SmokeFree Wisconsin Announces Major Gift From Assurant Health

National Milwaukee-based health insurer says reducing tobacco use a top priority

MILWAUKEE, May 22 /PRNewswire/ — Assurant Health, a major health insurance company based in Milwaukee is making a $50,000 grant to SmokeFree Wisconsin to help the organization reduce tobacco use in Wisconsin.

The Assurant Health Foundation will provide the grant to SmokeFree Wisconsin to assist its statewide effort to help reduce youth smoking, help adults quit and help protect workers from second hand smoke.

“As a major employer in Wisconsin and the oldest health insurance company in the nation, we are committed to the health of people in this state and around the country,” said Rob Guilbert, President of the Assurant Health Foundation and Vice President, External Communication at Assurant Health. “If we can significantly reduce tobacco use, we can also reduce the tens of thousands of preventable tragedies and painful losses every year for families when their loved ones become addicted to tobacco and then suffer from tobacco related diseases.

“This grant helps save lives and saves health care resources,” he added.

SmokeFree Wisconsin Executive Director Maureen Busalacchi noted that Assurant Health, with 3,000 employees, is one of the more progressive health insurance companies in the country because it is actively fighting against the nation’s costliest and most preventable diseases.

“In Wisconsin, smoking-related diseases kill more than 8,000 people a year — and consume about a fifth of all health care and health insurance premium dollars.

“This grant from Assurant Health is not only generous, but it’s also progressive business thinking.”

SmokeFree Wisconsin is a not-for-profit coalition of health and health advocacy organizations committed to reducing the burden of tobacco on Wisconsin. Wisconsin has about 840,000 smokers and a health care bill of about $2 billion to treat smoking-related diseases.

Assurant Health has been in business since 1892 and is the brand name for products underwritten and issued by Time Insurance Company, John Alden Life Insurance Company and Union Security Insurance Company. Together, these three underwriting companies provide health insurance coverage for almost one million people nationwide. Each underwriting company is financially responsible for its own insurance products. Primary products include individual medical, small group, short term and student health insurance products, as well as non-insurance products and consumer-choice products such as Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. With almost 3,000 employees, Assurant Health is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., and has operations offices in Minnesota, Idaho and Florida, as well as sales offices across the country. The Assurant Health Web site is