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June 13, 2003 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-06-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

%TVS Luncheon Honors Rock, Four Individuals

R

ock Financial/Quicken Loans Inc. and
four local individuals were honored at
the sixth annual JVS Strictly Business
Awards and Networking Luncheon June
5 at the Hyatt Regency Dearborn.
Quicken Loans Inc. received the JVS Business
Leadership Award in recognition of its commitment
to the vocational success and well-being of its
employees. According to Barbara Nurenberg, JVS
president and CEO, "Rock Financial exhibits all of
the qualities of being a true business leader. Rock has
a strong commitment to the recognition, training
and motivation of its employees, which sets them
apart from other businesses."
The company has also partnered with the JVS
Downpayment Assistance Program to help people
secure a down payment so they can close on a home.
Four individuals received the JVS Employee of the
Year Awards: Saul Borenstein of Southfield, George
Higgins of Detroit, Steven Stolman of Clawson and
Crystal Witt of Detroit. The honorees were recog-

MEADOWBROOK

nized for exceptional vocational
achievements.
Borenstein, who has a develop-
mental disability, has been
employed at Kroger in Royal Oak
for 10 years. He assists with bag-
ging, price checks, clean-up, greet-
ing customers, recycling and collect-
Borenstein
ing carts. Throughout his employ-
ment, JVS has assisted him in
obtaining and maintaining his job
through a variety of support services that maximize
his potential and independence.
Higgins, a recovering drug and alcohol abuser and
former homeless person, has surmounted many
obstacles to become gainfully employed and self-suf-
ficient. He attended the JVS Community Self-
Sufficiency Center. Today, he works at the Coalition
on Temporary Shelter (COTS), helping people fac-
ing the same struggles he overcame.
Stolman, who was once a stay-at-home father,

qnught Tvs
help
helo after he divorced
.
to find immediate
employment. At JVS, he was able to
take his past experience as a driver
and identify a position that matched
his qualifications at Weisenthal
Diagnostics. Since he began the job
4.
last September, he has become an
Stolman
exemplary employee.
Witt, who became pregnant while in
college, has struggled to raise her children as a single
mother. With JVS' help, she found a position as a
victim advocate at the Triangle Foundation.
NS has seven locations in Detroit, Roseville,
Southfield and West Bloomfield, and serves more
than 24,000 people each year. It operates two
nationally acclaimed career centers — "Detroit's
Work Place" — for the city of Detroit and is a lead-
ing provider of career development, employment,
vocational rehabilitation, and senior adult and youth
services. ❑

from page 25

Although under-pricing was clearly the main
factor, Meadowbrook also saw a leap in the num-
ber of claims. This was combined with other fac-
tors, such as increased medical and litigation
costs.
Cubbin said, "The industry-wide decline has
caused the industry to look at pricing. Most insur-
ance companies are starting to raise their rates. We
had a 13-year soft-pricing cycle. Had we stuck
with our game plan and avoided the surety busi-
ness even during the soft market, we would not
have had the magnitude of losses we incurred."
Added Segal: "Many companies that survived
this soft cycle could not have survived if they were
not owned by a bigger company that could pour
more capital into it. But that was a luxury we did
not have. We pulled it off without a rich parent."
The Meadowbrook management team is confi-
dent about the long-range success of the company,
and is considering building a new headquarters.
Meadowbrook currently leases a building on
Telegraph Road south of 1-696. The company
feels it requires more efficient space and wants to
control its future occupancy costs.

Active Board

David K. Page, a partner in the Detroit-based
law firm of Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn,
sits on the Meadowbrook board. Like the others,
he considers himself to be an activist board mem-
ber.
"The net worth of the company is considerably
higher, and their leverage has been significantly

reduced. And management has made more funda-
mental changes," said Page.
"Overall, the insurance industry is more promis-
ing today than it was a few years ago. Rates are
moving up. People were hurt in the industry and
dropped out, and that's to the advantage of a spe-
cialty operation like Meadowbrook," he said.
Page is optimistic that Meadowbrook is "learn-
ing from its past mistakes. They have stricter
underwriting standards in place so there will be
no repeats. As the company is now managed, they
are limited in exposure, and they have a conserva-
tive investment portfolio."
Page, who serves on the board's finance commit-
tee, said the board holds more committee meet-
ings than most. "We provided a lot of oversight.
There was good interaction between management
and the board, and the company welcomed the
involvement.
"I think it all bodes well for the future. The
company weathered a significant storm and came
out of it with itself on much more solid ground.
And they are continuing to make steady, if not
dramatic, progress," said Page.
Board member Hugh Greenberg, president of
Detroit Gauge and Tool Company, agrees that the-
entire industry "has been in trouble for quite
some time. And Meadowbrook was another exam-
ple of a company being under-reserved for losses.
"Fortunately, they became aware of the condi-
tion earlier than most and are now much stronger
than most other insurance companies. The prob-
lem was that they ventured into fields, such as
surety bonds, that did not turn out well. And now

they've gone back to the fundamentals."

Board Members

Other members of the board include Florine
Mark, president and CEO of the Weight Watchers
Group, Inc; Robert H. •Naftaly, former Blue
Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan executive; and
Joseph H. Dresner, chairman of the Highland
Companies.
"We're bigger and better because we've learned
survival tactics,"- said Segal. "And we're not done
yet. We're on the road to recovery, we've brought
in a fabulous team of people, we raised the capital
we needed, and now we'll stick to our already-
proven-successful business plan."
Segal, 74, is the current co-chairman of Temple
Beth El's endowment committee and a past presi-
dent of the temple. Born in Detroit, he is an avid
tennis player and Detroit Pistons' fan with a
game-side seat for 43 years. He graduated from
the University of Michigan in 1950 and from
1953-57 was a realtor and mortgage broker, sell-
ing insurance as a sideline to supplement his
income.
He started the M.J. Segal Agency in 1955 out of
his basement in Oak Park as a retail insurance
brokerage. Two years later, he bought the .
Meadowbrook Realty Insurance Agency from
David Kay. Because Meadowbrook was bigger
than his agency, he decided to use that name and
go into insurance full time. P

6/13
2003

27

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