NEW YORK--The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) today announced a major expansion of its group small business distribution capabilities. In 2005, Guardian will open dedicated Small Group Sales (SGS) counterparts for each of its Regional Group Offices (RGO) nationwide.

Guardian's SGS offices specialize in serving the needs of businesses with two to 15 employees. Staffed by benefits experts who understand the challenges small business owners face, SGS' goal is to work with brokers to create customized benefit plans to meet their small business clients' needs.

In a staged rollout over the course of 2005, responsibility for small groups for all of Guardian's 47 RGOs nationwide, both new business and in force plans, will be transferred to the expanded SGS offices. An additional SGS office will be opened in mid-2005 to support sales in Western time zones.

"Guardian is big on small business," said Rich White, Senior Vice President, Group Insurance, Guardian. "We are focusing on the market for businesses with two to 15 employees because we are in tune with the unique needs of small business owners and we can provide custom-designed benefit solutions to meet those needs."

The Small Group Sales offices will offer many advantages to brokers and potential clients alike, including the following:

-- Customized, high quality benefit programs for companies with as few as two employees;

-- Sales support that understands the needs and challenges of small business owners;

-- Fast, efficient service including two-day turnaround on proposals;

-- Dedicated staff for in force business;

-- Rate discounts for multiple lines of coverage.

"The extension of our specialized SGS capabilities is an important part of our overall strategy to increase market share in the small business market," said Mike Byrne, Vice President Group Sales, Guardian. "I'm excited about our ability to provide top-of-the line products and services to support brokers and their clients in this often overlooked market."

The expansion will commence in January and small group sales support will be extended to local RGO offices over the course of the year.


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