Business of the Year 2014
In 1894 West Bend Mutual Fire Insurance Company was founded by local business owners after a fire roared through West Bend, destroying an entire commercial block and devastating a community. After 120 years, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company headquarters can be found at 1900 S. 18th Avenue on the city’s southwest side. The personal insurance lines consist of a home and auto package policy called Home and Highway, and personal umbrella, while business or commercial lines consist of property, liability, auto, business umbrella, bonds, surety, and workers’ compensation insurance. West Bend Mutual Insurance Company writes in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
With over 680 full-time associates, West Bend Mutual is the largest employer in the city. To protect employees and their families, associates can participate in health, prescription drug, dental, and vision insurance, short term disability, group term life, business travel accident insurance, and voluntary life. Their on-site 7,100 square-foot fitness center is available 24/7 to employees, spouses, and children, as well as 3 miles of walking/ running trails surrounding the campus. A partnership with the YMCA offers other wellness and weight loss programs to employees. An on-site health and wellness center opened in 2014, offering a full spectrum of medical care including annual physicals and immunizations, preventative screenings, lab work, personalized care for prevention and health maintenance and wellness initiatives such as health risk assessments and flu shots. The on-site center is operated by QuadMed, a nationwide leader in employer sponsored onsite healthcare. Associates also have the opportunity to participate in the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company Employee Savings and Retirement Plan and Trust 401(k), allowing employees to save for retirement. Employees with the highest longevity at the company receive a higher contribution rate under the “retirement” benefit. A performance bonus plan was also introduced in 2012 to provide financial incentive, foster teamwork, and attract and retain quality associates. Payment is based on growth and profitability of the company.
In 1995, the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company Charitable Trust was established. Through September 2014, donations of over $1 million from the trust and $107,000 from the corporate budget have been granted. Most of the grants are made in response to requests from employees that volunteer for the non-profit or service agency. In addition to financial support from the trust, many associates and departments raise funds for various causes within the community. The company encourages volunteering and financial support through various ways. Associates who give to the United Way according to the giving guide receive an extra day of vacation. Departments sponsor Christmas trees decorated for the charity of their choice. Breakfast with Santa and the Easter Bunny is a morning filled with food, activities and fun, and in return for a food pantry donation, associates receive a picture with the guest of honor. A $10 donation gives an associate the opportunity to wear jeans on a particular day of the week for one month. Those funds are donated to a family member or friend in need or to a local non-profit entity. Since 2004, the annual Blitz Build for Habitat for Humanity allows associates to help build or renovate a local Habitat project, while still being paid their regular salary. The Prairie Business Center can be utilized by non-profit organizations for which a West Bend Mutual associate serves. In 2014, over $700,000 was raised by 15 community service and non-profit organizations. Many employees, from management to associate level, volunteer and support local and regional non-profit organizations too numerous to name.
Tenure at West Bend Mutual Insurance Company is 11 years- a statistic that is astounding given the high mobility of today’s society. In addition to the above benefits, employees have access to an atrium-like cafeteria serving breakfast and lunch, on-site convenience store, bank, ATM, and dry cleaning service for added convenience. The company has been named a top workplace by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Workplace Dynamics. The company has also received awards for healthiest employers by the Milwaukee Business Journal, as well as Deloitte Distinguished Performer Award in environment and community. CEO Kevin Steiner has also received awards for leadership and charity involvement.