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News Release: Best Companies Don't Waver on Employee Benefits

Announcing The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security - 2010

August 24, 2010 (Des Moines, IA) - Despite a turbulent economy, 10 growing companies stood firm in their commitment to employee financial security by maintaining, and even adding to, their first-class employee benefits.

These 10 organizations have been selected by an independent panel of judges as The Principal® 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security - 2010. They are:

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association, Washington, D.C. - professional association
  • Clif Bar & Company, Berkeley, Calif. - organic health food and drink manufacturer
  • Davidson Technologies, Inc., Huntsville, Ala. - aerospace and defense consultant
  • Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb. - property and casualty insurance
  • Franklin International, Columbus, Ohio - adhesive manufacturer
  • Red River Credit Union, Texarkana, Texas - federally chartered credit union
  • RLI, Peoria, Ill. - specialty insurer covering niche markets
  • The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Fla. - private college prep school
  • The Delp Company, Maumee, Ohio - wealth, risk management and employee benefits consulting firm
  • The Graham Company, Philadelphia, Pa. - insurance broker and consultant

Profiles of the winners are available at www.principal.com/10best.

"We are all aware of how hard growing businesses have been hit by the downturn. For a whole host of industries to remain committed to offering an excellent benefit package is impressive," said David Wray, 10 Best judge and president The Profit Sharing/401k Council of America (PSCA).

Luke Vandermillen, vice president at the Principal Financial Group®, added, "Adversity inspires innovation and that's what our panel of judges found with this year's winners. They worked with employees to find creative ways to cut expenses without cutting benefits. They focused on adding and improving benefits that really meet the unique needs of their employees. And they greatly expanded wellness programs to hold down health care costs."

This is the ninth consecutive year The Principal® has sponsored the program. It honors growing companies (five - 1,000 employees) for their commitment to employees' financial security through outstanding employee benefit offerings.

Top trends

Judges noted these top trends among this year's winners:

  • Well-developed wellness. There was a dramatic increase in the quality and creativity of wellness programs, with more incentives to live healthy lifestyles, including discounts on medical premiums, personal trainers onsite, paid time to work out and subsidies to buy bicycles.
  • Holding health care costs. Winning companies continued to share significantly in the cost of health care, doing what they could to avoid passing along double-digit increases and focusing on helping employees become better health care consumers.
  • Bolstering benefits during the recession. Every winner either added or enhanced benefits during the economic downturn. Two companies added retirement programs: a defined benefit pension plan and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and several companies added insurance and supplemental coverages.Winners also held fast to their generous retirement plan contributions.
  • Expanding education. All companies offer one-on-one meetings with financial professionals or benefits specialists and all but one pays for investment advice, to help employees make the best use of benefits. One company requires one-on-one meetings for new hires and those nearing retirement.

Winners know that good benefits = good business

"If you treat people well - especially in tough times - they're going to make that extra effort to keep the company moving forward.Companies that care about their people also perform better. Nice guys really do finish first," said Corey Rosen, 10 Best judge and executive director and founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership.

The winning companies have turnover rates that are well below others in their industry and significantly lower than the national average. The Principal 10 Best Companies' average annual voluntary turnover rate is 7.1 percent, compared to the national average of 24 percent.

"While the downturn has impacted every company differently, The Principal 10 Best share a common philosophy: investing in employees is a top priority," said Vandermillen. "They know that great benefits are a key to getting great work from great people - and all of that can lead to a better bottom line."

Learn more about The Principal 10 Best Companies for Employee Financial Security at www.principal.com/10best

About the Principal Financial Group

The Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®)[1] is a leader in offering businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement and investment services, life and health insurance, and banking through its diverse family of financial services companies. A member of the Fortune 500, the Principal Financial Group has $284.7 billion in assets under management[2] and serves some 18.9 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG.

[1]
The Principal Financial Group and The Principal are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.
[2]
As of June 30, 2010.
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Call 515.246.4907 or see the full Media Relations contact list.

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