Incentive - April 2009 - (Page 10)

COVER STORY Success Building a winning culture is a core value at Penn Mutual, which is why incentive travel makes sense, even now By Julie Barker incentive travel with a strong educational component. But they are also motivational in that the people who sell Penn Mutual products have a goal they must meet or exceed, and the conference provides recognition for that. “In these times it’s more important to do motivational projects,” says Patrick Sullivan, president of PRA Destination Management in New York and president of Site, an organization that promotes the use of incentive travel. “In a down economy you need to be doing that, so that when business improves they’re still with you These are people who are bringing in the revenue.” Investing in S 10 | Incentive | April 2009 | Photos Jonathan Kolbe/Zuma ometime last fall, AIG became a household name, with the words “troubled insurer” usually appended. By now, most people who plan incentive travel are used to fielding questions about the current climate of financial scrutiny, or what has come to be called “the AIG effect.” Leanne Acton, assistant vice president, conference planning and travel services, for Penn Mutual, based in Horsham, Pa., easily handles the question. “I’m always budget aware and I’ll continue to be budget conscious. We are confident about what our conferences do and achieve, [which is] to educate, reward and motivate.” While other companies, cowed by all the publicity about AIG’s incentives at five-star resorts, are canceling meetings that might seem too lavish, Penn Mutual believes in the way it has motivated its top producers for more than a generation. In March of 2008, the agents went to Hawaii, where they stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. This year they’ll be at Lake Las Vegas and in 2010, they’ll head to Cancun. Amid the promised relaxation, they also expect two days of meetings and plenty of time to share a golf cart or a chat with a Penn Mutual executive. “It’s an important investment in our producers and in the ongoing success of Penn Mutual,” says Acton. Producers conferences are Not From the Same Cloth Despite the fact that both are in the insurance business, AIG and Penn Mutual have little in common. AIG is a publicly held company. Penn Mutual is a private company, essentially owned by its policyholders. The somewhat old-fashioned structure (Penn Mutual is the second-oldest mutual insurance company in the nation, having been founded in 1847) means its top managers are able to think long-term, instead of focusing on the current quarter, as stockholders would demand. This has served Penn Mutual well. In July of last year, with the financial industry already in crisis, Best’s Review named Penn

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - April 2009

Incentive - April 2009
Editor’s Note: Speak Out!
Cover Story: Penn Mutual Stands By Its Incentives
Defending Incentives
Primer: Merchandise 101
Employee Contracts Work
Gift Card Roundtable
Incentive Strategies
Endo Pharmaceuticals
Travel News: Where To Go
Caribbean: Idyllic Deals
Cruises: Value Ahoy!
Potentials: Here and Now
Cameras: Smart and Active
Merchandise IQ Survey
Incentive Merchandise Buyer’s Guide

Incentive - April 2009