The Spring 2015 Lewer Charitable Fund (LCF) fundraiser, co-led by LCF captains Brittney Winchester and Abby Smith, to help raise funds to find a cure for autism, resulted in a $1,000 donation to the Autism Speaks organization. Winchester, a staff accounting clerk and Smith, a claims auditor at Lewer, both have sons who have the disease.
On annual World Autism Awareness Day, held each year in April, the Autism Speaks organization’s event includes the international Light It Up Blue campaign. Thousands of iconic landmarks, communities, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families around the world affected by autism. At Lewer, exterior lightbulbs were replaced with blue bulbs in support of World Autism Awareness Day.
One highlight of the fundraiser was the Light It Up Blue Breakfast the LCF captains hosted on April 2 – annual World Autism Awareness Day, a day adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. Autism is one of only three health issues to be recognized with its own day by the United Nations.
“Finding a cure for autism and raising awareness are two very important goals for me and my family,” said Winchester, when she offered to co-captain the LCF’s spring fundraiser. “While people may know what autism is, most don’t understand the full impact it has on individuals as well as their families. Donations are used to fund research and raise awareness for autism, which brings us closer to ‘shining a light’ on it, and finding a cure.”
After a recent meeting at GetInsured headquarters in San Jose, California, Lewer is moving forward with the development of a significant relationship with a partnership that began forming in January 2015 when Lewer was in the process of finding an Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant private health insurance exchange platform to help clients navigate the post-ACA environment and deadlines.
After Lewer launched its GetInsured website in January, the first online enrollment came in from a 7-Eleven franchisee in New York, prior to the ACA deadline of February 15 (which was later extended by the Obama administration.)
According to the website, nearly 1.5 million Americans used GetInsured’s simple tools to enroll in health insurance last year. The tools make it easy for website visitors to find a plan that meets their family’s needs (and fits their budget). Visitors can also apply for tax credits to pay for health insurance, if they qualify. Licensed experts are available to answer any Obamacare questions along the way. “We know that our work is about more than just numbers,” touts the website. “We’re here to help customers ease their worries, save money and take care of their families.”
“The partnership with GetInsured allows Lewer to direct its customer base to an already established specialty company that provides service,” said Mike Dlugolecki, Senior Vice President at Lewer. “The program allows franchisees to offer a way for their employees to get enrolled without the hassle and confusion of healthcare.gov.”
After returning from a recent meeting at GetInsured headquarters, Lewer’s Commercial Lines Small Group Director Tom Kohl advised that Lewer customers are very receptive to the new GetInsured offering. “It is clear that there is a high level of interest,” he said. “Our next initiative is to use the private health exchange as a tool for new hires at our client companies and as a COBRA alternative. We think we’re in a good place with a good partner.”
The Lewer Agency honored Patti Dennell for 25 years of service this week with a $250 bonus – $10 for each year of service. Dennell joined The Lewer Agency in April 1990 as a new business clerk in the Life department. She processed applications, administered doctors’ and paramed services, and sent new policies to Lewer agents.
In 1994, she assumed Manager of Individual Administration responsibilities and, in forthcoming years, assumed roles in a number of departments, including Human Resources, until becoming a home-based Claims Payer in 1998. In 2004, she returned full-time and served the company as a LewerMark customer service representative/claims payer. She has been working as Claims Manager at Lewer since her promotion in 2006, when she was charged with overseeing student claims processing and customer service for the company’s largest accounts.
Dennell is a seasoned manager who significantly influences the management culture at Lewer. Her tenure and knowledge of the business are now creating learning opportunities for others, according to her manager, Rodney Vallejo, Vice President of Customer Service at Lewer. “Patti is a hard working manager who earned appreciation and respect from her peers and staff. Her commitment to the company and its customers have helped her be successful in every role she has held in the company.”
In 2006, Dennell was inducted into the Lewer Performance Club (LPC) after winning the “Manager of the Year” award. She won the award again in 2008 and in 2013. “I started at Lewer at the age of 24, and I was still somewhat very immature,” she said. “Through the years, each of my supervisors did a great job, as all were strong in their own areas. I feel that I learned from each and every one of them.”
The LewerMark team that attended the 2015 National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) Conference, May 26 – 29, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts returned to headquarters pleased with the reputation of LewerMark after receiving numerous comments regarding Lewer’s exceptional staff back at the home office. Booth activity at the 2015 conference was, once again, brisk.
Conference highlights included a reception at Bleacher Bar at Fenway Park co-hosted by Lewer, AEO Tours, CampusSIMS and Sprintax. “It was fabulous and went off without a hitch,” said Bennett. “Everyone was drawn to the huge open window view of the stadium. It was funny to watch the reactions when they realized there was a clear view of Fenway. I also now have a new way to figure out if our event is a success and it is by watching the amount of cell phone photography! It seemed everyone had their phones out taking pictures. It will be tough to one-up this location next year but I am up for the challenge.”
The team also held a LewerMark Advisory Council breakfast meeting the morning of the reception. Attendees included Britta Wright of Columbia College-Missouri, Jeff Foot of Northwest Missouri State, Stephanie Goad of Northeastern State – Oklahoma, Rose Bolz of Pima Community College, Jill Izumikawa of Harper Community College, Dawn Wood of Kirkwood Community College, Diana Heredia from Assist America, who sponsored the breakfast, and Dan Mueller from Trustmark.
“I would say that by far this was our best conference to date,” said Bennett. “Our booth location and traffic were both excellent. The GoPro giveaway and cell phone charger client gifts were a real hit.”
This summer, The Lewer Agency launched new ancillary products to its Commercial and LewerMark markets through a new carrier, Security Life Insurance Company of America, based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. According to Commercial Lines director Tom Kohl, the relationship with Security Life formed as part of the recent Commercial Division expansion at Lewer.
Since May, Lewer has been working on the project that will have an impact on Lewer’s Commercial and LewerMark markets. “It is moving fairly quickly,” said Kohl. “We’ll soon be able to offer individual plan options to small employers in addition to group offerings, ensuring we have something for everyone.”
Kohl commented that Lewer chose Security Life for many reasons. “They offer flexibility in plan setup, product offerings, and enrollment platforms,” he said. “Most importantly, the people we’ve worked with so far at Security Life have been great and feel our companies are a good match in size and principles. There is also the possibility of involving Lewer Life and our TPA services in the future.
“Our existing Dental carrier-partner, NGL, currently only offers group products,” he continued. “We will continue to work with NGL on small and large group dental plans. The new partnership with Security Life allows Lewer to help those prospects that do not meet the guidelines for group coverage so, again, something for everyone.”
According to the company’s website, Security Life has been in business since June 25, 1987. The company prides itself on its financial stability – maintaining a conservative, high-quality investment portfolio and strong capital position. As of June 2, 2011, Security Life has an A.M. Best rating of B++ (Good). This is the fifth highest of 16 possible ratings by A.M. Best company.
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.
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.
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.
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 was pleased to attend the annual Uni-Select Conference held May 27, 2015 at the Woodbine Racetrack north of Toronto.
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.
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.
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.”