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Congrats to the 2024 Q1 Assurant Way CEO Award Winners!

The Assurant Way CEO Award Logo

Our culture is the secret to our success, and we call it The Assurant Way. The four dimensions of The Assurant Way describe the things that make our company culture unique: Our purpose. Our values. Our commitments. And our vision.

To further recognize the contributions made by our employees, we created The Assurant Way CEO Award. This recognition takes into account all the components of The Assurant Way and also highlights commitments to community engagement. When employees embody our values to deliver on our commitments and care for our customers and communities, it helps to carry out our purpose and drive our vision.

The winners are chosen quarterly and are nominated by their fellow coworkers. Employees selected will:

  • Receive a $1,500 bonus 
  • Be able to make a donation grant of $1,500 from the Assurant Foundation for a charity/charities of their choice.

We are excited to share the Q1 2024 winners of The Assurant Way CEO Award!


Gilbert Birdwell 

Gilbert has been with Assurant for two years and currently works as a Product Manager, responsible for top- and bottom-line results within assigned personal lines homeowners insurance portfolios.  

He received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating his Commitment to Spending Time on What Adds the Most Value with his outstanding work enhancing our rate benchmarking process for one of our new products.

Gilbert is currently part of a team responsible for launching a new Assurant homeowners insurance product in the U.S. and managing all 50 states to ensure growth and profitability standards. As the team continued to develop, he introduced market basket data into the rate development process to more accurately predict the distribution of a book of business in any state and benchmark our rate level more appropriately against the market.  

This work has saved 10 days in the process and increased accuracy overall, which will allow the team to reach a national footprint much faster than anticipated and position them for greater success in years to come. Additionally, Gilbert’s new process utilizes industry data and will be shared with other lines of business to aid in any future development. He shares, “I am a naturally curious person, so being curious to inspire new ideas and solutions while also adding value to what matters most really resonates with me. Additionally, Assurant’s commitment to empowering employees has allowed me to spend time exploring new ideas and achieving new levels of accuracy and efficiency for the whole team.”   

Gilbert is married with two adult children. Outside of Assurant, he enjoys fishing, playing billiards with his family, and riding his Rip Stick with his two dogs.  


Ann Fengfish 

Ann has been with Assurant for the past five years and currently works Senior Account Executive responsible for fostering partnerships with our Property Management clients.  

She received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating her Commitment to Bringing Grit & Determination to Get Things Done, for never giving up when faced with adversity, and for continuing to go above and beyond to make clients happy and win them over.  

Recently, because of Ann’s amazing commitment and understanding of our clients' needs, she was able to convert a $150,000 annual client to $1.7M. This was no small feat, creating a ripple effect of opportunities that is likely to bring additional business beyond Renters Solutions. 

She shares, “My current position has given me the opportunity to serve clients and orchestrate long-lasting partnerships. I am determined to provide innovative solutions to our clients and residents who depend on us for coverage of their most prized possessions. I am proud to have grown relationships with clients who enjoy piloting initiatives where we can grow our business and share our passion for state-of-the-art technology.”

Outside of Assurant, Ann enjoys reading and being active by riding her road bike with her husband, working out, and taking her two dogs for runs around local parks. She also hosts a regular game night where Ann enjoys cooking for friends.  


Agustina Olivieri 

Agustina has been with Assurant for almost 11 years and currently works as a manager within the People Organization. Agustina is responsible for providing strategic people business partnership to all lines of business and functional groups in the Andean Region, comprised of Chile, Colombia, and Peru.  

She received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating her Commitment to Building & Empowering Diverse, Winning Teams, and specifically for taking on the task of standardizing our knowledge of business development throughout the Andean region, reducing the distance gap, and increasing team building. 

Agustina took the lead in building a business training and coaching program, "Vision de Negocio,” with the goal of unifying functional leaders from Finance, Actuarial, Operations, Commercial, People, Digital and IT & Product. In 2023, more than 60 collaborators from our team joined each of the eight sessions (approximately 13 hours of training), where leaders participated in sharing in-depth knowledge and best practices with one another, enriching everyone's knowledge in the tasks and activities beyond their daily functions.  

