Babe Ruth Would Have Tipped His Hat to the Hanover Museum
Friday, May 31, 2013
The Great Bambino, it turns out, was insured by Hanover. The future Baseball Hall of Famer even penned a glowing testimonial, on display in the museum, about the excellent auto-claims service that Hanover delivered to him. “I thank you for the quick action and efficient manner in which you handled matters,” he wrote.
It’s a safe bet The Babe didn’t provide a similar statement about the Red Sox, which ingloriously gifted him to the Yankees on the day after Christmas 1919.
To say that The Hanover Insurance Group is a Ruthian-like pillar of the Greater Worcester economy, is a huge understatement. After all, the publicly traded Hanover generates nearly $5 billion in annual revenues with 5,000 employees worldwide - 2,000 of them in Worcester, making it one of Greater Worcester's largest employers and job producers.
To also mention that Hanover’s massive Lincoln Street headquarters now houses the Hanover Museum, is an equally big surprise. Yet there it sits in all its historical glory - a series of museum-quality exhibits that chronicle the company’s 160 years of events and accomplishments.
National firm with global reach
These days, many U.S. major insurers struggle to keep their financial heads above water. Hanover, though, claims to be “better positioned to succeed than at any time in its 160-year history.”
One key indicator of growth in the P&C sector is “net written premiums.” From 2008, when the Great Recession was in full force, through 2012, the growth of the P&C industry as a whole rose from just below 0 percent in ’08 to just about the cipher mark in ’12, according to Hanover-supplied data. Over that same period, though, Hanover’s annual growth rose from about 5 percent to more than 20 percent.
It’s one of the reasons that Hanover Insurance Group ranks No. 23 in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ latest Top 25 ranking of P&Cs by amount of direct premiums written, with $3.8 billion, for a 0.77 percent U.S. market share. The No. 1 P&C: State Farm Group, with $53.7 billion, for a 10.28 percent share.
As a national firm with global reach, Hanover Insurance Group is the holding company for a group of insurers that includes The Hanover Insurance Company, also based in Worcester. The other holdings are Citizens Insurance Company of America, headquartered in Howell, Michigan, Chaucer Holdings PLC, based in London, and their various affiliates.
Hanover Insurance Group offers a wide range of property-and-casualty products and services to businesses, individuals and families through a select group of independent agents across the U.S. In addition to being ranked among the top 25 P&C insurers in the country, Hanover maintains excellent ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor's and Moody's.
Being a member of the community
Following are edited highlights of an interview with Jim Griesing, vice president of marketing for Hanover Insurance Group.
Hanover continues to stay headquartered in Worcester and to expand in Worcester. Why?
This is where our roots are. We think the area gives us a diversity of employment – a lot of good talent in the area, of course – plus Worcester’s a beautiful city to be in. …
How closely does Hanover work with the public and private school systems locally to make sure you continue to get that skilled workforce?
We work quite closely on a number of fronts. We do a number of community efforts with the schools. We also partner with local colleges, where we have programs for internships … .We also do high school reading [programs] and other programs of that nature as well.
Why does a publicly traded company do that – especially one that’s all over the country?
We really believe that the community matters. It’s not just having a building here, it’s really being part of the community. So part of our obligation, we believe, is to give back to the community and to make the community richer. That’s part of the quid pro quo of being a member of the community.
In recent years, Hanover has been encouraging its employees who don’t live in the Worcester to move into the city, which reduces their commute time and therefore, reduces their negative stress and increases their productivity.
That’s not a mandate, but we certainly love people living close by, in the area. Again, we think it gives to the community. But it’s also a [matter of ensuring a] good quality of life [for our employees] … and spending less time on the roads and less gas and energy is all good.
Is Worcester becoming increasingly more of a healthy, sustainable community for people to live in and raise their families in?
We certainly believe that. The community has always been strong and it’s just getting stronger. In terms of a vibrant place, there are wonderful community activities with respect to the arts or sports or education. So there’s just a lot going on in Worcester and part of what we do it to make sure our employees understand how to take full advantage of that.
Is there anything you’d like to see the Lincoln Street neighborhood in which Hanover is located get better at, to make it a more livable community?
In the immediate neighborhood, one of the things we did last year was with the invasion of the Asian [long-horned beetle]. We donated 160 trees in response to our [160th] anniversary as part of the Worcester Tree Initiative. …
Just to expand upon that, we’re also pretty big in “green.” For example, 100 percent of the energy [used by Hanover’s Worcester campus] is green energy … . And so we’re very focused on sustainability and protecting the environment as well.
Will Hanover seek to get its Worcester campus LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council?
Yes. … We just have to now go ahead and request that we get certified. … We’ve done tremendous efforts – it’s not a gimmick … . And it’s important to our employees that we do the right thing on multiple fronts. …
And, of course, it’s good for the bottom line that you don’t have a lot of energy costs going up the smokestack or out the window.
It’s good on all fronts, absolutely. …
The Ford Rouge Factory in Michigan has a 454,000-square-feet “living” roof, the largest in the world, that effectively turns it into a 10.4-acre garden. Is Hanover looking to do anything like that?
[Laughs] We were talking about it, but not yet [looking to do it]. One of the things we just started this year is a “green” [effort] around the pond area on campus here, where there’s a lot of Canadian geese. To control the damage that they do - and not spraying or [creating] loud noises - we’re actually engaged with a firm that brings in border collies, who chase the geese around. We’ve lowered the pollution and damage that they cause in a very safe and humane type of way.