Features

Lorenz Hasan – American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

Making American Equity an employer of choice

Though he’s not from Kansas, Lorenz Hasan might relate to what Dorothy encountered in “The Wizard of Oz.” 

His employer isn’t just in Iowa anymore, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company riding the winds of an ambitious expansion agenda that has broadened its offerings in the past five years and stretched its outreach from the Hawkeye State into 38 others. It’s been Hasan’s role to oversee the increasing responsibilities of human resources, with much of that growth coinciding with COVID-19 and a robust competition for talent. 

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

“We’ve been through a lot of change from when I started to where we are now,” the personable Hasan tells Vision from West Des Moines. “It’s been a great example of a corporate transformation.” 

A transformation, he adds, which necessitated the deft handling of personnel. The workforce has doubled to nearly 1,000 since Hasan joined American Equity in March 2019, and with the firm on a nationwide hiring spree and many newcomers functioning remotely in the post-pandemic economy, he’s had to familiarize himself with the labor laws of practically everywhere. Then there’s been American Equity setting up offices in additional states to broaden the talent pool necessary to sustain a firm that’s gone from selling annuities and life insurance products through its subsidiaries to dealing in investments and commercial real estate. 

So, it’s been a busy time for Hasan, who joined American Equity as a manager of HR operations and was promoted to vice president of that department in December 2020.  

Winning the talent race 

Nurturing a positive corporate culture calls for some very progressive initiatives because, as Hasan explains, it’s been a jobseeker’s market the past few years, and so much of the financial-investment industry is eyeing the same prospects. Though American Equity has grown exponentially on Hasan’s watch, he says the firm tries to maintain the same familial feel of the modest-sized operation it used to be. 

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

He says that parental leave is among the primary concerns of young people. Whereas American Equity’s former policy was just two weeks atop of six-week short-term disability leave, he’s increased it to 14 weeks fully paid with no waiting period. 

Hasan pushed to expand the health benefits program to include infertility benefits for those struggling to conceive and surrogacy support as well as parental leave for those who adopt a youngster. Under the insurance plans, children can be covered until their 26th birthday. 

But, as he’s quick to remind, benefits for young employees are matched by concern for the rest. For example, under the plan, middle-agers can seek treatment for menopause or low testosterone. The firm values the contributions of its most senior employees, and there’s comprehensive coverage for eyesight and hearing aid coverage. 

“We look at each age group and how we can attract the best employees from each,” Hasan says. “There’s a lot of competition for talent, but we’ve been attracting good people from everywhere.” 

A unifying platform 

However, it’s more than just welcoming them into the fold. The workforce will likely become even more dispersed should a hire hail from or move to a state where the firm is not yet represented. But Hasan assures American Equity is prepared to accommodate such growth, it having adjusted with a user-friendly online platform that allows new hires to choose their benefits.  

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

“Just like shopping on Amazon,” Hasan says. “And if we need to move into another state or add more benefits, the foundation can be expanded. It’s like adding another room or deck to your house.” 

The platform also sustains compliance with labor laws in every jurisdiction, and he reminds how the firm has ventured into some very employee-friendly states, with California and New York topping the list.  

Under California law, an outgoing employee must be paid immediately with PTO—personal time off—accrued. In New York, a company must adhere to state and local labor laws, including the Big Apple’s insistence on pretax commuter benefits. 

Needless to say, Hasan says with a chuckle, covering the cost of subway and bus fares never was a concern when American Equity operated solely in Iowa. But as the firm expands, growth pains are inevitable, and he lauds a couple of partners for easing the task. 

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

According to Hasan, Brown & Brown Inc., does yeoman’s work as an insurance broker that plays matchmaker between American Equity and its liability carriers. Brown & Brown brokers a deal with an insurance firm when another state joins the portfolio and undertakes compliance.  

“We couldn’t do what we do without them,” says Hasan, who meets with Brown & Brown representatives several times a year and emails daily. “We have a budget to stick to, and they get us pricing, work with the providers for drug coverage, and provide financial advice for retirement plans. They do so much of our legwork.” 

As does Principal Financial Services Inc., which provides the platform for retirement, 401(k) and employee stock-ownership plan. With American Equity contributing biannually to the employee stock ownership plan and Principal buying stocks and keeping the employee accounts segregated, Hasan says the system runs like clockwork. 

Back home again 

And that is essentially what overseeing HR should be about—having a sturdy hand on all personnel matters so everything can run efficiently. That and being mindful of a changing workplace that, in recent years, has emphasized diversity, equity and inclusion as part of a sound business model and recruiting tool. 

He says Iowa’s also an agreeable place to live and build a career, though being based there isn’t a requirement. But he’s glad he is. 

Born in Ames, Hasan graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in finance and Management and expected to be a financial adviser or investor. He commenced his career in 2003 as a data research analyst with Kingland Systems in Ames. Two years he shifted into HR, moving to Chicago for a 2005-to-2009 stretch as a benefits analyst with Avon Hewitt. 

Lorenz Hasan | Operations Vice President, HR | American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co.

“I love Chicago, but after a few years, I realized Iowa was better suited to my wife and me,” he says. “We had that big city feel but belonged in Iowa, it’s been a great home to us and our two girls (ages 5 and 8).” 

Upon his return, Hasan logged a decade in compliance and HR roles with Qualified Plan Consultants and then joined American Equity, which he says is more to his liking. 

“It’s the perfect combination of a big and small company,” he says. “Though we’re growing, we still offer flexible work arrangements, 37-hour work week, allow time off for volunteering, and promote open-door policies with upper management.” 

View this feature in the Vol. V 2023 Edition here.

 

regions:

categories:

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vision” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.

Testimonials

My experience with the team at Vision was great. Their professional and courteous staff took every opportunity to make the production of our article a real pleasure. From the initial contact, through the interview and all the way into production, the process was easy and fun. On behalf of the members of Anza Electric, thank you for highlighting what we do here to make rural living and cooperative membership more valuable in our community and across the country.
– Kevin Short, General Manager, Anza Electric Cooperative Inc.

LATEST EDITION

vol. I 2024

READ NOW

GET VISION STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.