She shares, “I feel so honored to be receiving this award knowing so many people at Assurant go above and beyond every day. This program wouldn’t have been possible without the support the entire team, sponsors, and the 28 facilitators that invested so much time to have the sessions delivered in a fantastic way with spectacular feedback. I’m personally committed to building and empowering diverse, winning teams, and creating bridges so that people can enrich their knowledge, optimize teamwork, unlock their potential and bring in strong results.”  

Outside of Assurant, Agustina enjoys spending time with her family, including husband Alejandro and two children, Joaquín and Mateo, and friends, spending time in nature, visiting new places, and cycling.  


Kim Moss 

Kim has been with Assurant for 21 years and currently works as a Director in our UK Crewe and Mitcheldean Call Center Operations. Kim’s team is responsible for serving all our Connected Living and Automotive customers, focusing on process, customer lead metrics and, most importantly, our people.  

She received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating her Commitment to Spending Time on What Adds the Most Value by bridging the gap between Operations and other areas of the business and allowing us to work closely with other key stakeholders in areas such as Supply Chain, Training, the People Org, the client team, and more.  

In the last year alone, Kim assisted the team with several significant initiatives, including the introduction of bi-weekly synergy sessions to review customer calls with stakeholders from across the business, continuous improvement to scripts and IVR’s, and ensuring we met our simplification goals for customers. Kim also reviewed how the team worked and implemented changes to create more consistent and concise processes and procedures, including the implementation of their Assurant Pulse action plan. This led to improving NPS scores for both customers and internal employee feedback, and a real-time assessment and review of the fraud team, with no impact to the customers. Overall, these initiatives helped the team make huge improvements and align all teams across the operation.  

She shares, “I am overwhelmed to have been recognized for this amazing award; however, it would not have been possible without the amazing support from my team, colleagues, and my manager providing me with the necessary opportunities to grow and succeed in my job. And the best part is seeing results and the amazing growth, not just with the business but the team as well. Working in Operations can be challenging, but when you work with the best team, the results follow.” 

Outside of Assurant, Kim loves spending time with her family and two children who keep her very busy. Kim also enjoys running, recently completed a half marathon, and is planning another one in October with a colleague and friend to raise awareness for an amazing charity, Macmillan. 


Gill Shaughnessy 

Gill has been with Assurant for 12 years, working within Global Technology and supporting all aspects of regional European voice services that are critical for our Call Center Customer Operations. Gill’s primary responsibility is ensuring that all regional call center voice services run 24/7 to support our business operations – managing both the on-premises, cloud-hosted system, and those provided by a large cast of third parties. Gill and her team support all voice services within our five in-house regional call center sites with staff working from the office, at home, and with our outsourced partners.   

She received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating her Commitment to Bringing Grit & Determination to Get Things Done, going above and beyond in 2023 with the implementation of a new telephony system.  

Gill’s effort, hard work, and influence were at the heart of this project. Throughout 2023, she made herself available to help key stakeholders understand the new look, feel, and challenges that came along with this implementation. Gill's knowledge of telephony is outstanding and an asset to Assurant. 

She shares, “I was proud to be part of the exceptional cross-functional team that delivered the project. We were committed to ensuring the project's success, guided by our values of common sense and decency, while embracing unconventional thinking and achieving results. I am passionate about ensuring that both our internal and external customers’ needs are met, I never shy from difficult work and constantly challenge the norm to make sure that we get the right outcomes. I’m hyper cost conscious and want to ensure that we get the maximum value out of everything we do.”  

Outside of Assurant, Gill enjoys watching and supporting her local football team, Port Vale (English Football League 1), often traveling across the UK to support and often commiserate with them. During the summer months, Gill helps at a local hedgehog rescue by transferring sick and injured hogs between the rescue and vets. She also spends her downtime enjoying cruise holidays within Europe with her family.  


