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May 5, 2010

2010 Shining Star Award kicks off Disability Insurance Awareness Month

Assurant Employee Benefits honors paraplegic skier for outstanding accomplishments to raise awareness about disability

He’s appeared on Oprah, Dateline and in People’s ’50 Most Beautiful’ issue. He is also the most-decorated skier in Paralympic history, was recently inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, and is the first and only paraplegic to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. On May 5, Chris Waddell can add another achievement to his list Shining Star of Perseverance Honoree.

Waddell received the honor, awarded by Assurant Employee Benefits, because of the drive and persistence with which he recovered from a 1988 skiing accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The award presentation kicks off Disability Insurance Awareness Month, dedicated to informing the public about the long-term effects of disability and how they can prepare themselves.

This year’s award was designed by Debbie Wagner, an artist who suffered from brain tumors that left her disabled. As part of the program, Assurant Employee Benefits’ president John Roberts presented a donation Waddell’s One Revolution, which he started to create opportunity through mobility. The foundation delivers handcycles to developing countries to provide the disabled with not only transportation but a way to participate in commerce.

This marks the 8th year of the Shining Star award, which started as a way to recognize the challenges that come with disability. As a carrier of disability insurance, Assurant Employee Benefits’ is committed to helping claimants return to work, and recently earned high marks in an industry study on claimant satisfaction.

“We are proud to present the Shining Star award every year, and Chris has certainly shown the world that someone with a disability can still achieve outstanding things, ” said John Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Assurant Employee Benefits. “This award demonstrates our commitment as a company to helping all people facing a disability do the same thing.”

About Assurant Employee Benefits
Assurant Employee Benefits specializes in quality employee benefits and services, including long-term and short-term disability, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dental coverage, and disability reinsurance management services. Assurant Employee Benefits also offers voluntary (employee-paid) disability, life and dental plans. Products and services marketed by Assurant Employee Benefits are underwritten or provided by Union Security Insurance Company or an affiliated prepaid dental company. In New York, products are marketed by Assurant Employee Benefits and underwritten by Union Security Life Insurance Company of New York, which is licensed in New York and has its principal place of business in Syracuse, New York. Plans contain limitations and exclusions. Underwriting flexibility allows Assurant Employee Benefits to market tailor-made benefit plans for groups of most any size. Assurant Employee Benefits is located in Kansas City, Mo. (

Assurant Employee Benefits is part of Assurant, which offers specialized insurance products and related services in North America and selected international markets. Its four key businesses – Assurant Employee Benefits, Assurant Health, Assurant Solutions and Assurant Specialty Property – have partnered with clients who are leaders in their industries and have built leadership positions in a number of specialty market segments worldwide.

Assurant, a Fortune 500 company and a member of the S&P 500, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AIZ. Assurant has approximately 14,000 employees worldwide and is headquartered in New York’s financial district. (

Media contact:

Megan Hutchison, Public Relations Specialist
Assurant Employee Benefits
2323 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Ph: 816.556.7815


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