Aflac: Ask About it at Work

Most of us have seen the famous Aflac commercials featuring the Aflac Duck who frustratedly quacks the company’s name to unsuspecting prospective policy holders. But did you know that Aflac Incorporated is one of the world’s most admired insurance companies? Founded in 1955 and based in Columbus, Georgia, Aflac underwrites a wide range of insurance policies. It is most known for its payroll deduction insurance coverage, which pays cash benefits when a policyholder has a covered accident or illness. In 2012, Aflac was listed as one of the Top 40 Best Companies for Diversity for the ninth consecutive year. It has also been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 15 consecutive years. 

Not only is Aflac a great company to work for, but they are also a very socially responsible company. They are an eight-time recipient of Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list. Through a partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Aflac has contributed more than $79 million to childhood cancer research and treatment. The center has now officially been named the Aflac Cancer Center Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.

Aflac employees are formally involved in an array of charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Easter Seals, and Ducks with Hearts, a partnership with United Way.  Aflac’s stated objectives include the decrease of its environmental impact, for which the company has entered into a partnership with the Clean Air Campaign to encourage employees to engage with greater frequency in alternate commuting methods. You can read about all the other great things Aflac is doing in their annual Corporate Citizenship Report.

Dan Amos is Aflac’s CEO. He is one of the world’s most respected business leaders. In 2008, when corporate executives were heavily scrutinized for taking massive pay packages as investor losses began piling up, Dan Amos agreed to give up his “golden parachute” in the event that the company was to be taken over. Shortly after, Aflac became the first publicly traded company to let shareholders vote on CEO pay. “Say on pay” reforms strengthen the relationship between the board of directors and shareholders, ensuring that board members fulfill their fiduciary duty. Amos’ deontological approach to ethics seems to go against the grain. According to Amos, ethical problems “are not like wine, where the older it gets the better it gets. The older bad news gets the worse it stinks. I believe it’s important that when you’ve got a problem, you address it immediately. I believe open disclosure is very important.”

But we all know that the main reason for the company’s success is its famous commercials. Here’s a look at one of my personal favorites:



6 thoughts on “Aflac: Ask About it at Work”

  1. I think Dan Amos’s approach to CEO pay is admirable in that it tries to make a difference in the way corporate executives receive incentives. It says a lot that Amos is willing to experiment with new systems when he feels there is a problem. Has the “say on pay” policy been working well for the company?


  2. Considering how involved Aflac gets in philanthropic work, do you think Aflac is incentivized to participate in such activities because its an insurance company or do you think it’s just a good company?


  3. I believe Aflac is a good company, however, I also believe there is some incentive to participate in philanthropic work. Companies feel a need to be social responsible because of the sustainability movement. Consumers are looking at companies not just for what they sell but they are also looking at what foundations the company is associated with and how green their production processes are. Thus, partnering with the Clean Air Campaign helps improve the image of Aflac to consumers and is a major incentive for the company.


  4. Even though “say on pay” may help solve a difficult agency problem and increase social responsibility, I think Stout ultimately would have a problem with it. She would cite the fact that fewer than 2 percent of pay plans in the United States have been denied by shareholders in say to pay votes. She’s also not a huge fan of giving shareholders any more power than they already have.


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