The Plymouth Rock Commitment: Service and Citizenship
Who are we? If you ask us to describe our company’s goals in a just few words, we might say that we are all about good service and good citizenship.
Plymouth Rock was established nearly four decades ago to offer its customers a higher level of service and a more innovative set of products and features than they had come to expect from insurance companies. It is no accident that ever since then top-quality service to our customers, our agents, our employees, and our communities has been our hallmark.
We attribute much of our success over the years to this stalwart commitment. Our companies now write and manage more than $2 billion in auto and home insurance premiums across Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania. The insurance industry’s premier independent rating service, A.M. Best, has given our group a financial rating of Excellent.
But service is more than just numbers and rankings to us – it is part of the enduring culture of our organization, and something we reinforce on all possible occasions. And our long-held commitment to provide high-quality service extends not only to our customers, but to the communities around us that give us context. We want our agents to feel good about their partnership with Plymouth Rock. We want our employees to feel a strong sense of pride in our values, our collegiality, and our dedication to excellence and innovation. And we want our customers to know how deeply appreciative we are for their having chosen us. Just as important, we want the general public, press, and responsible public officials to see our company as an exemplary corporate citizen.
But what does it mean to us to be this kind of company? It means our having an enduring commitment to:
- Our People. Creating a friendly, stable, happy and diverse environment for our employees, as evidenced by our winning Top Places to Work awards in both of the two states where we have the most employees;
- Our Community. Giving back to those most in need through our foundation, both through direct grants and our generous employee matching donation program; and
- Our Footprint. Devotion to environmental sustainability in our role as owners and long-term stewards of three visible and prominent office buildings.
Investing in Our People
We believe that our reputation for excellence in customer service is what attracts and keeps good business in the long run. And it is the friendliness and dedication of Plymouth Rock’s employees that makes this achievable. Our track record of attracting and retaining employees gives proof that we work hard to provide a welcoming corporate culture and a rewarding working environment. But rather than relying on our words, let’s look to the feedback of our employees that earned us two prominent Best Place to Work awards in our largest states.
In the past five years, we’ve been recognized as one of the “Top Places to Work” in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe, and we were voted the Top Place to Work among large companies in New Jersey by NJ.com and Jersey’s Best. These awards were based on anonymous employee surveys about company culture, management, work, pay, benefits and engagement. One employee, responding to the survey, wrote that "we still have that feeling of camaraderie and feel connected ... and we continue to grow and learn as a team."
In addition to highly competitive salaries and benefits, we have always provided stability to our employees. There was no layoff at Plymouth Rock during the pandemic. Our wages are strong by industry standards and not just for the senior staff. Our minimum wage of $17 per hour exceeds the legal requirements in all six states of our footprint (where legal minimums range from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour). We remain committed to revisiting our wage plans on an annual basis to ensure that we continue to invest in our employee base.
We have also designed strong and comprehensive benefits programs for our employees. We are particularly proud of our unique 401(k) bonus plan, which is one of the most generous in the country. We contribute annually an amount equal to 7.5% of our typical employees’ base salary to their 401(k) plan. This is in contrast to the vast majority of companies that make matching contributions only when employees voluntarily contribute something out of regular salaries. And the magnitude of our contribution greatly exceeds the average U.S. company matching contribution.
Plymouth Rock’s company 401(k) bonus, normally 7.5% of base salary, exceeds the average company contribution average by almost 60%.
Our health plan offerings are similarly more generous than those typically offered. Employee contributions, deductibles, and co-pays for our employees are lower than in most other companies. And we offer more choices – for example, we offer multiple options for medical, dental and vision plans, while many other companies only have one plan or provider for each type of plan.
In addition, we were early adopters of several innovative employee benefit programs, including the Cancer Support Services Program, where we are one of only a handful of companies to provide cancer support services to employees and their family members, including a support line staffed by oncology nurses, the Diabetes Support Program, where we aid employees in managing the disease, and provide access to free medications and supplies, and the Virgin Pulse Wellness Program, which has been so successful that almost 80% of our employees have enrolled in the program and can receive cash awards based on participation in healthy activities.
We also understand that employees have various demands on their time outside of work, so we provide employees flexibility to adjust their workday by either coming in earlier or staying later, and also to use our gym facilities during office hours.
Diversity and inclusion are also important to us. We look eagerly for talent in every part of the community. The insurance industry has lagged in the hiring of women. Unlike the industry as a whole, more than half of Plymouth Rock’s employees (including four of our most senior officers) are women. Our BIPOC hiring has steadily increased over the years, and we think it is important for our industry to provide the requisite mentorship and training to encourage more people in underserved communities to join the insurance professional sector. We have partnered over the years with Bunker Hill Community College, the Steppingstone Scholars, and the Posse Foundation to help provide that mentorship and training and grow the pipeline of diverse industry professionals.
Serving Our Community
Service to our community takes many forms. Perhaps most important is our role as creator of meaningful, well-paid jobs. Plymouth Rock has been one of the most successful job-creating companies, and the only insurance company, founded and headquartered in Boston in the last 40 years.
