Business

And the Emmy goes to...

The Farmers Life Insurance video production team of Kevin Allar and Rion Groves won an Emmy on May 30 at the 46th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards night, held at the Snoqualmie Casino. From left: Keanna Allar, Kevin Allar, Rion Groves and Cindy Groves. - Contributed photo
The Farmers Life Insurance video production team of Kevin Allar and Rion Groves won an Emmy on May 30 at the 46th Annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards night, held at the Snoqualmie Casino. From left: Keanna Allar, Kevin Allar, Rion Groves and Cindy Groves.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Local duo repeats win

Local Farmers New World Life executives Kevin Allar and Rion Groves are not your average insurance company employees. And for the second year running, they each have an Emmy Award sitting on their desks to prove it.

The producer-director team, competing with the likes of KING 5-parent BELO Communications, Idaho Public Television and Jones Advertising, won the broadcasting award on May 30 at the 46th annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards.

Their short informational video, “Why Critical Illness? The Tommi Simcox Story,” won the award in the “Advanced Media - Informational/Instructional” category. The awards, hosted by the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, were handed out at a black-tie event emceed by local TV/radio personality Pat Cashman at the Snoqualmie Casino.

“The place was just packed,” said Allar. “It was like a mini-academy awards ceremony ... That’s what makes it special, when you make a speech. You’re right in front of all these TV personalities.”

The awards, focused on local programming passed over by the larger national Daytime Emmy Awards, recognizes the best work in televised and video broadcasting for Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington state.

Farmers Life recieved four other nominations for an Emmy, an unusual coup for a business used to competing with actuarial tables instead of a video camera and sound production equipment.

Allar and Groves picked up the award for their five-minute entry focused on the life story of a Missouri woman. The pair told the story of Farmers policyholder Tommi Simcox, who was aided by her insurance in keeping up with everyday expenses while battling breast cancer.

“I go into their home to ask them to share with me their story,” Allar said. “They’re real-life people and I think that’s why they come across so well.”

Based on Mercer Island, the two men are trying to accomplish in-house what most companies outsource to professional video production and advertising firms.

Allar said the Internet and his company’s investment in high-quality cameras and video equipment has allowed Farmers to produce videos on the Internet from their local office. Most of his work is available on YouTube and the Farmers Web site. Excited by the possibilities, Swiss insurance giant (and Farmers parent) Zurich Financial Services Group is trying to book the Mercer Island team for video and commercial production work across the United States and Europe.

“I’ve got so much on my plate, it’s not even funny,” Allar said.

Allar’s work as a producer, director and editor has earned him over 50 national awards so far. After graduating from California State University at Northridge in 1980 with a Radio-TV-Film degree, he freelanced at several Los Angeles TV production studios. Allar joined Farmers Insurance in 1981 and moved to Seattle with his family in 1984. The Snoqualmie resident, who needed only to drive across town to get to the awards, is married with four sons.

Farmers New World Life’s office is located at 3003 77th Ave. S.E.

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