Alper Names New Chairman

After 52 years as Chairman for the Chicago-based insurance brokerage he founded, Howard Alper today announced he will step down as Chairman of Alper Services effective immediately. In his place, he and Alper’s Board of Directors have appointed Liz Levy-Navarro as Chairman. Howard will continue to serve as a Member of Alper Services’ Board.

“It is a great honor to assume the role of Chairman from Howard, who built a firm which delivers big-brokerage resources with boutique-agency service,” remarked Levy-Navarro. “As an independent insurance agency, Alper has the unique ability to chart our own course to best serve our clients. I look forward to working with the Board and executive team to ensure we keep a pulse on changing client needs and shifting market dynamics and continue to deliver the differentiated service that has made Alper such a long-standing, trusted partner for each of our clients.”

A member of Alper Services Board of Directors since 2017, Ms. Levy-Navarro is CEO and Managing Partner of Orrington Strategies, a management consulting firm dedicated to helping Fortune 500 clients achieve meaningful, profitable growth. She has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and has held executive and management consulting positions with A.T. Kearney, Capgemini and The Cambridge Group.

“Since founding Alper Services in 1966, my main objective has been to ensure the firm remains independently owned and operated so we may focus 100% of our attention on serving our clients,” explained Howard. “I am certain that with Liz Levy-Navarro as Chairman, and David Macknin continuing as CEO, the agency will continue to evolve and provide the best-possible service to our clients, instead of servicing a corporate owner.”

One of the largest remaining independent insurance brokerages in the U.S., and ranked a “Best Practices” firm by the Independent Insurance Agents of America for the third consecutive year, Alper builds multi-faceted risk management programs for a wide range of mid-market firms—a large portion of which are based in the Midwest.

Client Spotlight: Rapid Displays

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alper Services Offers More Than Your Typical Insurance Coverages When Helping Clients Plan For Now Through When.

If you have gone shopping for food and beverages, cosmetics, electronics or anything else where a product sits on a shelf, chances are you have seen the work of Rapid Displays. The company is in the business of creating point-of-purchase displays to showcase products and entice you to buy. Its engineers, designers and marketers are in the business of knowing what matters to a product’s customers, and how to help brands deliver what a customer wants and needs most.

Rapid Displays is in the business of knowing what matters to its clients and delivering what they need. With its Midwestern/Eastern headquarters located in Chicago’s Archer Heights neighborhood, Rapid Displays has been working with Alper Services for 20 years now. According to Chief Financial Officer Brian Greenburg, the ability for Alper Services to go deep into its business makes the Alper team a valuable partner.

“I came into this company as the CFO 16 years ago and was tasked with reviewing the Alper relationship and the program they had us engaged with. I was a bit perplexed having never been introduced to captive insurance plans before,” Greenburg recently explained. A captive insurance program’s primary objective is to insure the risks of its owners, and its insureds benefit from the captive insurer’s underwriting profits. Continue reading

Serving Others This Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the tenth year we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with Chubb by preparing 52 Thanksgiving dinner boxes to donate to families in need. Weinstein Meats generously donates the turkeys, and Chub brings the traditional Thanksgiving sides. The boxes are picked up by two of our non-profit Clients, New Star and Sertoma Center, who will distribute to families whom they service.

We’re spreading the holiday love further by partnering again with Weinstein Meats to help them play Santa to the Austin neighborhood through their annual toy drive. Our donation will help put smiles on the faces of children at Leland Elementary School.

Alper Serves Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Alper Serves line-up of volunteer events has filled up our autumn calendar! Alper Serves are half day, Alper-sponsored volunteer projects that we invite our Team to partake in each year. We kicked things off with the Austin Special Chicago Tootsie Roll Drive on Friday, September 21st. Several teams of Alper volutneers took to the Mag Mile and the Loop to collect donations with the Knights of Columbus in exchange for tootsie rolls. The rain held out, and we were able to collect over $500 for the great work that Austin Special Chicago does to meet the needs of individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities in our community. Continue reading

Resiliency Is The New Sustainability

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firms that continually assess risk and adjust strategy will better weather impacts of climate change

The weather extremes that battered the planet in the Summer of 2018 – from the searing heat across Japan and Europe, to the fires in California, Portugal, Greece, to the Arctic Circle, and the historic flooding in Hawaii and India, are very real examples of a rapidly warming, increasingly energized atmosphere. In fact, as the Earth warms, the amount of rain or snow falling in the heaviest one percent of storms has risen nearly 20 percent on average in the United States—almost three times the rate of increase in total precipitation between 1958 and 2007. And here in Chicago, according to the National Climate Assessment Report, the number of very heavy precipitation events since 1991 is 30% above the 1901-1960 average.

While companies have always navigated a changing business environment, they now face a changing natural environment that will impact facilities and operations, supply and distribution chains, electricity and water, communities where they are based, and their employees and customers.

In The Economist’s 2016 Global Resource Challenges Report, 66% of executives surveyed said climate change had already contributed to resource challenges – namely in the area of water scarcity. The report lauded Nestle for its implementation of a system to recover water vapor generated from milk processing at its plant in Mexico to reduce the facility’s overall water-use footprint and ensure ground water supplies weren’t over-drawn. In the same report, however, only 11% of executives said they had altered their resource management procedures, which suggests that those businesses that think ahead will gain a significant edge over their competitors.

The key to gaining this competitive edge will come from moving beyond sustainability alone to a holistic approach to climate resiliency. Climate resiliency is the capacity of a business to maintain function in the face of stresses imposed by climate change. It means continually evolving to withstand future climate impacts all the while taking advantage of new market opportunities tied to a changing climate.

