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Member Spotlight: SECURA Harnesses the Power of Creativity and Leadership to Enhance Wellness

SECURA Insurance Companies

SECURA Insurance is based in Wisconsin and operates in 13 states. Since 1900, the company has been known for its genuine people and exceptional service. SECURA operates as a property-casualty insurance company, providing flexible, customized options for businesses, homes, automotives, farms, agribusinesses, and nonprofits.

“Wellness has been a part of our story for a very long time,” said Samantha Appleton, Nutrition and Wellbeing Representative for SECURA. “It’s a core part of our culture, and everyone is very much aware that we are a wellness-driven organization.”

The commitment to wellness stems from the company’s CEO, who is consistently visible and talks to employees about bringing wellness into their lives. The entire executive team delivers a unified message to staff, encouraging them to take stress breaks and prioritize their own well-being and not to be “chained to their desks.”

“They absolutely practice what they preach,” Appleton said.

A great example of how deep wellness runs at SECURA is the company’s new corporate headquarters. It was built from the ground up to incorporate all aspects of wellness, including access to clean water, healthy lighting, and convenient support via an onsite health and wellness clinic. The building is set on 200 acres, complete with walking trails and endless greenery. There is so much available space on the grounds that SECURA has offered plots of land to associates who want to grow their own garden at work.

“We have approximately 100 available plots, and 75 are operational right now,” Appleton said. “Associates can claim their plot, plant their crop, tend their garden, and bring their veggies home. They absolutely love it.”

The nature of SECURA’s work means it only has to support the day shift. Another plus when it comes to wellness is that a large concentration of its associates work at headquarters. Still, SECURA has a sizeable remote workforce, and this slice of the population is always top of mind for Appleton.

“One of the things we prioritize and have to work through, is how we ensure all our remote associates receive the same experiences and opportunities as our home office staff,” she said.

One way SECURA accomplishes this is to make sure remote associates have access to doctors and clinics for their health risk assessments and other routine needs. The company also produces a lot of virtual options, such as webinars and recorded meetings.

Addressing a Universal Challenge

Despite having some distinct advantages, which include a wellness-centered work environment and complete support from senior leadership, SECURA still wrestles with the universal challenge facing all wellness programs: driving engagement.

“Yes, we struggle with engagement, just like everyone,” Appleton said. “People are busy. They are juggling, trying to find work and life balance, trying to figure out where wellness fits in. We are always looking for new ways to reach those who aren’t participating, as well as those who used to participate but stopped.”

Over the past year, there has been one development Appleton credits with fueling increases in engagement across the board.

“Surprisingly, Covid has positively impacted engagement for us,” Appleton said. “With everyone working remotely, we had to deliver wellness to the home. We effectively translated our program for full virtual delivery, and in the end, it made things easier for our associates. They could do it on their own time, and at their own pace. We are continuing to deliver more programming virtually because of the uptick in engagement we saw during the pandemic. The flexibility that provides really resonated with our people. We can’t go back to how we delivered our program before. This is the new wellness!”

What They Really Want

“We are very mindful of feedback,” Appleton said. “As part of the health risk assessment, we examine the wants and needs of our population. We also send out regular benefit surveys to gauge how our associates are feeling about things, what changes they’d like to see, etc.”

She continued.

“We spend time getting to know people and what they really want. Wellness doesn’t look the same for everyone. What works for one person doesn’t for the next. And it won’t always be a priority right now, so you have to be available and be ready when they are ready.”

When associates expressed the need for increased mental health support, SECURA listened. And responded.

“Our associates expressed a need for more mental health support, and when we offered it, they engaged with the resources,” Appleton said. “We highlighted our EAP a lot. We emphasized key practices such as giving gratitude. We sponsored several health talks on stress and mental health, including tips for supporting children during Covid and webinars on happiness. We even brought in an internationally-renowned speaker to conduct a safety training with our leadership team, focused on how to help individuals who are struggling with mental health issues and contemplating suicide.”

A Different Way to Measure Success

Measuring the success of wellness at SECURA is not a matter of dollars and cents.

“We are pretty unique in that we are not at all interested in ROI,” Appleton said. “Our executives know that wellness works. They believe in the benefits.”

So, if not ROI, then how does SECURA evaluate the effectiveness of its wellness efforts?

“Being recognized as a great place to work, attaining a Platinum award from WELCOA, earning a Gold award as a Well Building, these are things we take pride in and point to as evidence that we are doing all we can to help our associates bring wellness to their lives,” Appleton said.

When Leaders Lead

It should not come as a shock that Appleton rates WELCOA Benchmark #1: Committed and Aligned Leadership as the company’s greatest strength when it comes to wellness. It’s hard to argue based on the relentless executive support the wellness program has from its executives.

“They let us try new things and innovate,” Appleton said. “I feel like we are very fortunate in that we don’t have to stick to a rigid budget. We invest in wellness, because it works and because it’s just what we do.”

A recent example of leadership allowing Appleton to push the envelope is a planned expansion of their screenings. The wellness team is planning to make additional screenings available for health concerns such as stroke and heart attack. The company will pay a portion of each screening, whether the associate is on the company’s health plan or not. The same offer will be open to spouses as well. Appleton and the team also plan to offer bone density screenings at no charge via their onsite health clinic.

“We thought these changes would be interesting, so we decided to see if leadership would go for it,” Appleton said. “And they did.”

Maximizing Membership

According to Appleton, SECURA relies heavily on WELCOA membership to tap into insights, tools, and support. She specifically values the learning opportunities available to members, particularly virtual options.

“The webinars are the most awesome part for WELCOA members,” Appleton said. “Since they are virtual, it’s easy to attend, and they are always informative. I also just discovered WELCOA Institute and have found that to be extremely useful as well. In fact, I’m extremely excited to use it more and have it bookmarked to do just that.”

The work being done at SECURA is creative and inspirational. The steps toward a more modern model for wellness are exactly what WELCOA encourages all wellness professionals to place a greater focus on. Our world is changing, and so should we.