Applied Underwriters

  www.auw.com
  www.auw.com

Applied Underwriters Reviews

Updated October 20, 2014
Updated October 20, 2014
50 Reviews
2.6
50 Reviews
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Sidney R Ferenc
27 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Average

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Applied Underwriters full-time

    Pros

    The benefits are great, especially insurance.

    Cons

    The pay and raises are not great.

  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Not worth the time and headaches.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Account Clerk in Omaha, NE
    Current Employee - Senior Account Clerk in Omaha, NE

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    They have amazing benefits! Free health insurance for yourself, dental is cheap, they have 25 cent vending machines. PTO gradually accrues faster the longer you are there. I loved the people I worked with, you form a close bond when you hate something so much. It's hard to leave due to the benefits and pay.

    Cons

    I don't know where to start. Payroll is stuck doing 9 hour Wednesdays every single week but they are hounding you constantly to move faster but have a high accuracy rate (99.95%), which would be no big deal if you weren't constantly interrupted by co-workers, managers, and the phones, yes payroll doubles as customer service. Holiday weeks, good luck seeing family on days other than the actual holiday, 12+ hours a day make you wish you worked on the holiday itself. The PTO is nice, when your aloud to take it. Lets hope there is no family emergency or you need to go to the hospital and don't have the PTO to cover it, you will get written up and lectured about life emergencies. I wish I would have read reviews before starting this job, I would have never taken it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to the people below you. Maybe they have ideas worth looking at, they deal with the clients first hand and see day to day flaws in the company, pushing them aside because you always know what best is the biggest mistake you will ever make. Lecturing is not worth your time, the people working there are adults and don't need to be berated day in and day out. Also, Promote from within, so discouraging when employees have to train their managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    Misogynist's Paradise

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    25 cent vending machine, fast elevators, great weather in the area

    Cons

    This company is a man's world. Women will never make as much as any of their peers, and will always be in lowly positions. The company dress code means women will dress so that they are attractive to the men who work here. Not one woman with even a mid level role, much less leadership. Never heard of one woman getting a promotion or even a raise. Male managers can say anything as seductive or inappropriate as possible, no one cares. Don't ever speak out or you'll be reprimanded for it. Even all the products the company sells are targeted towards men. It's like they don't even acknowledge that there's one woman who works in this industry, and that women were created to be wives and secretaries.

    I'd say all the same things go for minorities, but there arn't really any that work here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's not the 1950s, update your policies. Woman are involved in not only the industry, but they can be great assets to a company. Don't treat they as eye candy for the men, but rather as having the same potential as anyone else. Update your sexual harassment and dress code policies. Women shouldn't be forced to wear skirts to work, and be subject to being slapped on the butt by managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Decent Place to Spend 8 Hours a Day

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Above-average pay
    Not a lot of meetings - you can actually get work done
    Smart people
    No OT or weekend work
    Good benefits
    Company contributes to your 401(k)
    Free pharmacy/free prescriptions

    Cons

    Not a lot of meetings - this is a pro and con. I would lke to have more interaction with other teams

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote me!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    You'll never make a bigger mistake than working here!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Foster City, CA

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Free pharmacy, 25 cent vending machines, standard benefits.

    Cons

    10 days of combined PTO and sick means everyone comes into work sick. Everyone sits in a cubical in an ugly office building.

    The best part is the managers who know absolutely nothing about what they are doing, and like to have absolute control over their workers. Come in 10 minutes late, you will hear it. Try and call in sick, don't even think about it, you have work to do! Make a suggestion to improve the company's performance, you are completely out of line. They will micromanage every little task you do. And they will make your life hell and no one ever will get a raise, or even complimented on their work.

    There's absolutely no chance of career growth with this company, and after a while, you'll start looking at those 14th floor windows as a window to jump out of, as that's a better option that working here!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your workers. People are smart, maybe not as smart as you, but they do have something to offer, but only when it's a company they care about. Listen to your customers, there's a reason your business is failing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Sales Representative/Underwriting Producer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Financial Technical Analyst in Omaha, NE
    Current Employee - Financial Technical Analyst in Omaha, NE

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Very good uncapped commission structure and benefits. Professional and fun colleagues to work with.

    Cons

    Not a fan of the corporate culture. Many of the team leaders and managers have little work experience outside of the company and it shows.

    The product is now very good but has had a recent history where it had issues. Customer service can be suspect. Management doesn't seem to want to acknowledge either nor do they discuss it candidly. A company that won't/can't acknowledge it's shortcomings has issues.