Because it is difficult to know exactly how dramatic the effects of climate change will be, it is hard to know just how it will affect your business. So, what can you do to prepare your business to weather, and even prosper, in a more volatile climate? Here are some tips:

Recruit and hire people with skills to help your business become more resilient.

For example, when interviewing supply chain professionals, ask what experience they have in setting up emergency/alternate supply sources in the event a natural disaster takes out a key supplier. Or, ask building manager candidates to explain their philosophy for disaster preparedness. According to sustainability author Andrew Winston, “Everyone is going to need to understand climate change the same way you’d assume everyone in business needs to have some fluency in social media today.”

Partner with businesses that provide similar products/services on whom you can rely should you experience climate-related shutdowns of your operation.

For example, a Florida-coastal manufacturer might enter into a manufacturing agreement with a Midwestern-based company with similar capabilities to provide back-up supplies in the event a hurricane shuts down their coastal operation. The upside of these sorts of arrangements is you may also market them as extra capacity during times of peak demand, in addition to buffers against disruptive climate events.

Research and quantify climate change impacts and create strategies to mitigate risk.

A useful tool to help guide this process is the guidelines published by the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Formed in 2015 by the G20, and chaired by Michael Bloomberg, the TCFD’s recommendations are designed to help companies disclose decision-useful information which will enable financial markets to better understand climate-related financial risks and opportunities.  At the same time, the process can help lead companies to adjust their strategies and processes to be more sustainable and resilient.

For example, as a result of its own assessment using the TCFD guidelines, Bloomberg increased the number of disaster recovery sites, enhanced network functionality to enable employees to work remotely, created full redundancy across data centers and moved out of a waterfront data center in New York City. The company also took proactive risk-mitigation measures including resource utilization reduction and renewable energy procurement.

With an eye toward “when,” instead of “if,” and a cross-functional dedication to climate resiliency across your entire operation, you will be better positioned to weather climate changes than your less-prepared competition.

4 Tips To Protect Your Holiday Jewelry Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many holiday shoppers, jewelry is the go-to gift. But if you’re like many and wait until the last minute, you’ll want to make sure you’re not skipping key steps in choosing and protecting that important purchase.

  1. Ask the right questions. Before committing to a big-ticket jewelry purchase, do your due diligence. Get a certificate of authenticity, especially if buying online. And, make sure you can return it, in case your gift wasn’t exactly what he or she had in mind.
  2. Don’t show off. Many jewelry designers have well-known brands, that are easily recognizable by their packaging. To reduce the likelihood that you’ll be the target of theft, put your jewelry purchase in another, less conspicuous bag before you leave the store.
  3. Find a safe storage place. Store your jewelry in an off-site safety deposit box or permanently mounted combination lock safe when it’s not being worn. That way you’ll know where it is and it’ll be protected in the event of a burglary.
  4. Verify your insurance coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance may not fully cover an expensive jewelry purchase. To provide peace of mind, consider purchasing a valuable articles policy that provides all-risk protection as well as automatic coverage for newly acquired pieces.

For questions about your current valuable articles coverage, please contact Mike Jones, Alper’s Director of Personal Lines, at MJones@AlperServices.com.

 

Content provided by Chubb.

Best Practices Win Three-Peat

The term “three-peat” brings to mind vivid memories of Bulls championships for most Chicagoans. That’s why our most recent honor of being voted a Best Practices agency by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America for the third year in a row has us grinning from ear to ear. Just as Michael Jordan relied on his teammates, we acknowledge that this win is thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the entire Alper Team.

The annual survey and Best Practices Study of leading independent insurance agencies documents the business practices of the “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices. The study provides performance benchmarks in six categories including income and expense distribution, revenue growth and profitability, staffing and productivity, producer performance and carrier representation.

Thank you to our Team of Insurance Architects who prove that we all deserve the title of MVP!

 

Client Spotlight: The Second City

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a fire ripped through the landmark building, the Alper Team sprang to action

Originating in a small cabaret theater in 1959, The Second City spawned a comedy and entertainment revolution that—to this day—has created an ongoing list of superstars. Alan Arkin, Tina Fey, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Stephen Colbert and a host of other entertainment and comedy legends got their start in the building situated in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. The neighborhood is nestled in an area of multi-million dollar residences, but the history, the laughter and the performances that originated there are priceless.

In August 2015, those laughs were temporarily silenced after a fire in an adjacent restaurant ravaged The Second City building. The property—including its offices—was severely damaged from smoke, fire and water. Once the smoke cleared, The Second City property had several million dollars of damage and remediation work that needed to be addressed. Continue reading

Alper Featured In Top Insurance Workplaces Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading insurance publication Insurance Business America released their inaugural list of the Top Insurance Workplaces in America. “A Top Workplace can encompass many things—great benefits, great resources, great management—but to uncover the roots of what truly makes an organization a good place to work, one must look at its foundations: Its People” says IBA.

“Insurance firms both large and small, from all areas of the industry (carriers, agencies, third party vendors) were invited to participate…and only 51 earned the title of Top Insurance Workplace.” Alper Services is one of them and this award is because of our Team of People!

To earn the award, firms were evaluated—by their employees—on the following four attributes:
Culture: Flexible work options, family-friendly programs, employee recognition, paid time off for community services
Diversity: Gender balance, recruiting/retaining younger workers, retaining older workers, recruiting/retaining minority workers
Compensation: Employee benefits programs, bonus/incentive plans, retirement savings plan, competitive pay
Employee Development: Full reimbursement for continuing education, performance reviews, mentorship/leadership development programs, wellness programs/incentives

We are proud to be recognized as a Top Insurance Workplace by IBA and the votes of our Team, and know we must continue to do what we can to see our People succeed. With that mission driving us, we look forward to seeing our name on the list in 2019!