Plymouth Rock has also been a leader in philanthropic endeavors, including direct grants from the Plymouth Rock Assurance Foundation, our unusual employee matching gifts program, and the hours our employees have spent in hands-on community service.
Since our Foundation was created in 1996, it has donated millions of dollars to non-profit organizations engaged in a broad range of important charitable activities. The Foundation’s emphasis and area of principal focus is help for those least fortunate in our communities. A major part of our giving is our best-in-class matching gifts program. For many employees, this is a treasured benefit that symbolizes the Plymouth Rock culture. The matching program currently provides a 2:1 match for qualified charitable gifts made by any Plymouth Rock employee to a 501(c)(3) registered organization. For example, if an employee gives $500, we add an extra $1,000. Since 1996, the Foundation has provided millions of dollars in matching funds to organizations designated by individual employees.
Plymouth Rock, which gives a 2:1 match, is one of few companies that do so. Less than 1 in 20 companies offer to match employee donations at a rate greater than 1:1.
We donate a percentage of our net income to the Foundation every year. What is not given away in our matching program is donated through direct Foundation grants and sponsorships. Throughout the year, our Foundation invites eligible non-profits serving those most disadvantaged in society to apply for grants. We have a particular focus on education, youth programs, health care, environmental causes, and workplace development.
Since 2020, the Foundation has awarded over $2 million in grants to organizations in Massachusetts and New Jersey that are supporting underserved youth and communities in need. Examples of organizations to which our Foundation has provided direct grants in recent years include YouthHarbors, Boston Medical Center, Boston Community Pediatrics, Collier Youth Services of New Jersey, The Pine Street Inn, The Emmanuel Cancer Foundation, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Programs serving Massachusetts and New Jersey, Bridge Boston Charter School, Girls Inc. of Lynn and Boston, Girls on the Run Greater Boston, Silver Lining Mentoring, Community Servings, Compass Working Capital, St. Stephen’s Youth Programs, The Steppingstone Foundation, Thompson Island Outward Bound, EdVestors, and Young Man with a Plan. In addition, Plymouth Rock Assurance annually partners with United Way to host a giving campaign to help build strong and sustainable communities in the cities and towns where we do business.
Beyond donations, our employees have been committed to giving back and providing our communities with countless hours of our time and effort. We have dedicated employee engagement groups (Team 695 in Massachusetts and Team 581 in NJ) that encourage people to share their experiences, learn and volunteer together in order to better connect with the community. Examples of these teams’ efforts include annual holiday toy drives, volunteering at Cradles to Crayons, and involvement in the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup.
“We are very grateful to the Plymouth Rock Assurance Foundation for its many years of support, which has allowed us to reach girls in underserved communities across Greater Boston.”
-Olivia Matthews, Executive Director, Girls on the Run Greater Boston
Girls on the Run provides an evidence-based program to strengthen confidence and other important life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and physical activity.
Pride in Our Footprint
Service to our community also takes the form of our role as long-term environmental stewards of prominent buildings in Massachusetts and New Jersey. We are the longtime owner of 695 Atlantic Avenue, our headquarters – located right across from Boston’s landmark South Station. More recently, we have purchased two additional buildings – 711 Atlantic Avenue, which is right next to 695 Atlantic Avenue, and 581 Main Street in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
Our duty to the community as an owner comes with considerable responsibility, especially given the historical nature of some of our real estate. The Atlantic Avenue location is an eleven-floor, red brick stately office building, originally built circa 1895 to be a premier hotel. The building's grandeur brings challenges in simultaneously maintaining the historical nature of the building and updating them to be environmentally sustainable. That is a task we regard as essential. Because sustainability is important to us, we partner with third party property managers and energy experts to conduct detailed energy audits. This led to the installation of all new LED lighting in both of our Boston buildings, the replacement of over 100 heat pump systems and other mechanical equipment, and the use of green cleaning products.
695 Atlantic Avenue has received ENERGY STAR certifications each year since 2015.
We are also an active participant in the ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Initiative, a program designed to help business customers assess the energy performance of their buildings and identify opportunities for improvement. For 695 Atlantic Avenue, we are proud to have received ENERGY STAR certifications in each of the last eight years (which we obtained by attaining a level of 75 or higher as compared to other buildings of its type in the United States).
Attention to our employees’ commuting patterns also pay a part in our commitment to sustainability. In Boston, we encourage our employees to maintain a light commuting footprint. The majority of our Boston employees use public transport to come to the office every day. And we provide advantageous access to MBTA and commuter rail passes. In our New Jersey office park location, where less public transport is available, we have installed electric car charging stations to encourage more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.
Service to our customers, agents, employees and communities is a paramount priority at Plymouth Rock. Maintenance of our high standards of service and citizenship requires a culture of collegiality, friendliness, integrity, pride in accomplishments, hard work, and the pursuit of excellence. Our commitment is both deep and enduring. It is who we are.