The Lewer Companies are pleased to announce that Diane Jimenez joined the team as an administrative assistant, July 8, 2013, and now serves the companies as a customer service representative.
Jimenez is a volunteer at El Centro, Inc. in Kansas City, Kansas, where she has donated her time for the cause of the ¡Sí, Se Puede! Program since 2009. She is also a Peer Leader at Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods (MCC), in Kansas City, Missouri. Originally from Laredo, Texas, Jimenez graduated from Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Missouri in 2011. At Park Hill, she served as Spanish Club President, was Consular of the Youth Leadership and Diversity Training Program, and Founder of HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization).
In 2009, Jimenez was recognized by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute at an annual conference for her leadership in the Hispanic community. She plans to continue her undergraduate studies in business administration and marketing at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in May 2014.
Katelyn Bidondo assumed the role of receptionist at The Lewer Companies, September 3, 2013. Prior to joining Lewer, Bidondo worked as a teller and customer service representative at U.S. Bank and the Bank of America in the Westport and Brookside areas of Kansas City, Missouri. She also worked as a student assistant at the Women’s Center at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC).
Following her graduation from Raymore Peculiar High School in Peculiar, Missouri in 2007, she received an Associate of Arts degree from Longview Community College and went on to continue her studies at UMKC, where she received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Spanish in May 2012. At this time, she is working toward a Masters degree in Romance Languages with an emphasis on Spanish studies at UMKC.
The Lewer Companies are pleased to announce that Lewer U.S.A. is purchasing the outstanding shares of its affiliate, The Lewer Insurance Agency Ltd. in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition, Craig Griffith has been appointed to the position of Director, Business Development and is assuming a leading role in the business development and management operations of the company.
The Lewer Insurance Agency Ltd., and its affiliate Sainte-Marie, Lewer Inc., have been in operation in Canada for nearly three decades, providing companies affiliated with the petroleum and automotive industries in Canada with comprehensive and competitive health benefits programs.
“In recent years, an important area of growth for Lewer Canada has come from partnering with select broker partners who are able to create value for their clients by bringing the unique value proposition available through Lewer Insurance Agency Ltd. and Sainte-Marie Lewer, which propels Lewer’s Canadian clients’ ROI and increases the satisfaction for all stakeholders in a company’s benefit program,” said Griffith.
“Helping businesses and insurance planners across Canada, we are able to bring the knowledge and experience of fellow specialists in securing their Benefit and Compensation programs. Our biggest strength is our understanding of their plan,” he said. “We use our knowledge to provide a professional and experienced review of the administration and funding of our clients’ benefits programs and we focus on finding and improving efficiencies. Our prominence in the marketplace allows us to customize our programs to achieve our clients’ specific goals.”
Griffith has 17 years of experience in group insurance, savings and voluntary benefits, with 12 of those years working inside a Property and Casualty (P&C) brokerage. He began his career with the life insurance division of a major Canadian insurance company and quickly moved into consulting on employee health and dental care plans for small and medium size companies. The role expanded to consulting for brokers, providing them with service and advice for their client’s group benefits needs. While serving in a consulting role, he saw the opportunity to provide clients with advice and service on their P&C insurance and also began serving businesses with their commercial insurance needs.
In 2001, Griffith joined a P&C brokerage integrating group benefits and group retirement savings into their product portfolio, working with small and medium companies to analyze their employer and shareholder needs, and implementing successful and sustainable benefit programs. Now at The Lewer Insurance Agency Ltd., he is working with clients to offer a complete suite of services to improve their ROI and to increase their employee’s engagement through benefit plans and compensation planning.
Prior to Lewer, Griffith worked as a benefit consultant for Healthsource Plus in Toronto, Canada. Healthsource Plus is a People Corporation Company that focuses on Group Benefits, Benefits Administration, Claims Management, Wellness, Group Retirement Solutions and Human Resource Solutions. He also worked as a Sales Consultant, Insurance Solutions for ADP Insurance Canada, in Mississauga, Ontario, focusing on companies with 100 to 250 plan members throughout Ontario.
In addition, and for over a decade, he worked as Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Caponi McLean Group Benefits, a Canadian company. While serving in this position, he was committed to delivering sustainable and progressive employee benefit strategies to Canadian and international employers. His career path also includes nearly a decade of group benefits sales experience with Dale & Morrow Insurance and Financial Services.
