Updated April 21 at 2:21pm

Slim and strong an appealing option

By Susan Shalhoub
Contributing Writer
When employees at the state’s largest independent insurance agency, Starkweather & Shelpley Insurance Brokerage Inc., wanted to slim down, they brought management on board. Discounted gym memberships and on-site Weight Watchers meetings soon followed. That was about 10 years ago. More

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BEST PLACES TO WORK

Slim and strong an appealing option

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When employees at the state’s largest independent insurance agency, Starkweather & Shelpley Insurance Brokerage Inc., wanted to slim down, they brought management on board. Discounted gym memberships and on-site Weight Watchers meetings soon followed. That was about 10 years ago.

“Management quickly responded with assistance, both financially and by providing a meeting place,” said Steven E. Deware, senior vice president. “Our main office is located near HealthTrax in East Providence and several employees suggested that it might be beneficial to offer a discount to the gym.”

Perks may not be much of a surprise from a full-service firm that also helps its clients manage employee benefits “so that our clients can continue to attract and retain their most valuable assets,” Deware wrote on the Best Places to Work survey.

Starkweather & Shepley is governed by a unique trust arrangement: Stock is administered – but can’t be sold – by trustees. This ensures the ownership stays local, without threat of hostile takeover, and that the agency is managed for employees’ benefit.

Employees are also urged to go for professional designations. The company not only picks up the tab for courses and materials, but offers bonuses of up to $1,000 upon completion. There is also an annual bonus program for all employees.

The company makes time not only for professional development and exercise, but also for fun. A summer outing, holiday party, half-day Fridays in the summer and free or discounted tickets to local events round out the package.

But employees still work on being healthy. “The Weight Watchers program continues to attract more participants,” Deware said. •

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