While financial results are most indicative of recent experience and current underlying fundamentals, we believe it is our sustainability practices that will ensure your company’s long-term success. Our management team has identified four areas we believe are key to American Equity’s continued viability: Community Development; Employee Development and Satisfaction; Cybersecurity; and, Leadership and Governance.
American Equity understands a strong community is necessary for continued growth and a highly effective workforce, and our core values align with serving and contributing to the communities in which we live and work. We work to strengthen our community through financial support and volunteer time at a wide range of educational, health, social service, cultural, civic and environmental organizations.
In addition to our Corporate Giving program, our employees have a long-standing tradition as active members of the community. Each quarter, we sponsor a specific Iowa-based charity. In the first three months of 2018, American Equity employees raised over $12,000 for the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Heart Association. American Equity was also a proud sponsor and chair of the American Heart Association’s Central Iowa Heart Walk in April.
In the second quarter, we raised $6,500 for Children’s Cancer Connection, which is a local non-profit based in Des Moines.
In the third quarter, we contributed $3,600 to the Puppy Jake Foundation, a Des Moines-based non-profit that provides service dogs at no cost to qualifying veterans.
In the fourth quarter, we raised $4,600 for Youth Emergency Services and Shelter (YESS) of Iowa. YESS is a nonprofit and private organization located in Des Moines, Iowa. Catering to children up to 17 years old, YESS provides counseling, crisis care, respite and emergency shelter.
Additionally, American Equity employees participated in reading programs for inner city youths sponsored by the United Way and packaged over 60,000 meals for Meals from the Heartland. We are a repeat sponsor of the Principal Charity Golf Classic, which has raised over $13 million for Iowa children’s charities since 2007; the Des Moines area Toys for Tots campaign, which helps the U.S. Marine Corps collect new unwrapped toys to distribute to less fortunate children at Christmas; and the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Team members joined Habitat for Humanity twice in 2018 to help build homes in the Birdland Area of Greater Des Moines. American Equity employees donated blood through the LifeServe Blood Center, which helps support over 120 hospitals, and helped put together 1,000 literacy kits for the United Way.
Employee Development and Satisfaction
Developing our employees to be effective leaders in the future is indisputably important to our future success, but keeping good employees is just as crucial. In 2018, we were proud to be named by “The Des Moines Register” as an Iowa Top Workplace, by a vote of area employees, for the eighth consecutive year. We were extremely proud to be ranked sixth in the Large Company Category – a ranking surpassing that of all other insurance companies in our state. To ensure employee satisfaction and proper development:
- We offer extensive training and development at all levels, including dedicated technical trainers, on-demand resources, a progressive Leadership Development Model with aligned coursework and a program for emerging leaders.
- We offer a tuition reimbursement program and a program for employees to obtain functional/industry specific designations, certifications and licenses.
- American Equity is a member of LOMA, one of the largest trade associations in the U.S. insurance industry. We fully subsidize an employee’s pursuit of designations offered through LOMA’s training program and award bonuses and company-wide recognition of achievements.
- In total, American Equity had employees participate in 2,469 hours of classroom training hours in 2017 and 3,072 hours in the first half of 2018. American Equity employees took 505 hours of online training in 2017 and 763 hours in the first half of 2018.
- ESOP contributions are made twice per year for all employees.
- Benefits are competitive with local employers and rated extremely highly by employees in our annual engagement survey.
- Jobs are market-priced annually. We employ a fully-dedicated compensation resource in HR to align pay practices to company strategy.
- We conduct formal talent reviews and succession planning.
- Human Resources conducts 90-day interviews with all new hires to ensure fit to role, alignment to team, effective onboarding and ongoing retention.
- We offer Volunteer Time Off hours, in addition to the many company sponsored opportunities to volunteer in our community.
- The company hosts numerous employee engagement events, including corporate golf and bowling events, Red Shirt and Football Fridays, Big Game Lunch and the annual Iowa State Fair Kickoff. Each department head is allocated $200 per employee annually for department specific employee engagement events.