Griffith says he is looking forward to a challenging and rewarding career with Lewer Canada. “I look forward to developing new distribution channels; capitalizing and expanding our reach within the existing affinity markets, creating new affinity markets, and working with suppliers and Lewer U.S.A. to expand our products and markets.”
Lewer Financial Advisors, LLC (LFA) is pleased to announce that Senior Vice President Greg Addison and investment advisor Dan Compton finalized the details of a comprehensive, formal financial plan, written August 21, 2013. The clients’ estate is valued at $4 million.
“There were some complexities, including owner operated businesses, real estate, farmland, government income, multiple existing IRA and brokerage accounts, employer sponsored retirement plans and deferred receivables which all needed to work together,” said Addison. “We also needed to work with an estate attorney to design an appropriate trust to house their estate. It was a number of weeks worth of work, but it was well worth it as we ended up with a comprehensive, integrated financial plan for the client. In addition to designing their overall financial plan, we also won the right to manage all of their investable assets which included employer sponsored retirement savings plans and self-directed IRAs.”
Addison co-wrote the case with Dan Compton, who joined LFA as a consulting investment advisor in January, 2013. “I brought Dan into the discussion because he is really good at creating financial plans – particularly those involving farmland,” said Addison. “He is also particularly good with working with more experienced clients who have more complex portfolios. After we presented the financial plan to our clients, they asked if we would submit a proposal for the ongoing management of their assets. As a result, we are now their financial advisors.
“I really enjoyed working on the case,” Addison said. “Our clients want to retire in four years so they can spend more time with their grandchildren. It is nice to be in a position where LFA can help them reach the goals that are important to them.”
In September, The Lewer Companies were pleased to welcome a student intern to the team as part of the Corporate Work Study Program, coordinated by Cristo Rey, a Catholic school in Kansas City, Missouri that serves culturally diverse students with economic needs and their families. The student will be interning at Lewer through May 2014, when her junior year work study program concludes at Cristo Rey.
Cristo Rey interns can be as young as 14 years of age, due to the school’s special provision from the U.S. Department of Labor that allows Cristo Rey to employ children this age and older. In the U.S., the standard age for employment is 16.
Every student works at least one day per week. On their assigned work day, students dressed in school uniform attire are transported to and from work by Cristo Rey drivers. Most perform entry-level clerical work, such as answering phones.
Corporate job sponsors, like Lewer, commit to a fee-for-service contract stating that money earned by students goes directly towards the cost of their education at Cristo Rey. So that the work/study program does not interfere with their academic studies, Cristo Rey requires a longer school day and a longer school year. Instructional time is structured so that no student worker misses class to go to work.
According to the Cristo Rey website, the Corporate Work Study Program is an essential component of a Cristo Rey education. Students earn credit hours for work study and roughly half of the cost of their own education. All new students attend a four-week Summer Training Institute. The institute teaches them a range of workplace skills. Returning students participate in an intensive one-week refresher course at the beginning of the school year.
Corporate sponsors hire Cristo Rey interns to bring diversity to the workplace, support the development of the future workforce in the Kansas City area and to ensure that hard-to-fill entry-level jobs are staffed.
The Lewer Companies is pleased to announce that its affiliate in Canada, The Lewer Insurance Agency Ltd., has finalized a new agreement with Uni-Select Inc., a major distributor in the automotive aftermarket. The company, through its subsidiary, Uni-Select Inc. – USA, is also strongly established and strategically spread across 48 states. In addition, Uni-Select is a major independent distributor of paint and related products in North America. To date, Uni-Select, which was founded in 1968 in Boucherville, Quebec, is the largest distributor of automotive parts in Canada and the sixth largest distributor in the United States.
According to Lewer Canada’s Director of Business Development, Craig Griffith, Lewer Canada has written Uni-Select business inside Quebec for a number of years. “When they decided to market a benefits program outside Quebec, they called Lewer right way because of our great service and products,” said Griffith.
The new program will be launched in October 2013 to Uni-Select’s Auto Service Providers (ASP) division outside of Quebec, in addition to Uni-Select Members at the company’s wholesale locations.
The company is focused on putting customers first, according to the website. “Uni-Select endorses entrepreneurship, opting for a network of independent merchant members. In addition to offering the best automotive products, it is dedicated to present state-of-the-art marketing and sales programs to its entire network of independent jobber, installer and body shop owners.”