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HR HERO:  Bruce LePard, American National Insurance

Orchestrating Deep Support for Employees in Hurricane Aftermath

In light of all the natural disasters that have impacted the world in recent years, Ultimate Software is pleased to recognize Bruce LePard, SPHR, senior vice president of HR for American National Insurance, which has approximately 3,000 employees and offers a broad line of products and services in all 50 states.

When Hurricane Ike forced the evacuation of the city of Galveston, Texas and left many homes and businesses in turmoil, American National’s HR group showed its resolve in an emergency through determination, hard work, and much innovation as they worked from temporary facilities.

The goals were simple: account for all employees, provide deep support, and return to Galveston as soon as possible.

Working in close quarters akin to a submarine, Bruce’s team managed hotel room assignments, provided emergency cash services, coordinated services with counselors, fed employees, ran an employee contact center, and offered plenty of moral support.

Using UltiPro, the HR and payroll teams had all the necessary employee data, and they were able to pay employees without interruption, sometimes only by using a laptop in a motor home and a regular phone line.

In the end, the greatest accolades came when the HR Department was recognized as “a decided asset” by the board of directors during the company’s annual board meeting. Today, the company has re-grouped and is operating very successfully.

“It’s all about regarding our employees as our family,” said Bruce. “This organization truly is family- oriented, and when disaster hits, everyone pitches in because we all are affected.”

Here are some comments from American National’s associates regarding the HR team’s monumental efforts:

“A hearty thank you to Bruce for making this a less stressful event. From handling payroll to lunch specials, the HR team was there for us.”

“Bruce LePard and the HR staff have been at the forefront of recovery throughout this whole turmoil. They offered water, coffee, cheery faces in the morning, free lunches, and even tetanus shots.”

“Not only did American National keep us on payroll, they offered loans and payroll advances if anyone needed this help.”

“American National reassured me that the 'resource' in human resources meant we were united and would stand together. The HR Department under Mr. LePard kept us up to date and became a beacon of light. I could feel with certainty that our American National family was on its way to future recovery.”