Case Study: National Interstate Insurance

strategic KPIs, National interstate

When companies undergo a merger, they must also take the time to understand each company's respective culture, processes, systems, and workforce. Each factor is integral in developing strategic key performance indicators (KPIs) to merge the companies successfully. Through our rich hiring data, we were able to help National Interstate Insurance successfully merge three distinct companies and meet growth projections.

Key Points:

Client Background: National Interstate has over 900 employees and has been an ERC member for more than 16 years.

Problem: National Interstate was trying to merge three companies with three very different HR perspectives into one functional new system.

Solution: Identify and implement strategic KPIs to integrate the three distinct company cultures, processes, and systems to drive success.

 strategic KPIs, National interstate


"One of the most valuable things about ERC was they helped us build an initial measurement scorecard, which has evolved so many times over the past seven years. Having access to data and market intelligence through the ERC HR Help Desk and NorthCoast 99 surveys has been a game-changer for us. We were able to take some of the things that they measure, like cost per hire and average time to fill stats, and quantify them internally."

Tony Prinzo
Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
National Interstate Insurance

Strategic KPIs Drive Success

To encourage success, we provided National Interstate with hiring and demographic data that fortified their ability to make mindful decisions regarding their employees and develop strategic KPIs. By establishing a set of well-defined objectives, businesses undergoing a merger such as National Interstate can capitalize on new demographic markets, facilitate a successful acquisition of essential employees, and mitigate any potential redundancies.

The data also gave National Interstate the foundation to reevaluate how much time was spent on recruitment efforts in order to identify and implement more efficient processes. Additionally, our HR Help Desk assisted National Interstate with efficiently streamlining and integrating the three diverse HR systems, processes, and cultures during the merger. Our membership services support the company further with assistance in the recruitment and retention of top talent.

About National Interstate Insurance

National Interstate Insurance was established in 1989 and is headquartered in Richfield, Ohio. They also hold operations in Hawaii and Missouri. National Interstate is one of the leading specialty property and casualty insurance companies in the country. They offer more than 30 different insurance products, including traditional insurance, alternative risk transfer (ART) programs for commercial companies, and insurance for specialty vehicle owners.

About ERC

For over 100 years, ERC has provided people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions. Aside from our virtual and on-demand courses, ERC also offers on-demand HR support, compensation & benefit benchmarking data, in-person instructor-led training, individual and team assessments, and employee engagement services. Please contact us to learn more. Or if you are interested in learning more about ERChealth, please visit

Case Study: Apple Growth Partners


Today's job market continues to become more competitive, and ideal candidates are receiving equally competitive offers that include enhanced benefits, a robust salary, and more. Discover how we were able to help Apple Growth Partners drastically improve hiring outcomes and make them stand out above their competition. 

Key Points:

Client Background: Apple Growth Partners (AGP) has approximately 115 employees. They have been an ERC member for over 10 years.

Problem: AGP was expanding geographically, so they needed to develop compensation strategies to attract high-quality candidates.

Solution: We provided AGP with reliable compensation survey data, people programs, and proven strategies that promote competitive and equitable compensation practices to drive growth and scale.

 Chuck Mullen-Apple-Growth_250x290


"We used to use free data for salaries and job descriptions, but it was not specific enough to be effective. You tend to get what you pay for, and we recognized the value in spending a little bit on data that would later pay dividends. ERC’s local, specific and ample data drastically improved our outcomes and positioned us above the competition."

Chuck Mullen
Apple Growth Partners

Equitable and Competitive Compensation Practices Drive Growth

Through the data collected through our reliable compensation surveys, our client, Apple Growth Partners, was able to leverage that information to attract and retain top talent. AGP regularly participated and received recent local employment market data to ensure they were employing equitable and competitive compensation practices to grow. The firm currently has four offices in Northeast Ohio. They opened an additional location in 2018 and are on track for continuous growth. Having the right data bolstered their capabilities to evolve!

AGP is also a member of ERChealth, a leading provider of group health insurance. ERChealth offers small to mid-sized companies with affordable, comprehensive, and quality health insurance for their employees. Through ERChealth, AGP was able to offer employees annual checkups to keep employees happy and healthy while also keeping premiums low.

About Apple Growth Partners

Apple Growth Partners is an award-winning accounting and business advisory firm with more than 75 years of helping grow local businesses. With offices in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Kent, AGP offers a full range of services, including audit and assurance, tax planning and compliance, business valuation, litigation consulting, employee stock ownership plans, and transactional advisory services.

