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Schaumburg, Ill. (Nov. 3, 2015) – The insurance industry in the eyes of most people is not very cool. And by most, that means a good 99 percent of the population. The industry is often perceived as transactional and brokers are compared to Ned Ryerson from Goundhog Day. Ten years ago though one CMO decided to change all that and make marketing, branding and culture a business strategy to drive organic growth. That CMO is Steven Handmaker of Assurance.

Steven was recently selected as one of The CMO Club’s 2015 Leadership Award Winners. He was honored in the category of leadership and the ability to build and motivate a high-performing organization. 

The award recognizes Steven’s ability to employ creative tactics, including yearly corporate themes like “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” and “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!,” to drive performance and a shared vision. Working hand-in-hand with his fellow executive team members, Steven also helped integrate internal communication initiatives, along with benefits and perks that would attract top talent. The thought was that happy employees equal happy clients and a happy bottom line. The result…

  • 14 percent average organic growth rate the last 10 years
  • 75 awards for client service and being a Best Place to Work
  • #1 Top Workplace rankings from The Chicago Tribune and Business Insurance
  • 400 hard-working, fun-loving professionals 
  • Three centralized offices and a fourth one opening in Washington D.C. in 2017
  • $1 billion in premium reached
  • 25 spot improvement on the Top 100 list 

It didn’t stop there. To continue motivating a high-performing and rapidly growing employee-base, Steven helped shift the corporate focus. While culture was and still is a large differentiator for Assurance, he helped pioneer the new tagline of Minimizing risk. Maximizing health.® – to show businesses the importance of combining business insurance and employee benefits strategies to keep risk low and the health and well-being of a workforce high. External marketing efforts followed suit and thus the CMO Club Leadership Award.

Established to celebrate the marketing industry’s brightest leaders and provide a forum to share their successes with other CMOs, the 2015 CMO Awards is the only CMO Awards program driven, voted on, and decided entirely by an elite group of “peers only.” An awards panel made up of CMO Club chapter presidents and key CMO Club members determined the four winners per category.

“Steven’s vision and creativity is engrained in our culture,” said Tony Chimino, CEO of Assurance. “He goes above and beyond his role as CMO and serves as an outstanding leader and motivator for our employees.”

Steven will be honored at the 2015 CMO Awards dinner in New York City, Tuesday, November 17, at The Dream Downtown Hotel. 

For more information on the awards program and category winners, go to: www.thecmoawards.com. You can also read his executive insights on the Assurance Blog.

About The CMO Club

The CMO Club is a membership organization exclusively for senior marketing executives who want to meet, share and learn from each other. Fueled by inspiring local dinners, regional events, CMO Innovation Summits, virtual Roundtables and the Digital “Members-Only” Clubhouse, marketers provide and receive valuable insights from each other, in a “non-vendor-selling” environment. Working with the over 800 club members and best-in-class strategic partners, The CMO Club also addresses the top CMO challenges each month with thoughtfully curated content. Visit The CMO Club at www.thecmoclub.com 

About Assurance

Assurance is among the largest and most awarded independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. A “Top 50” broker and repeated national “Best Place to Work” winner, Assurance creates value by minimizing risk and maximizing health for 6,000 businesses and individuals across the country. The company is headquartered in Schaumburg, IL with centralized office locations in Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO. Visit Assurance at assuranceagency.com.