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Member Profile: NRG Insurance

Sustainability is in the Company DNA

NRG Insurance is a brokerage and insurance agency with a history of successfully integrating sustainable business practices. The company is the first US brokerage to go carbon neutral and has been recognized over the years for reducing its impact on the environment, as well as fostering a healthy work-life balance for employees.

The NRG Insurance Smart CarAt NRG, sustainability is infused in all aspects of the business. As a Certified B Corp, NRG is committed to meeting specific objectives for a socially responsible business, taking employee, community, and environmental interests into consideration when making decisions.

Employees are encouraged to work from home at least once a week – in fact the company is about to go completely virtual – and NRG offsets carbon-generating activity (such as driving instead of telecommuting) with positive compensation by planting trees and investing in solar energy projects worldwide. In 2000 the EPA awarded NRG with the distinguished “Business in Green” award for their efforts in waste prevention and recycling collection. The company was already going paperless and recycled everything at a time when no one else did.

Insurance is a Commodity – You’re not!

Michelle Rupp, NRG Insurance

NRG's CEO, Michelle Rupp

NRG’s commitment to helping clients navigate the complexities of the insurance business reflects a unique company culture where every employee contributes, is valued, and actually has some fun at work. “I wanted to create a workplace I would want to work in. It’s that simple,” says CEO Michelle Rupp. “You can be flexible and treat people like real people and still make money.”

Bucking the trend towards longer hours and fewer vacations, NRG discourages overtime and every employee earns a four-week paid sabbatical after five years of employment. Innovative work policies have earned NRG several awards and recognition:

  • Five-time winner (2006-2010) of the prestigious Alfred P. Sloane Award for Workplace Flexibility which recognizes employers across the country that are successfully using flexibility to meet both business and employee goals
  • Families and Work Institute Award 2007– NRG is one of nine Seattle businesses honored by the nonprofit think tank for their nontraditional approach to work.
  • Association of Washington Business’ 2008 Better Workplace Award for innovation in benefit and compensation programs
  • Featured in the Seattle Times (2007) highlighting NRG as a place to work that feels like a “Dream Job”
  • Teamed with Safeco Insurance to create Safeco Instore by NRG to create an agency of the future
  • October 2010 named Agency of the Month by Trusted Choice for their social responsibility policies and commitment to “People/Planet/Profits”, setting an extraordinary example of “Living the Brand”
  • 1998 Mayor’s Small Business Award

The Triple Bottom Line in Practice

The success of NRG is proof that businesses can be both humane and profitable. The company stays healthy in this more challenging financial times while continuing to honor the environment, as well as the health and well being of their employees.

NRG’s Key Sustainability Initiatives:

  • Leading edge in automation nationwide in insurance industry
  • Overtime is discouraged and employees work 37.5 hours per week
  • Employees are encouraged to take time off when they need it
  • Use People, Planet, Profit scorecard of Sustainable Business
  • Flexibility for employee medical, family leave
  • EPA WasteWise program
  • Fun, joyful work environment

Benefits Realized:

  • Michelle Rupp named 2002 IIABW Agent of the Year
  • Recipient of Mayor’s Small Business Award for the City of Seattle
  • NRG maintains a healthy profit
  • Nominated for “Best Practices” by Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America
  • Attracting younger employees due to business practices

Sustainability Advocate

CEO Michelle Rupp recently joined the NBIS Advisory Board. She has been an active advocate and regular speaker on sustainability for years. She grew up in a Seattle home that was environmentally conscious before it was trendy, and she has carried over that culture to her business.