We are committed to the principles of equal employment and complying with all federal, state and local laws providing equal employment opportunities. We strictly prohibit and do not tolerate discrimination or harassment because of age, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, past, current or prospective services in the uniformed services or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. Our policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, training promotion, discipline, compensation, benefits and termination.
American Equity strictly prohibits and does not tolerate unlawful harassment against anyone based on a “protected status” of age, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, past, current or prospective services in the uniformed services or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. We do not tolerate sexual harassment, regardless of whether it is verbal, physical, visual, or online.
Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAA) and applicable laws, we will reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with a disability if such accommodation would allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job, unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the company.
Consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all applicable state and local fair employment practices laws, we will provide a reasonable accommodation regardless of an applicant’s or employee’s sincerely held religious belief or lack thereof if the accommodation would resolve a conflict between the individual’s religious beliefs or practices and a work requirement, unless doing so would create an undue hardship for us.
Cyber Risk and Security
American Equity is dedicated to maintaining the security of our business data and the underlying technology infrastructure that drives our business operations. Security processes are numerous to ensure we protect against existing threats and are proactive toward evolving security concerns. We routinely evaluate ourselves within our ISO, NIST and CObIT-based framework of controls, in addition to our regulation by state departments of insurance and applicable federal requirements. The examples below should be understood as only a sample selection of our control environment, rather than a comprehensive list:
- The Company maintains a comprehensive Information Security Policy that defines behavioral expectations of staff and control requirements relative to our technology and data processing environment. The ISP is based on globally accepted control best practices included in leading control frameworks.
- Client and business data is classified across several data tiers based on its level of confidentiality, and controls governing that data are applied from those assignments. Encryption is in widespread use through our infrastructure.
- Controls limit the duplication or exportation of confidential data to unapproved data stores or storage devices and transmission via cleartext email to an external party over public networks.
- Least privilege is the policy standard governing access to company systems, mandating that access is permitted solely in support of a business need.
- Systems and assets are inventoried and controlled though the company based on their risk classification relevant to their function and resident data type.
- Firewall technologies are in use both at the network perimeter and within our internal corporate network. Additional control limitations are in place within the wired and wireless networks to ensure only registered users and computing assets can connect.
- Where data classified as confidential is shared with external third parties, those providers must annually demonstrate an acceptable level of information and data security controls.
- Both proactive and reactive event monitoring is standard within Company processes to identify system events that may be malicious in nature. Standards governing operational processes, such as change and release management, are defined and enforced. Host and network based controls are widespread through the organization to identify, block and remediate both commodity malware and advanced attack techniques before they can escalate to the level of a security incident.
- We maintain a corporate Incident Management Program governing response to incidents affecting our company. This program applies to a broad range of incidents; components of the program include situational playbooks, escalation prioritization and procedures, vendor and retained agency contact points and after action reports. We maintain relationships with external parties that specialize in cyber forensic incident investigation, public relations and legal considerations in the event of a data breach.
- Geographic separation is maintained between company primary and recovery data centers with extensive full replication of corporate data to the recovery location every day. System and process recovery plans are in place across all business units.
- All staff complete an extensive information security awareness training program as part of their employment onboarding and annually thereafter. Social engineering testing occurs regularly.
Leadership and Governance
American Equity is committed to creating shareholder value as evidenced by our strong Board and governance practices.
- Majority Independent Directors – nine of our 12 directors are independent
- Strong lead Independent director
- Emphasis on diverse experience, including three female directors (25%)
- Annual Board evaluation
- Board continuing education – including new director orientation and continuing education on critical topics and issues
- Proactive adoption of proxy access
- Special meeting threshold of 10%
- No poison pill
- Annual “Say on Pay” shareholder vote
- Prohibition of hedging and pledging of our securities
- Significant correlation between management compensation and performance