Insurance Firm Keeps Its Focus On Customers, Community
By Maria Kanai
Island Insurance has a slogan that employees live by: “Always here to help.” According to CEO and president John Schapperle, the words are not just about how the company treats customers, but also about how employees treat one another and help each other as family.
“I love what I do, (I’ve been) doing it for a long time,” said Schapperle, who has been at Island Insurance for 14 years. “What’s neat about this company is that you can get to know everybody and there’s a feeling that it’s like a family. It’s more than just another job. We all know each other and people are very open and welcoming.”
This ohana-focused environment is a key factor to Island Insurance’s success. The company, founded by Masayuki Tokioka, has been serving Hawaii for more than 75 years, and continues to win awards for having a positive workplace.
“You’ve probably heard the saying that if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking,” shared Schapperle. “For us, we make sure that our employees are growing, whether in knowledge or in their talents, and we do that through offering education courses and training. We want to meet current and future customer needs by training our employees and encouraging them to learn new things.”
When hiring, Schapperle looks for employees who are creative and engaged. “I want people who are able to think out of the box and aren’t afraid of expressing themselves,” he explained. “We’re looking for people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes — as long as they don’t keep making them and are learning.”
The company further offers an internship program that Schapperle is especially proud of. The program grants young college students the opportunity to learn what it’s like to work in insurance through a paid, part-time internship at Island Insurance. “The interns can work side by side next to people in our company and it’s set up as a training program so that, ideally, an intern will be fully trained and capable by the time they graduate and want to join us,” he mentioned. “In their senior year, we can also give financial assistance via scholarships.” It’s really a win-win situation said Schapperle. Not only does the company gain new employees, but the enthusiasm and energy of these young hires are an encouragement to the long-timers.
Building a successful workplace is an important factor to the folks at Island Insurance because it reflects into care of the company’s customers. It’s taken hard work and perseverance to get to where the insurance firm is today as Hawaii’s largest locally owned and managed, property and casualty insurance company. Island Insurance received recognition as one of the top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation for 10 consecutive years.
“What’s truly kept us going is focusing on local,” shared Schapperle. “We focus not only on our customers, but also on our community.”
Within the company, there is an Island Employee Club of 13 volunteers representing various departments within the company. The club focuses on raising funds for nonprofit organizations, and anybody within the company can pitch in. In the past, the club members have held a bake sale for Aloha United Way, a food drive for Hawaii FoodBank, as well as partnered with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
Another fun and meaningful annual initiative includes a Halloween party at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, where employees wear costumes and visit kids at the hospital, bearing candied treats.
From customers to job seekers and across the community, Island Insurance continues to build on its more than 75 years of helping Hawaii residents with exceptional and reliable service.
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LAWRENCE TABUDLO PHOTO
COMPANY: Island Insurance
LOCATION: 1022 Bethel St., Honolulu
OWNER: Island Holdings Inc.
BENEFITS: Medical, dental, drug and vision coverage, paid vacation, floating holidays, sick leave, profit-sharing programs, 401(k), flex spending accounts, employee insurance discounts and more
NOTEWORTHY: At Island Insurance, a local property and casualty insurance company, employees are given financial incentives to enhance their skills through attending workshops, classes and training sessions.