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13 insurance/financial services companies make list of “World’s Most Ethical Companies”

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Insurance agents can control their own ethics, but by themselves have little influence on the ethical behaviors of the carrier community. But you can choose to partner with companies that are proven to place a strong emphasis on ethical business practices – with more than just lip service.

A baker’s dozen of insurance and financial services companies are among the 132 honorees of the 2015 “World’s Most Ethical Companies,” as announced in March by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.

In its ninth year, the 2015 honorees represent more than 50 industries, span 21 countries and five continents. Bestowed only on organizations that demonstrate a culture of ethics and transparency at every level, the Ethisphere Institute says the list recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business “ethically” and translate those words into action. Honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today.

To earn the recognition, companies are judged in five key categories: ethics and compliance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; culture of ethics; governance; and leadership, innovation and reputation.

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies embrace the correlation between ethical business practice and improved company performance. These companies use ethics as a means to further define their industry leadership, and understand that creating an ethical culture and earning the World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition involves more than just an outward facing message or a handful of senior executives saying the right thing,” said Ethisphere CEO Timothy Erblich.

The 13 companies making the list in the insurance and financial services industries are:

Financial Services

• Northern Trust

• TIAA-CREF

• Thrivent Financial

• Voya Financial

Insurance: Accident & Health

• Aflac Inc.

• Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corp

Insurance: Brokerage

• Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Insurance: Life

• Knights of Columbus

• Mass Mutual

• Prudential Financial

• The Principal Financial Group

Insurance: P&C

• Allstate Insurance Co

• The Hartford

This is the first time Prudential has been honored with this distinction. “We are gratified that our long-standing commitment to placing our customers’ needs first and doing business the right way has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute,” said Prudential Chairman and CEO John Strangfeld. “We remain committed to growing our company responsibly, with integrity and an uncompromising focus on quality.”

Lee Augsburger, senior vice president and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Prudential, said, “We are thrilled to join the community of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Since Prudential was formed 140 years ago, we have been led by a management team that aligns our ethical business practices with performance. We are extremely proud of our employees around the world who protect and enhance our legacy of integrity in their daily business activities.”

Augsburger, who has oversight responsibility for Prudential’s worldwide compliance organization and the company’s global business ethics activities, pointed out that the company’s business ethics program promotes prevention, detection and resolution of potential misconduct and adherence to the letter and spirit of regulatory and legal mandates. “We actively promote respect, honesty and the highest levels of business integrity to continue to be seen as an admired multinational financial services leader, trusted partner and provider of innovative products and services,” said Augsburger, who was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” by the Ethisphere Institute in 2014.

“Prudential performed well against our methodology. High marks were garnered for efforts in cultivating a culture of ethics through strong communication and training resources, robust culture measurement and management methodologies, and for its many corporate citizenship and responsibility initiatives,” said Ethisphere’s Erblich.

While it was the first time making the list for Prudential, it marks the seventh consecutive year on the list for The Hartford. “The Hartford is proud to once again be recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company,” said Alan Kreczko, Hartford’s executive vice president and general counsel, in a statement. “For more than 200 years, The Hartford has served our customers with honesty and integrity. Receiving this award for the seventh year demonstrates The Hartford’s commitment to ethical leadership.”

Itasca, Ill.-based brokerage Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. made the list for the fourth consecutive year. “Our company places a very strong emphasis on ethics, professionalism and social responsibility, and we’re delighted to once again be selected as a World’s Most Ethical Company,” said Gallagher Chairman, President and CEO J. Patrick Gallagher Jr. “Gallagher has doubled in size since we were first recognized with this award four years ago, and our business has become increasingly complex. Ethisphere’s judging process has also become more rigorous. I view this designation as a real testimony to the strength and core values of our global team.”

The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient (EQ) framework, developed over years of research to provide a means to assess an organization’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics. The EQ framework and methodology are determined, vetted and refined by the expert advice and insights gleaned from Ethisphere’s network of thought leaders and from the World’s Most Ethical Company Methodology Advisory Panel.