20th Anniversary Story | Kevin Kim: Back in the Running

Change of pace

For years Kevin Kim’s doctor had been telling him, ‘You are getting older, Mr. Kim — you need to take care of yourself.’

But Kevin wasn’t persuaded. “When you’re younger, you think you’re invincible and you never really listen to the doctor. But I was working as a training manager at the phone company and needed a way to relieve the stress of my job, so I took up running.” That was over 20 years ago, and he’s been running ever since — participating in “at least 15” Great Aloha Runs and at half-marathons as far away as Orlando's Disney World.

The majority of the medals at Kevin's cubicle are from Disney half-marathons.

But when Kevin quit his job at the phone company after 22 years, his hobby had to take a back seat for a while. “I was looking for a different kind of company to work for and found UHA. I was really excited by their culture of health and wellness,” Kevin recalls. “But since I was totally unfamiliar with the insurance field, I spent most of my time focused on learning all this new information so that I could do well at my new job. As a result, my active lifestyle suffered — I stopped running and I gained back a bunch of weight.”

But then Kevin found out that UHA offered a WeightWatchers® program to its employees as an included benefit, and he signed up at the behest of one of his co-workers. “There were about 40 of us involved, and collectively we lost over 500 pounds over 16 weeks! I myself lost over 30 pounds and I’ve kept it off for almost four years now.”

1st image: Kevin and his wife on a trip in 2008.

2nd image: At an office birthday celebration in 2012, two months after he completed a WeightWatchers® program.

"Walking the talk" of wellness

Since Kevin came to work at UHA, he’s taken the company culture of wellness to heart. “The management team is really good about giving us wellness time off during our work day. Most days, if I can work it in, I’ll go for a run during my lunch hour -- maybe three miles or so. Then I come back in the afternoon, energized and ready to go for the rest of the day. I eat healthier, I exercise more, and I’m more diligent about it. I’m much more aware of the benefits of a good work/home balance. It has all helped make me a better individual, a healthier individual.”

Kevin works in the Employer Services Department as a Special Projects Administrator. As a Certified Technical Trainer, he trains UHA account representatives in responding to customer issues. “Customer service — getting back to folks in a timely manner, giving them correct information the first time, following up accordingly — all of those things go into making our customers as happy as possible.” Kevin also trains employer groups in the procedures necessary to get the greatest benefit for their employees, through webinar training and face-to-face encounters. But he is always mindful of the need to “walk the talk.”

“I’ve been inspired by the culture of wellness here at UHA to make changes in my own lifestyle, and to take full advantage of the benefits offered to me. But I think it would be hypocritical for me as a representative of UHA to tell our customers to live healthier lives if I didn’t do it myself.

“Wellness and prevention isn’t just something that we dictate to our members. As employees and as a company, we live that same type of philosophy: better health, better life. We understand that it’s important and we live it just like you do, because we’re part of the community just like everybody else.”

Kevin’s efforts have been paying off: over the past three years, employer surveys have shown that the quality of UHA’s customer service has been improving steadily and dramatically. “We make or exceed our goals at least 9 months out of the year. There are always some months that are more difficult than others, but I think by identifying those things that we do well and working hard to improve those things we don’t do as well, we’ll continue to improve as a department and as a company. That’s my goal when I come to work every day — hit the ground running!”