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posted: 11/12/2012 6:00 AM

Elgin firm president aims to make deposit boxes more secure

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  • Lisa Caradine

    Lisa Caradine

  • Daniel P. Kelly

    Daniel P. Kelly

  • David Friederick

    David Friederick

  • John O'Neill

    John O'Neill

  • Don Gingold

    Don Gingold

  • Erika McCann

    Erika McCann

  • Timothy Alexander

    Timothy Alexander

  • Michael Stanley

    Michael Stanley

  • Mark Mason, left, Jerry Pluard, and Mike Bolahan, of Safe Deposit Box Insurance LLC.

      Mark Mason, left, Jerry Pluard, and Mike Bolahan, of Safe Deposit Box Insurance LLC.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Jerry Pluard, left, and Norman Leve of Safe Deposit Box Insurance LLC in Elgin.

      Jerry Pluard, left, and Norman Leve of Safe Deposit Box Insurance LLC in Elgin.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer


A certified public accountant and a lawyer, Jerry Pluard of Barrington spent 25 years in the insurance industry. He, like a lot of other consumers, didn't realize that the contents of a safe-deposit box weren't insured by banks or the FDIC in the case of theft, flood, fire or other problem.

So he questioned what the point was of keeping something safe and secure, when in reality, it totally wasn't. He thought.

He came up with a plan and has a hearing at the patent office on Wednesday. He's seeking a patent on the new concept while working on getting his new company,, registered and authorized in every state so he can sell the new insurance product. So far, the Elgin-based company is licensed and authorized to do business in 16 states.

"We're hoping to protect the concept to insure without knowing what's inside," Pluard said.

The renter of the safe deposit box assigns a value to the contents and then insures it based on that declaration. No proof is required, which upholds the privacy that is ensured with safe deposit boxes, he said.

Pluard, who is president of the company, is partners with Norman Leve of St. Louis, and their firm has received venture capital. AmTrust Group in New York is the underwriter.

So far, he said he's working with about a half-dozen banks in the suburbs, including Lisle Savings Bank, BMO Harris and West Suburban Bank. So far, the firm has insured about 20 customers in Illinois, Texas, Michigan and New Jersey.

"Each year, an average of 20 to 30 bank burglaries involving safe deposit boxes and floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and other events that damage banks and credit unions place the contents in the safe deposit box at risk," he said.

5th year for Geneva sweet toothers

Elaine Swedun and Nancy Cornwall are marking the 5th anniversary of their store, The Latest Crave Cupcake Shop in Geneva, with celebrations this week. The Latest Crave began as a wholesaler of English toffee and later developed into Geneva's first cupcake shop in November 2008, where its menu now features about 30 original cupcake flavors, along with homemade pies and frosting shots.

New exec at Advocate

Lisa Caradine is the new vice president of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Children's Hospital, part of Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care. She will develop, execute and manage the brand strategy for Advocate Children's Hospital in partnership with the system.

Back from Hawaii

Laura Tiernan has joined Cary-based Paxem Inc. in its new office in Lake Zurich as a customer service consultant. She had been living in Hawaii with her husband while he served in the Navy. She returned to Illinois this year after her husband retired from the Navy after 20 years.


Ryan Vero is the new senior vice president and president of grocery, drug and pharmacy businesses at Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings. Before that, he was executive vice president and chief merchandising/marketing officer for Naperville-based OfficeMax Inc. ... Daniel P. Kelly, acting president and CEO of Naperville-based Tellabs Inc., and Andrew Szafran, Tellabs executive vice president and chief financial officer, will speak to the investment community at the UBS Global Technology Conference Nov. 14 in New York.

Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of Davisware in West Dundee, said she has hired David Friederick as a technical product specialist, who will work with the Sales Group and the Development Group. ... Cathy Donohoe, an Edward Jones financial adviser in Grayslake, has been appointed as a recruiting leader for the firm's women's initiative in Illinois. She will lead a group of Edward Jones financial advisers who will work closely with women in Illinois interested in a career with the global financial-services firm.

St. Charles resident John O'Neill has recently joined Glenview-based SurePayroll as senior manager of business development, and will be responsible for driving private-label and co-branded payroll services nationally. ... Naperville resident Don Gingold said on Facebook that he got the part of Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker, in "Oliver!" for the Magical Starlight Theatre in January. When he's not acting, he's building websites at Sprocket Websites. ... Erika McCann is the new flute, saxophone and clarinet instructor at Apollo Music Inc. in Aurora. She also performs with the Naperville Flute Choir and Naperville Municipal Band.

Daniel P. Cawley was awarded Realtor of the Year by Northern Illinois Commercial Association of Realtors. Cawley has been an active member of the real estate community in the Chicagoland area since 1985. He started Downers Grove-based Cawley Chicago Real Estate in 1998. ... Bonny Thomas was promoted to Visa manager at Waukegan-based Consumers Credit Union. Replacing Thomas as the branch manager in the Mundelein office was Jim Eisert, formerly the counter service manager at CCU's Waukegan office. Jennifer Wenckowski replaced Eisert in Waukegan, resulting in the promotion of Anissa Ivy, as the new counter service manager in the Gurnee office.

Kim Feil today becomes the new executive vice president and chief marketing and strategy officer at Naperville-based OfficeMax Inc. ... Carol Ann Killian has joined MB Financial Bank as a first vice president in currency exchange banking at the bank at 6111 N. River Road in Rosemont. ... Indianapolis-based OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. is awarding the Evans Scholars Foundation a $2,000 grant thanks to Michael Flahaven, regional sales director for retirement business in Illinois and Wisconsin and based in Arlington Heights. The foundation provides full housing and tuition scholarships to caddies across the country, many from modest means. Currently, 835 caddies are attending college on scholarship. Flahaven is one of nearly 10,000 alumni of the program and gives back to the program financially and by volunteering at events.

Paramedic Timothy "T.J." Alexander of Assured Healthcare Inc. in Gurnee has completed a comprehensive course through the Society of Certified Senior Advisors and earned the designation of certified senior advisor. ... North Riverside resident Michael Stanley has been promoted to managing partner of the Addison store for exterior building products distributor ABC Supply Co. Inc. in Beloit, Wis. ABC Supply is a wholesale distributor of roofing, siding, windows and other products. ... Lisle-based Catamaran Corp. Chairman and CEO Mark Thierer will be the keynoter at The Executives' Club of Chicago breakfast on Dec. 6 at the Swissotel, 323 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago.

Robert Musur has been appointed as managing director in the Corporate Valuation Services division of Deerfield-based Great American Group Inc. ... Oakbrook Terrace-based ARCO/Murray National Construction Co. Inc.'s Chris Niedhammer, director of operations for the Interiors Division, was the project executive and Scott Cave was the project manager for the tenant improvement, for an ob-gyn and primary pediatric care office for Steward Health Care in Allston, Mass., on behalf of Chicago-based Ares Management. ... Inverness resident Terrence H. Kral has been named a trustee to the Park Ridge-based Million Dollar Round Table Foundation board. Kral is a 38-year member of the Round Table.

•There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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