department. She does a tremendous job, and her promotion to Senior Customer Service Coordinator is a promotion well-deserved.”
White attended St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, where she sang with the concert choir. She also served as vice president of the Melody of Praise Gospel Ensemble during her senior year at St. Louis University.
The Lewer Agency is pleased to announce the promotion of Tom Kohl to the position of Account Manager – 7-Eleven, effective November 1, 2012.
Kohl began his career at Lewer on April 18, 2011 and said he accepted the position because Lewer seemed to be a great place to further his young career in insurance. “Once I met the members of the staff, I was sold that this was a company I could grow with professionally,” he said. “I liked Lewer’s personalized contact with its customers, especially in these times of digital communications.”
Prior to joining the Lewer team, Kohl worked in Medicare sales for Blue Cross and Blue Shield and as a Life and Health insurance agent for a State Farm agency. While at State Farm, he was named fourth top Kansas producer in July 2010. He was also named “Regional Life Sales Champion” in March 2010, and completed educational courses related to asset protection.
Kohl was born in Lansing, Kansas and graduated with a B.S. Business Management/Marketing degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, in 2008. While attending college, he served as Elected Treasurer for the Entrepreneurship Group. He was honored for a number of athletic accomplishments due to his involvement in Morningside’s varsity baseball program. Honors included receipt of the Best Work Ethic award and receipt of the Best Team Attitude award. Kohl also won the title of Team MVP.
“I hope I can build on the foundation of the 7-Eleven benefits program that has been laid and use the training and team around me to help its continued success,” said Kohl. “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to be a part of a program with this potential.”
In August 2012, on behalf of Lewer major account, 7-Eleven and franchisees, The Lewer Agency formed an agreement with Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente. The agreement initially involves all 7-Eleven franchise business submitted to Kaiser California and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado.
A meeting, held at 7-Eleven’s corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas, November 29, 2012, solidified the commitment 7-Eleven and Lewer have to bringing 7-Eleven franchisees and their employees a wide range of benefits offerings, including financial services soon to be introduced as a result of the recent formation of the Lewer Financial Advisors leg of The Lewer Companies.
“At the meeting, our contacts expressed their support of the new line of benefits now being offered through the Lewer My 7-Eleven Benefits program, especially the expanded financial services options which now include 401(k), ETF, and Fixed Annuity products,” said Lewer’s 7-Eleven account manager, Tom Kohl. “Lewer also committed to meet with a developing 7-Eleven franchisee National Business Council twice each year in Dallas to share ideas that will keep My 7-Eleven Benefits a valued and quality plan for all 7-Eleven franchisees and their employees.”
Upon returning to Kansas City, Lewer Senior Vice President, Mike Dlugolecki, said it was evident in the meeting that Lewer and 7-Eleven have a true partnership. “It was gratifying to make a call on an account that has relied on Lewer to provide benefits solutions to franchisees and their employees since 1989,” said Dlugolecki.