Partnerships beyond the office walls

Building close relationships with our top performing distribution partners makes good business sense. And understanding their passions is a way we can become closer. The IMU New England team has long partnered with The Allen Insurance Agency based in Camden, Maine. With a loss ratio in the low 20s and a sizeable book of business, they are a relationship that matters.

This agency has a particular interest in supporting the American Cancer Society (ACS) and has organized a team for the annual Relay for Life fund raiser since 2004. Allen not only participates in this event, but also hosts monthly potluck lunches, a yard sale and other activities to enable raising awareness and donations for ACS throughout the year. When IMU learned of this commitment, they seized this opportunity to reinforce our relationship through a donation from the OneBeacon Charitable Trust. Said IMU Regional Manager Meredith Atwood, “They have 8 to 10 employees at Relay, but nearly all 70 employees contribute in some way to their year-round efforts. We are pleased to honor their commitment through this donation.”

Good luck to the Allen Agency team members who will share walking the 24-hour relay late June!

Expanding young minds, one odyssey at a time!

Those of us with children have spent innumerable hours on the sidelines at sporting events and in the audience at plays and recitals, but how many of us have coached them to develop creative problem-solving skills through intellectual and creative team competitions?  Meet Betsy LeBlanc, from Canton’s BusinessSupportCenter, a volunteer for the North Attleboro (Mass.) Middle School’s Odyssey of the Mind program for the past three years. Odyssey of the Mind is an international youth education program targeting kindergarteners through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems ranging from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competitions on the local, state and world level. Today, thousands of teams from across the U.S. and from roughly 25 other countries participate in the program.

Besides financial support, Betsy hosts team meetings at her home, orchestrates fund raisers including pancake breakfasts, dances and dodge ball tournaments, and provides needed supplies for the students. Says Betsy, “Teaching children to work together as a team early in life sets a foundation of teamwork they will carry throughout their lives. Expressing themselves creatively is just a bonus!” The North Attleboro teams will be traveling to Maryland at the end of May to participate in the world competition, hoping to best last year’s second-place finish in the “spontaneous competition” challenge.

 Nice coaching, Betsy!

IMU Supports Pines (hint: we’re not talking wooden boats!)

IMU’s Boston-based team has long supported the Pine Street Inn, a local force in the fight to end homelessness. Founded in 1969, Pine Street serves more than 1,300 homeless individuals daily and 10,000 annually. Customhouse Marine, one of IMU’s largest and more profitable producers, is closely affiliated with this nonprofit, and so for each of the past several years, IMU has joined forces in support of this cause.

IMU Regional Manager Meredith Atwood noted that “The Pine Street Inn’s mission definitely fits our Trust’s giving guidelines of working to improve life conditions.” Besides providing emergency and transitional shelter, Pine Street offers street outreach, job training, permanent housing, mental health support and substance abuse treatment. Meredith and her team have attended fund raisers in past years and through the Trust, financially supported the Pine Street Inn as well.

Hats off to IMU for helping their needy neighbors, in partnership with their colleagues at Customhouse; what a great way to strengthen an important relationship!

Scholarship applications due Friday, April 15!

While a D.C. holiday pushed the federal tax filing deadline to Monday, April 18th, all applications for the OneBeacon Scholarship program are due this Friday, April 15th. As a reminder, we will be awarding up to ten $1,500 scholarships to sons/daughters of OneBeacon employees and up to another ten to our distribution patners’ children. The application and program brochure are available on the portal and the (on the company updates page).

Winners will be announced in early June. This program is administered by Scholarship Management Services and funded by the OneBeacon Charitable Trust. Good luck to this year’s graduating high school seniors!

Lunch for a Cause

Most holidays inspire celebration, often featuring festive meals. And some people creatively use such occasions to help those in need, such as our BTS colleagues based in Farmington.


In honor of St. Patty’s day, the Farmington BTS crew held a potluck lunch on Friday, March 18.  Each employee was asked to bring in canned food / nonperishable items that were slated for donation to a local nonprofit. The team ended up collecting over $70 worth of items that were presented to the Church Street Eats located in nearby Hartford, Conn. Church Streets Eats meets each Saturday in Bushnell Park, to collect food, clothing, and hygiene supplies to donate to those in need in Greater Hartford.


