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The Redwoods Group

The Redwoods Group

Morrisville, N.C.
Founded: 1998
Employees: 90
2009 revenue: $11,603,000
Estimated 2010 revenue: $12,450,000

Insurance industry veteran Kevin Trapani founded the Redwoods Group in 1998 to cater to a market underserved by most insurers: YMCAs. These face risks that make them unattractive customers for many insurance companies, including the possibility that children will drown, be sexually abused, or hurt or killed in car accidents. Trapani has used data from Redwoods' significant client base-—the company insures 480 of the country's 970 YMCAs—to reduce the incidence of those events. A decade ago, he says, about a dozen children died each year in drownings at YMCA pools. Last year, the number stood at zero after Redwoods analyzed drownings and then worked with clients to reduce risk (for example, by repositioning lifeguards to elevated chairs and training them to scan the bottoms of pools instead of surfaces). The company's efforts go beyond routine incentives offered by insurers, such as discounts for good drivers, to actively working with clients to adopt practices that save lives, says Trapani, 53. Last year, Redwoods made over 3,000 visits to its 525 clients, which include Jewish Community Centers. The group has helped customers make operational changes in other areas, such as eliminating the use of 15-passenger vans, which the company's data showed have higher rates of serious crashes than minivans or small school buses. Trapani says the company's best practices have also driven down the incidence of sexual abuse at client sites by 40 percent in the last six years.