About ERC

For over 100 years, ERC has provided people data and HR services to help leaders make better decisions. Aside from our virtual and on-demand courses, ERC also offers on-demand HR support, compensation & benefit benchmarking data, in-person instructor-led training, individual and team assessments, and employee engagement services. Please contact us to learn more. Or if you are interested in learning more about ERChealth, please visit

Do Companies Request Salary History Information From Job Applicants?

Do Companies Request Salary History Information From Job Applicants? View the Poll Results

You’re filling out a job application and just as you’re about to hit “submit”, you see the dreaded “Please provide the salary for your current position” question. Plus, it has a little red asterisk next to it, so you know you are going to have to answer it to even be considered. Well in recent years a combination of case law and statewide and local statutes are beginning to change that practice, or at least removing that pesky red asterisk.

Read this article...

Should You Still Be Asking Candidates for Their Salary History?


This scenario may sound familiar—you are anxiously searching for a new position and filling out an online job application for your dream role, when a required question appears: ‘What is your current salary?’. Or worse, you are at an in-person interview that seems to be going great when an interviewer asks you what you currently earn.

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Is Your Compensation Data Reliable?

Is your Compensation Data Reliable?

Compensation data is an essential element in organizations' efforts to competitively recruit and retain top talent. This data is used to ensure market competitiveness in employment offers, and provides a foundation for complete compensation strategy reviews. Be careful about the data you use for compensation decisions. It should come from credible compensation surveys.

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Highly Compensated Employee Exemption: The Other FLSA Exemption

highly compensated employee exemption highly compensated employee definition highly compensated employees

If you are like most employers in Northeast Ohio, as soon as the FLSA Final Rule was published back in May, your first step was to take a look at those employees on your payroll that make less than $47,476.

Embarking on this fact finding mission is a great place to start, but while employers are scanning their payroll records, there are two other dollar figures that are also worth a quick look to ensure full compliance with the Final Rule come December 1, 2016.

Although far less common than the Standard Salary Level change for Executive, Administrative, and Professional employees (EAP), employers will also need to assess the exempt status of any employees that fall under the “Highly Compensated Employee” (HCE) exemption.

How do I know if I have a “Highly Compensated Employee” (HCE)?

Currently, the dollar amount for the HCE is set at $100,000 annually, but under the new regulations this figure is increasing to $134,004 annually. However, as with the Standard Exemption, compensation alone does not determine the appropriate classification for an employee. The primary difference between the EAP exemption and the HCE exemption, apart from the salary cap, is the duties test itself.

For the HCE’s a “minimal duties” test is applied, which states—per the DOL’s own fact sheet on HCEs—that the minimum duties test is met if, “the employee customarily and regularly performs at least one of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee”.

While you may have many employees that meet the salary threshold, you may not have any employees that need to be categorized as HCEs. Instead, based on the job duties assigned to most of your employees making over the HCE salary threshold, these employees probably meet more than enough of the duties test to qualify as exempt under the EAP exemption. Again, given the six-figure salary number, in these cases, these individuals are probably more appropriately classified as “Executive” and therefore already fall under the EAP exemption.

What does the new Final Rule change for my HCEs?

Changes to employee classification resulting from the new compensation assessment for HCEs are likely mostly administrative in nature, but should still be reviewed in order to remain compliant. The only major change is the increased figure of $134,004. Also, keep in mind that these employees will also need to meet the new Standard Exemption level of $913 weekly in base salary (this can be in the form of either a set salary or fee per the regulations).

The requirement to meet the Standard Exemption level is no different, but the dollar amount itself has increased to fit the Final Rule. The rest, a minimum of $86,528 to be exact, would then come in the form of commissions and other nondiscretionary compensation/bonuses (also the same rule as before).

In addition, the HCE threshold will automatically update every three years to a level that meets the 90th percentile of annual earnings of full-time salaried workers nationally.

So who does this really impact?

Per initial estimates the changes to the HCE exemption will impact about 36,000 employees (in contrast an estimated 4.6 million workers will be impacted by the change to the Standard Exemption Salary increase) Again, the key numbers to look at here are any employees that fall between $100,000 and $134,004 annually.

As an example, if an exempt employee is currently making $120,000 annually and upon review of their job duties, does NOT fully meet the duties test for EAP employees, (and the employer chose not to increase their compensation to meet the new $134,004 threshold or restructure the makeup of their total compensation package to get to this number—there are lots of options!) then this individual’s status would need to change to non-exempt.

Disclaimer: ERC does not provide qualified legal opinions. Information obtained through the site and services should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information ERC provides is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application. ERC recommends that you consult legal counsel for workplace matters.

ERC Training provides FLSA Training which provides a high-level review of the law's elements and requirements.

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