Kudos to BTS Farmington for remembering to share their potluck meal with their needy neighbors! 

A trip to the barber for kids fighting cancer

There are a lot of routines we take for granted, like getting an occasional haircut. But what about having your head shaved and not for a hip look—but to show your commitment to fighting cancer? I don’t think I’m brave enough for that step, but OneBeacon’s Jim McKenna is. Jim, a large loss claim manager from our Melville office, recently had his head shaved during the annual St. Baldrick’s fund raiser in Northport, New York, an organization he’s been involved with for the past ten years.

St. Baldrick’s origins have a direct tie to our industry. Back on March 17, 2000, reinsurance executives John Bender, Tim Kenny and Enda McDonnell turned their industry St. Patrick’s Day party into a head-shaving event to benefit kids with cancer. Their 20 “shavee” recruits planned to raise “$17,000 on the 17th.” Instead, they raised over $104,000! Since that innaugural event, more than 147,000 volunteers—including over 12,000 women—have shaved in solidarity with children with cancer at events in dozens of countries and every U.S. state.

Jim not only goes for the shave, but he also serves on the event’s organizing committee and assists in running the Northport event, as well as others on Long Island. The Trust has been a supporter of St. Baldrick’s due to Jim’s efforts since 2004. We admire Jim’s personal commitment to such a terrific cause—and his nerve for willingly going bald each year!

Canton Community Volunteerism: tell us what you think

We have a question for Canton-based employees: we are considering exploring opportunities to give back to the local community through volunteerism. This would probably involve putting in a few hours on a given day during/after-work hours, maybe sorting donations at a food bank or doing some restoration work at a daycare or other facility. To help shape our direction, we would appreciate hearing if you’d be interested in participating in a community volunteer event, and if so, if you have any ideas. We will only move forward if this makes sense to you!

You can either post your views on this blog or email:

Thanks for your input!

How to SCORE to help America’s kids

Although there’s still snow in the parking lot, a small team of Canton employees is planning for another outing on the pitch at Gillette Stadium this summer. Captain Tetteh Otuteye is once again organizing a OneBeacon team to participate in the annual America SCORES New England soccer tournament, a fund raiser for the organization. SCORES is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering kids in urban communities through soccer and literacy mentoring. Locally, SCORES serves over 1,500 elementary and middle-school students through 44 literacy/soccer teams in 19 Boston public schools.

Tetteh, when he’s not busy with his corporate actuarial responsibilities, is a SCORES volunteer and serves on the tournament’s organizing committee. Leading the OneBeacon team during its two tournament appearances (yes, there’s a winter indoor challenge as well!) we applaud their efforts to help area kids through teamwork and fitness. And if you want to lace up your boots with our team, just contact Tetteh!


Calling all parents of high-school seniors!

The OneBeacon Charitable Trust is once again offering graduating seniors the opportunity to earn a $1,500 college scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Ten scholarships will be awarded to our employees’ sons and daughters, and another ten are available for our agents’ and brokers’ children.

Applications and a program brochure are available on the Portals and the website newsroom.  Be sure to postmark all applications by April 15 for consideration. Decisions will be communicated in early June and the awards are paid directly to the school in two installments–August and December. The program is adminstered by Scholarship America.

We are excited to help members of the OneBeacon community through this progam. Feel free to post any questions on this blog for response, or to contact me directly.

Stepping it up for healthy kids!

Winter means hibernation for some, but not everyone, particularly the McCarthy household, where preparations are already underway for the annual Walk for Children’s Hospital scheduled for late spring. Since 2003, Associate General Counsel Ginny McCarthy has participated in this fund-raiser. Coincidentally, the first walk occurred just five weeks after Ginny’s then six-year old son Will had undergone the first of several surgeries to treat a cerebrovascular condition. Now aged 13 and symptom-free, Will is an active teenager who’s just one belt away from earning his black belt in karate. Ginny’s walking team is motivated both by gratitude and the hope that other families share Will’s healthy outcome. Funds raised by the walk support pediatric medical research as well as provide toys and games for hospitalized children to enjoy. The Charitable Trust has supported Ginny’s fund raising for the last several years.

 P.S. you can check out Will’s Walkers 2010 team photo in the header at the top of this blog (left corner)!