Dead River Company Wins National Wellness Award

SOUTH PORTLAND, ME | July 1, 2014 – By committing to a corporate wide program that broke new ground in employee wellness, Dead River Company has earned one of only 16 WELCOA Gold Awards given out nationally.

While utilizing standard wellness program components such as bio-metric and health risk assessment screening, as well as competitions to encourage healthy behaviors, Dead River Company also expanded the program to include family members and insurance premium reduction incentives.

“We looked at traditional wellness programs and found that simply encouraging people to exercise and eat right, while well-intentioned, is not highly motivational,” said Guy Langevin, Vice President of Human Resources at Dead River Company.  “We all know we should live a healthier lifestyle, but how many of us take the time to find the guidance to do it? So, we devised a plan with greater reach and vision.  We included a range of items to motivate and encourage our employees to participate in the program and increase their overall wellness.”

Dead River Company’s wellness plan included:

  • Connecting participants to their primary care physician by encouraging preventative annual exams
  • Targeting all beneficiaries of an employee’s health plan, believing that family support improves the likelihood of behavioral change
  • Integrating disease management from a case management coach for employees who may have chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or back pain
  • Meaningful incentives for premium co-pays of up to a 30% reduction for those employees who actively participate in positively managing their healthcare
  • Tracking progress by collecting aggregate data to identify the needs of specific employee populations

Dead River Company’s insurance carrier, Cigna Healthcare, is engaged in the program as well, providing a representative for the company’s wellness committee, and Case Management Coaches. Cigna also facilitates the biometric screenings for employees.  “They are great partners,” said Langevin.

Mark Converse, Regional Wellness Director at USI Insurance Services said, “Earning their first National WELCOA award at the Gold level validates the effort and team work with partners CIGNA and USI Insurance Services in building an effective health management strategy. They are a role model for other companies and proves how engaging a high percentage of a dispersed population can achieve significant increases in preventions.”

The program provides greater opportunity for success in making better health choices.  “Smoking was the toughest habit to break,” said one Dead River Company employee.  “Cigna provided the one-on-one help, consistent positive coaching with a representative, Denise, who worked around my day and evening schedule.  She provided me with coping mechanism ideas and moral support.  Denise followed up with continued guidance months after I quit.”

“By achieving this level of excellence in workplace wellness programming, Dead River Company has demonstrated that it is committed to protecting and enhancing the health and well-being of its most valuable asset—its employees,” said David Hunnicutt, PhD, President of the Wellness Council of America.

Currently, 97 percent of Dead River Company employees have had biometric screenings and health risk assessments and 95 percent have had annual preventative exams. “Our participation and overall employee health have improved substantially from before we implemented the plan,” Langevin added, “and the result is far healthier employees, and we hope, by extension, overall healthier families.”

A comparison of company participation and metrics prior to the institution of the wellness plan, with those in 2014 show a marked increase and improvements.

     2010     2014
Enrolled participants



Preventive screening



No-tobacco use/cessation program



Health Risk Assessment



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