Lessie Taylor 

Lessie has been with Assurant for 17 years and currently works as an Executive Resolution Manager. Lessie and her team are responsible for protecting Assurant’s reputation and minimizing Assurant’s risk exposure by effectively addressing and resolving Executive Level complaints while protecting the client’s brand and focusing on the overall customer experience.  

She received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating her Commitment to Being Curious to Inspire New Ideas and Solutions by coming up with a new solution to effectively address customer pain points. 

In the past, Lessie’s team dealt with redundant and manual processes to address customer escalations. Over the past few years, Lessie created best practices to overcome this manual work. Lessie took it upon herself to conduct extensive research into alternative tools that could effectively address the team's pain points and simplify their processes. Her proactive approach not only demonstrates strong leadership but also underscores the team's commitment to continuous improvement.  

Early in 2023, Lessie was asked to participate in a project that would finally address her manual efforts and the need to simplify. Lessie was instrumental in advocating for the needs of Connected Living and encouraging other team members to challenge the status quo. She worked tirelessly with the project team and Salesforce developers to achieve the right solution that benefits Assurant, the customer, and her team. 

She shares, “I believe the Customer Experience is internal (within Assurant), as well as external. I genuinely care about the work I produce and how it impacts Assurant, my team, our clients, and customers. That passion drove me to go ‘above and beyond’ while working on the project."

Lessie comes from a small county town in Southwest Virginia and says she enjoys the little things in life, like spending time with her family and two girls – one in college pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy and the other a young toddler. Lessie also enjoys going on a beach trip from time to time. 


Mohit Kumar 

Mohit has been with Assurant for almost four years and currently works as a senior data warehouse developer. Mohit’s role involves designing and building solutions to bring data into the data warehouse and data engineering skills to develop solutions. 

He received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating his Commitment to Spending Time on What Adds the Most value, specifically for designing and building a framework that can be used to bring internally supplied data into our data warehouses.

Additionally, Mohit delivered a Proof-of-Concept solution to handle the processing of 18 months of backlog of hourly files. His solution reduced processing time from days and weeks to just over an hour. This transformational change not only saved valuable time and resources, but also significantly improved the team’s operational efficiency, enabling us to deliver results faster and more effectively. The success of this solution is evident through its widespread adoption across multiple business units. 

He shares, “My approach to work is guided by a dual commitment to innovation and value creation. By inspiring new ideas and solutions and prioritizing activities that add the most value, I'm dedicated to driving sustainable growth and success for Assurant and its stakeholders. To me, The Assurant Way is not just a trait, but a way of life. It’s about adaptability and the ability to pivot swiftly and effectively in response to changing circumstances guiding me as I navigate challenges and strive for excellence in everything I do.” 

Outside of Assurant, Mohit enjoys hiking and camping to connect with nature. Mohit also cherishes quality time spent with family and friends, building lasting memories together. 


Utkarsh Varshney 

Utkarsh has been with Assurant for a little over 10 months and is responsible for conducting business process analysis, providing support for the development and implementation of new products and processes, and performing End User Acceptance tests. His role also includes analyzing existing methods for improvement, assisting in the implementation of new systems, and coordinating policies among departments, while carrying out varied analytical assignments and resolving processing issues for our Claim Transfer operations. 

He received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating his Commitment to Being Curious to Inspire New Ideas & Solutions for utilizing pulse survey data to identify areas of focus to improve engagement, recognition, and the team's eNPS scores. Utkarsh demonstrated an exceptional ability to analyze complex challenges, identify areas for improvement, and implement innovative solutions, resulting in a significant transformation of our claim transfer operations.  

When Utkarsh joined the team, there were numerous difficulties in the claim transfer process due to organizational restructuring, resulting in a backlog of pending transfers. Utkarsh quickly recognized the importance and urgency of resolving this issue and proactively addressed it. Not only did Utkarsh dedicate time to thoroughly understand the existing process, but he also collaborated with other new hires to undergo comprehensive training and acquire the necessary skills to effectively contribute to the team's objectives. Because of Utkarsh’s innovative ideas and solutions, the claim transfer process made some significant changes, including time savings and same day completion, error limitation, streamlining, open, transparent communications, capacity planning, and job aid enhancements.  

