B Steppin' Step Challenge

Each day we take thousands of steps to get where we need to go. Employees at Bouchard Insurance took steps toward a healthier workplace with a step challenge which launched on National Walking Day – April 4, 2018. We had 87 employees participate in a 15-day step challenge, collectively walking 8,861,176 steps! Users tracked their activity through Go365, a wellness program affiliated with Humana.

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We strive to create a culture of health at Bouchard and quarterly step challenges is one of the ways employees get excited about improving their well-being. Employees use a variety of ways to get their steps in at the office. The popular ways are taking walking meetings, using the restroom and/or break room on the opposite side of the building, walking to lunch, participating in an exercise class during lunch, and stretching while on conference calls.


There is always a way to squeeze in the recommended 10,000 steps daily, you just need to find what works best with your schedule and lifestyle.

We challenge you to get heart healthy and fit in 2018!

About the Author

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Taylor Devine is the Talent Coordinator for Bouchard Insurance. Taylor coordinates wellness initiatives within the HR Department. | Connect on LinkedIn

Exciting Partnership with PURE Insurance

Bouchard’s Private Client team recognized PURE Insurance as their Personal Lines Partner of the Year for 2017 during an award ceremony on April 9th at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Vivian Gee, Florida Regional VP, Lori Roa, Sales & Marketing Manager, and four PURE underwriters were presented with the award in recognition of their superior cooperation and contribution to our retention and growth.

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Bouchard’s “Client First” approach aligns perfectly with PURE’s philosophy of providing exceptional products and services to their members.  Our agency has enjoyed a solid partnership with Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE) for several years. Together, we work to make our clients smarter about their risk.

PURE is a member-owned property and casualty insurer designed exclusively for financially successful families and is driven by a purpose of doing what is right for them. Sharing these same values, our goal is to help our members reduce their chances for experiencing a claim. We also make them more resilient so that if a claim does occur, they can recover faster and with greater ease.


In addition, Bouchard holds PURE’s Paragon designation, earned by less than 8% of PURE brokers nationwide. Paragon recipients execute PURE's commitment to create an exceptional service experience and contribute to the growth and underwriting quality of the PURE membership.

Bouchard Insurance is proud to be Paragon agent and thrilled to provide the best service with the best companies for our clients every day. More than just insurance coverage, we offer smart solutions for families who have more to protect.


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Karen Reyes is the Vice President of Private Client at Bouchard Insurance. Karen's team focuses on complete personal portfolios for affluent members including annual reviews and concierge style service. | Connect on LinkedIn

Individual Mandate Update & Potential Impact on Employers

As a recap- the individual mandate went into effect in 2012 when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) first launched, requiring all individuals to carry some form of health insurance, or, pay a penalty fine when filing taxes for the prior year with no coverage. The penalty started at $95 or 1% of household income (greater of the two) and increased each year, leaping to the 2017 penalty of $695 or 2.5% of household income.


Proactive employers prepared for a certain percentage of uninsured employees to join their health plan over the last 5 years as the penalty increased and ensured they budgeted appropriately for the spike in employee enrollment. With the recent announcement of the elimination of the individual mandate for the 2018 tax year and beyond, should employers plan to have that same percentage who joined their health plan drop off? It’s possible. This is something employers should remain aware of, as they could see a decrease in enrollment as a result of this change in the law. So, if fewer employees enroll in the health plan it would likely mean a smaller employer spend. This would be a good thing for employers, right? Wrong.

Those individuals who choose to go uninsured are likely the ones who do not need, or use, the health insurance system, i.e. the healthiest of your employee population. Who will choose to remain covered on your employer sponsored health insurance plan? You guessed it, it’s likely those who are unhealthy who will remain on the plan and incur claims. The change in the Individual mandate could lead to a decrease in employee enrollment, less premium dollars, and increased claims, causing medical loss ratios to sky rocket due to this unbalanced ratio and overall employer premiums to rise. As the Employer Mandate is not going away, the affordability portion of ACA will continue to limit the amount of employee dollars that can be received towards the overall plan premium.