    The hiring process seems arbitrary. Sales positions require one to take a couple different tests with the intention of hiring the right people for the position. However, my first-person observation has been that neither turn-over nor sales aptitude within the department is any better than other sales teams I've worked with that didn't implement similar testing. Furthermore, the tests often disqualify otherwise very capable candidates.

    Very little willingness to change or implement ideas from employees. I get the sense that it's a very "top-down" organization. They want your effort, not your ideas.

    In the years that I've worked here, to my knowledge, the CEO has never been to the Omaha office.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more willing to discuss the previous iteration of the product; don't leave it up to the new guy/gal to find out from clients about past issues.

    Give customer service more attention. It needs significant improvement.

    Welcome ideas from your employees. Some Fortune 500 companies have c-level executive positions dedicated solely to encouraging, collecting, and implementing employee ideas.

    Scrap, or at least significantly change the hiring process.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    A pathetic place to work. Like a prison, minus the bars.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales in Omaha, NE
    Former Employee - Sales in Omaha, NE

    I worked at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    None. Run, Run, away as fast a possible if you are currently considering working for this company. AU is perpetually hiring because of the high turnover rate, that's a sign and one should pay attention to it. Overall company sells you on the claimed benefits and good earning potential, but then deliver nothing but angst and regulations to constrain creativity.

    Cons

    Office environment is highly regulated and monitored that it feels like 'Big Brother' is always watching your every move and listening in on your conversations. Company Pumps in white noise throughout the buildings as a way of supposedly creating privacy for all, but only causes mental/physical discord among workers. Not open to realistic or logical improvement suggestions. They do offer the "my way or the highway" option, though.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management is completely inebriated with the company kool-aid and too far gone to offer any actionable advice.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    You will never find a worse place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Production Artist in Foster City, CA
    Former Employee - Production Artist in Foster City, CA

    I worked at Applied Underwriters full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    If your goal in life is to kiss upper to sociopaths, coast by in life with a minimal amount of work, and work for a shady company, then AU is for you!

    People are often paid higher than average. Partly because incompetence and inexperience in management means they have no idea what people with that position would make anywhere else, but also because they'd never be able to keep anyone if they didn't. But that's just to get people in. No raises ever, for anyone except the middle managers who make upper 6 digits, and 1% cost of living increase a year.

    Benefits are the bare minimum required by law. Yes, you get health insurance, just like you would at any full time job. There is an 401K account you can contribute to. 10 paid comp and vacation combined days a year (not sure if this will change with new California law requiring minimum sick days).

    Cons

    I worked in the Marketing/Creative Services/Brand Management/Communications department, and pretty much what everyone else says is right. The company is run by people who think they are a different race than everyone else, based on their superior wealth. So wealthy they can easily bring others they choose into the fold, which they do by making them middle managers.

    This department is just as dysfunctional (if not more) than every other department. Managers who have no experience in the field before he got their current position. Complete ego maniacs. The department has about 9 people doing the work of 2. Those who say "yes" all the time, tell the department leads how awesome and amazing and a genius they are. Some people come in around 11am, take long lunches, leave around 5 and often skip whole days. Meanwhile others will work about 20 hours a day, doing the work for the entire department, getting no recognition, and having everything they do criticized and even fired. Never make any suggestions on how to improve anything. Nothing has changed so far, don't fool yourself by thinking it ever will. Just smile, say yes, and keep doing what everyone else does and keep looking for a real job elsewhere. As a department focused on design, you'll never another department for any company as uncreative with the designs. The same 2 designs have been regurgitated over many years.

    You'd think a department who's whole purpose is communication would have a minimal amount of communication, but you'd be wrong. Your co-worker's seat will be empty one day, and the next week there will be someone else sitting there who you will finally have to introduce yourself to after a week or two when you realize you will never be told who this person is. You'll be told one small piece of a puzzle to work on, and never ever attempt to ask for the whole picture, to do so is considered insubordination. And if the manager makes up something and tells you to do it, and it makes no sense or is even just made up words, do not ask questions, just throw something quick and crappy together, chances are he's just faking a project to coast his own way through, so what you do doesn't matter as much as saying "yes" does. Managers coms into the office about 4 hours total during the week, and you work on their schedule. And with a real job being a stay at home dad, you'll quickly learn the school and sleep schedule of their kids, and if you're one of the people on the short list to be booted out, you'll be getting tons of calls at 6pm (after a full day of silence) with "here's an impossible task that doesn't even make sense you have to do in tonight". And don't forget those calls at 11pm on a Sunday night!

    Especially never question anything related to the budget. If you think the CEO cares if money is being shifted from a budget into someone's pocket, you are wrong.