He shares, “Since joining the team, I have strived to consistently demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to serving our clients with passion and dedication. Through my relentless pursuit of excellence, I have prioritized activities that add significant value to our operations and my insatiable curiosity and willingness to explore new ideas and solutions have inspired innovation and propelled our team forward.” 

Outside of Assurant, Utkarsh loves immersing himself in music, exploring new places, talking to new people, and making connections. Most importantly, Utkarsh cherishes spending quality time with loved ones, whether it's sharing a meal, going on outings, or simply enjoying each other's company. 


Meet Fred Reyes 

Fred has been with Assurant for 11 years and currently works as a Manager of Quality Assurance & Escalations. Fred is responsible for quality assurance and monitoring our interactions to ensure our calls and claims are processed accurately and efficiently. The Escalations team manages consumer and regulatory complaints, which includes social media complaints and negative survey feedback.  

He received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating his Commitment to Bring Grit & Determination to Get Things Done, for going above and beyond outside of his regular job scope. Fred always says “yes” to additional projects and collaborations with our cross-functional teams and goes the extra mile to see it through.  

One example of Fred’s grit and determination to get things done is by bringing awareness to a 70-second delay when processing claims. Fred worked with the development team and showed an improvement of over 30 seconds. He redeveloped the entire grading process of our QA Team to get a more complete understanding of our call center teams and their day-to-day activities. He personally pioneered our ‘call reason reporting’ by listening to volumes of calls to identify the reason so we could understand why people were calling to provide digital options.

He shares, “The four Assurant Core Values have always resonated with me. It’s not just a catch phrase, it’s the expectation for how we work, and it is supported in so many ways by Assurant. If you truly believe that there is value in your work, then you need “grit and determination” to drive your vision. I love that this is embodied in The Assurant Way and if you are committed to this, anything is possible. Without investment in employees, supporting a diverse and inclusive culture, and commitment to The Assurant Way, I would not have achieved this award. Thank you, Assurant!”  

Fred says he feels very blessed to come from a large and loving family – 19 aunts and uncles and more cousins than he can count. When his family isn’t celebrating a birthday (Fred’s family had eight alone in March), Fred spends his free time doing other activities with family. 

Fred also manages a co-ed softball team which plays on Sunday evenings and half of the team is his family!  


Meet Masayuki Sugimoto 

Masayuki has been with Assurant for almost three years, working as a Director of Sales & Business Development . Masayuki is responsible for sales and business development, strengthening connections to mobile carriers, creating business proposals, and account management.  

He received The Assurant Way CEO Award for demonstrating his Commitment to Engaging the Right People at the Right Time, for taking ownership and initiative, and engaging the right decision makers when bringing on a new customer. in Japan

Just recently, Masayuki and his team were working with a new client who requested an application that Assurant Japan had never conducted before. This was an important opportunity for Assurant to deepen its business relationship with a new carrier, so the team gathered information from outside sources on pricing and delivery dates.

He proactively obtained additional information and clarification, using his own experience with distributors and setting aside time to meet with key informational resources.  

Masayuki consistently brought the right decision makers into the discussion at the right time, understanding the needs of the client and Assurant, liaised with the right people, proactively took the lead in negotiating detailed quotes, and more. Masayuki took the necessary actions to make the project a success. 

He shares, “I am creating new business in Japan by leveraging my own experience in the mobile industry, among other things, as I strive to live The Assurant Way. I am especially proud that I was also able to win this business with the cooperation and support of my wonderful colleagues around me as we achieved this business development.”  

Outside of Assurant, Masayuki enjoys golfing and skiing with his wife.


Congratulations to all! We are so proud of our Q1 winners and are honored to call them part of the Assurant team. Make sure to check back each quarter as we continue recognizing some of our employees' hard work! 



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