Although you may not anticipate huge fluctuation in enrollment as a result of this change in law, consider shifting to a more consumer driven plan such as a Health Savings Account tied to a High Deductible Health Plan (HSA/HDHP), or a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), if you don’t already have this plan structure in place. This may be a way to shift some responsibility to your employees and allow them the opportunity to be better consumers of the healthcare system. Always good to plan for the future!


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Candace Conforte is a Sales Executive at Bouchard Insurance. Candace specializes in Property & Casualty, Workers’ Compensation, and Health Benefits for large commercial accounts | Connect on LinkedIn

Hope is a Strategy

If you have been in a Board Meeting, a strategic planning session, or any other type of team meeting you have probably heard the overused cliché, “Hope is not a strategy." It is debated, but most people credit the great NFL Coach Vince Lombardi for coining this phrase. I am someone who not only has heard this quite a bit, but I have also repeated this throughout management meetings.  It usually is thrown out when someone says something like, “We hope to get back on track by next month”, or “We hope that our success continues”.  To which someone in the room responds, “Well, hope is not a strategy.  What is your plan to make that happen?”  

Not to sound like a hypocrite, and far be it from me to disagree with a great strategist like Vince Lombardi, but I’m starting to question my stance on hope as a strategy, especially surrounding the culture of wellness in an organization.  It actually began a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to hear Brett Culp speak to a group at The CEO Council of Tampa Bay.  Brett is a documentary filmmaker and his films are centered around what is good in the world.  His latest film, “Look To The Sky” explores the power of hope while encouraging viewers to find the superhero that lives within themselves.  I would highly recommend Brett’s work, which you can find on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.  During his presentation, Brett put on a slide this phrase, “Hope is Magic”.  That really didn’t change my mind, I mean who wants a strategy built on magic?  But, he went on to explain that hope is the bridge between where we are today and what is possible in the future.  By creating that opportunity, hope becomes the magic that allows great things to happen in the future.   This began my change in thought process. 

Sitting at the table next to me was my good friend, Tim Marks, who is the current CEO of Metropolitan Ministries.  If you are not familiar with this organization, this is an independent, faith-based non-profit committed to serving the poor and homeless families in the Tampa Bay area.  Their mantra is “Hope is Here”.  Not only is hope their strategy, it is also their mission!  They are in the business of providing hope, and I have seen first-hand how this has positively impacted their culture as well.  It would be difficult to convince Tim that hope is not a strategy.


All of this made me reflect on the culture in our organization, Bouchard Insurance.  For years I have been saying that at the foundation of our culture is the notion that as a leadership team our responsibility is to create a platform that allows every team member to be the best version of themselves, and then get out of the way and let them do it.  This simple, yet powerful concept has created an organization of people that believe in themselves.  They in turn care for each other, the clients we work with, and the communities we serve. What was my “A-ha” moment is that if hope is a bridge (platform) that creates future possibilities (best version of yourself), then all of these years I have been saying that our responsibility is to create hope for our team members.  Who knew?  Hope IS a strategy! 

Or, at the very least we should have a strategy to create hope for our team, and there is no greater place that this is evident than in creating a culture of wellness within an organization.  Wellness in the corporate world has become such a buzz word and often times is directly linked to health care or physical fitness.  But, organizations that are creating strong cultures based in wellness recognize that it is so much more than this.  A comprehensive approach includes mental wellness, emotional wellness, financial wellness, as well as physical wellness just to name a few.  Ultimately all of these building blocks create a holistic approach to wellbeing.  But, it is also personal because all of us have different wellness needs and goals.  In my opinion so many of the “off the shelf” wellness programs are not effective because they don’t recognize that one size does not fit all. 