    I've contracted at many companies, big and small, good and bad, and never seen any company with moral as low as here. No one will make eye contact, because of the fear and depression in their eyes. The office is set up like a sweat shop, with 4 people to one desk. You can feel your co-worker's phone go off when it vibrates (but don't worry, no one would ever think of answering a person call because of fear). The internet is blocked, so while you're expected to work 20 hours some days (those who have to do work that is), and you're expected to answer every work call on the weekend, don't ever think of answering that phone when you're child's school calls or emails. And no personal items at work. 4 conference rooms must be kept empty and clean at all times, and no papers, no pens, nothing should be left on your desk.

    Even the outside contractors are just coasting it. Take a look at the outside company who is on a retainer and paid to write one positive yelp and one glassdoor a week. Even they are just taking the money and not doing their job. Just read the yelp reviews if you want to know what kind of company this is!

    If you do end up having to work here, just keep looking for another job, and in practice saying "yes sir". They are plentiful in the Bay Area, many that pay better and will have less sociopaths as managers and actually some opportunities. After all, you can't do any worse than working here! That will be what gets you through the day, knowing that one day you can leave this fail of a company and department.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Audit the department. How much do they spend v/s have they actually increased profits by anything? And where is all that money going? What do other companies do for their marketing? Why is this department hemorrhaging money?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 6 people found this helpful  

    Looking for long time career? Look elsewhere and save yourself the headache

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Account Clerk in Omaha, NE
    Former Employee - Senior Account Clerk in Omaha, NE

    I worked at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good benefits (except their PTO policy), health insurance for yourself is 100% employer paid. In-house pharmacy. Cheap vendor machines ($0.25 per item). Fun co-workers (at least in my area). Decent way to gain knowledge on the payroll and workmans comp industry (but the threshold of knowledge you get will be reached fairly quick).

    Cons

    Everything else, sadly. I came out of college looking for a job and after several months could only find one at Applied. At training they push the need not to CYA but sadly that's all you will be doing.

    They put you in the payroll department and promise advancement but there is none whatsoever, new jobs posted outside the agency can not be applied to by employees, their internal job postings are 1-2 a month and are not in the area I was interested in anyway. It's impossible to switch departments (I tried very hard), promotion comes in the form of a $1 raise from Account Clerk to Senior Accont Clerk, but this is something nearly everyone gets, and you will be stuck at this spot forever - instead of promoting you further they will always hire from outside the company. Turnover is very high as a result, which matters little, they hire batches of 4-6 new employees every few weeks for payroll.

    The pay is OK but could be so much better, there are no bonuses and no performance raises, you get a very meager "Cost of living" adjustment every year regardless of how well you work (I was a top performer).
    You will be hounded for the errors you make but never praised for your accomplishements. There is mandatory overtime at least one day of the week, sometimes more (especially around holidays) something they neglected to mention in my interview or in training.

    Upper management communication is non-existant, they are in an ivory tower. There's a new policy or procedure change from them nearly every week or two, most of them are just ludicrious and only makes your job harder because they have no idea what goes on operationally - they will not ask for feedback on these changes, they simply must be implemented. You are a drone so get used to it, there is no room for suggestions or innovation.

    PTO accumulates extremely slow, you only can take it in 4 hour increments, and it's all bunched together, there is no separate vacation/sick time. You can NOT take unpaid leave, they will write you up if you take a day off with no PTO (ridiculous).

    They run an antiquated DOS based program for payroll and there's always issues/errors with it - they have been using the same program for 10+ years and still have clients fax in their payroll documents. Get with the times, it's 2014!!!

    I was there for nearly 2 years and was already looking for a new job at the end of the first year. Do yourself a favor and save yourself the headache. There are more cons but I could go on forever - I'll leave it at that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Looking on past reviews from 4+ years, all of the negative experiences are similar to mine, which means management doesn't care. The payroll department will on purposely be used as a worker drone base with high turnover, they are fine with this model, so any advice I provide won't change their minds.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company is going places with the BH backing

    Current Employee - Account Manager in Omaha, NE
    Current Employee - Account Manager in Omaha, NE

    I have been working at Applied Underwriters full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Being backed by Berkshire Hathaway is like winning the golden ticket and owning the chocolate factory. I don't have to worry about the company being around this year, next year and beyond. If I make it that far.

    Matching 401k is great. If you don't take advantage of that you're just throwing free $$ away. Benefits are good (according to my wife who cares about that).

    Interesting work but very structured and all about the Applied way. If you want to be a Steve Jobs dreamer, it ain't going to happen here.

    Compared to my friends, I make a really good salary

    Cons

    PTO 2 weeks includes vacation and sick days. Other jobs I had it was 2 weeks vacation + 5 days sick.
    I've been here 4 years and am still waiting to be promoted.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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