Instead, an organization should define why wellness is important to them first because that becomes the litmus test on any future programs, incentives, or initiatives.   As I outlined earlier, our organization has decided that our “why” is because we want our employees to rely on us to be the platform that allows them to be better in the future regardless of where they are today and regardless of how they define “better”.  Wherever that starting point is, and whatever they define as “better”, we want to support that.  We want to create hope for a better future.  With that defined, our programs must meet this requirement to be effective, and in turn the team connects with and improves upon the programs well beyond anything the leadership team could have imagined.  Let me give you a few examples:

  • Our Go365 wellness incentive program created a focus on counting steps, and now many of our teams have walking meetings outside and around the block instead of sitting in a meeting room.  These ideas came from employee engagement, not management.  We just created the Go365 platform and support the idea.
  • We have a group of team members that sign up for 5Ks and other races together.  They are called the B Fit team and proudly wear shirts with our logos on them.  The group has grown exponentially over the past few years.  This was created not by management, but by a group of employees that wanted to do something together.  The agency simply buys them a shirt if the team member commits to the races.
  • Last year the agency partnered with the American Heart Association and Baycare to test pilot a blood pressure initiative called, “Check, Change, Control”.  A completely voluntary program that resulted in not only doubling the participation goal at the beginning of the program, but also recognized and mitigated potential life threatening issues in 15% of our team.  The agency offered the program, and gave employees time during the workday to log their results.  Our team members did the rest and delivered the results.
  • A committee of team members choose where, how, and what we are going to do in giving back to our communities on a quarterly basis.  They are the B Involved team and show up with their t-shirts to prove it.  Engagement is completely voluntary, the agency just supports giving back by offering one paid day off each year for charitable causes.  All of our B Involved events are packed with volunteers.

These are just a few examples of our wellness culture.  No one thing makes up our wellness initiatives, and none of these are mandated by the organization.  But, all of them pass the test of providing a platform to be a better you.  All of these create hope in the areas of fitness, health, life balance and stress management. 

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And so, I have come full circle in saying that Hope IS a strategy, and hope is at the center of our wellness strategy.  By keeping hope within our strategy we are avoiding the hopeless feeling and allowing all of us to continue to focus on better days ahead.  It allows us to build confidence during the good times as well as the challenging times.  It keeps us looking forward and growing.  I challenge you to look at your organization and see if you have mechanisms in place that is creating hope for your team.  If not, it should be the first step in building your culture of wellness.


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Doug Bishop is the CEO of Bouchard Insurance. Doug joined Bouchard in 1997 after graduating from Florida State University with a degree in Risk Management & Insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Paint Your Heart Out

Paint Your Heart Out- Clearwater (PYHOC) is a non-profit organization comprised of local business and community groups partnering with the City of Clearwater to help disadvantaged homeowners to have their home painted. The program relies solely on sponsorship and donations which are utilized for supplies to support event day and reward our volunteers.


PYHOC has benefited approximately 608 low income/disabled homeowners over the course of its 27 years. The homeowners were interviewed and verified as eligible prior to paint day. During the interview process the paint color selection is determined as our commitment is painting only the exterior of the home from 8:00am-12:00pm on paint day. PYHOC provides the paint teams with the paint based on the home square footage along with a supply of rollers, paint brushes, paint trays and a few other items to assist with the project.

The Mayor visits each home on paint day to thank the volunteers. Clearwater Fire Department visits each home and installs new smoke alarms, and Papa John's provides a gift bag for a personal pizza for each homeowner.

This is an annual event which we successfully completed this past Saturday March 24th, with 12 homes painted by 12 teams of approximately 15-22 volunteers per team. Immediately after painting, all volunteers attend a come as your after party for lunch at the park behind City Hall. An assortment of donated gifts are raffled to the volunteers for their participation.


This is my 2nd term as PYHOC-Board President and I've been a member of the organization since 2006. Bouchard Insurance has been a sponsor since 2008 and provides a monetary sponsorship, a donation of raffle items for the after party, and a paint team of volunteers. In appreciation of Bouchard Insurance's 10 years of continued sponsorship, we were recognized and given an award at this year's annual event.


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Samantha Almaraz is an Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance in the commercial insurance department. Samantha works on a team that specializes in commercial residential properties. | Connect on LinkedIn