Corporate philanthropy: Sylvia Group in the community

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We make a difference for our clients and our community.

dogreatthingsSylvia Group is composed of people who are your friends, your neighbors, your biggest supporters. We’re proud to be an integral member of the community, and we appreciate opportunities to volunteer and make a positive difference. It’s part of our agency’s mission statement, and it’s who we are as individuals.

Rotch-Jones-Duff House has a special place in our hearts

2-14-2020 Dress Down for RJD House

Valentine's Day 2020 was also a dress-down day at Sylvia Group, with team members wearing red or pink and making a donation to New Bedford's Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum. Participants included: front, from left, Ray Armstrong, Heather Heffernan and Kathleen Fuller; back, from left, Kelsey Martins, Zenaide Noia, Karen Sylvia, Maureen Armstrong, Lubelia Lima, JoAnn Tavares, Jessica Bussiere, Paula Gomes and Denise Rego.

State organization honors Heather Heffernan as Member of the Year

Heather MAIW

Heather Heffernan has held several titles since joining the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women (MAIW) in 2013: Chapter Secretary, Chapter Treasurer, State Treasurer ...

Last week she added a new one: MAIW Member of the Year.

According to the organization, the award recognizes outstanding representation of the "MAIW spirit through mentoring, good works, loyalty, encouragement, support and fellowship."

A member of the Sylvia Group team since 2012 and now our Director of Finance, Heather is known for many qualities — energy, financial acumen and personal generosity ranking high among them — but spirit might be first and foremost. Hard-working and unfailingly cheerful, she's the consummate team player at an agency where teamwork is among our hallmarks, and her enthusiasm is contagious. In other words, she's the type of teammate who makes everyone around her better.

Her colleagues in the MAIW obviously feel the same way.

A member of the Bristol Chapter of the MAIW since 2013, Heather served as Chapter Secretary in 2013-14 before becoming Chapter Treasurer the following year. She has been Treasurer of the state organization since 2016.

Senior Partner Rosemarie Lopes aiding MA efforts to lower health care costs

MA State House_cropped

Rosemarie Lopes has spent years helping to lower health insurance costs for businesses and their staffs — as both an executive with Sylvia Group and a broker/advisor working with other organizations. Now she's lending her insights to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as a member of an advisory group appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Rose Lopes_473 cropped-1Since the council's formation in January 2020, Rose has served on the state's Merged Market Advisory Council, established through an executive order from Baker to study the Massachusetts' "unique merged health insurance market structure, which blends individual and small group coverage segments with the intention of increasing and stabilizing its risk pool to provide greater access to affordable health insurance coverage."

The council is due to issue its report to Baker, including independent actuarial analysis and recommendations, by April 30, 2020.

On a roll for Buttonwood Park Zoo

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Members of the Sylvia Group Sailfish team who took part in the third annual Fish Bowl to benefit Buttonwood Park Zoo included, from left, intern Ian Dumas, Customer Relations Specialist Lori Dumas, Accounting and Systems Specialist Kelsey Martins and Personal Insurance Account Manager Zee Noia. The event took place on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, at Wonder Bowl in New Bedford. 

Ugly Christmas sweater day helps beautify and preserve historic New Bedford

Ugly Sweaters Preservation Society 2

For our final dress-down day of 2019, we donned ugly Christmas sweaters and donated to the New Bedford Preservation Society. Founded in 1974, the society works to protect property and landscapes of historical and architectural significance to New Bedford. It also publishes brochures, hosts house and walking tours, posts historical markers and conducts the Re-Leaf Program, which aims to return residential streets to their tree-lined glory.

Taking part in Servpro's holiday toy drive


When Servpro of Dartmouth / New Bedford invited Sylvia Group to participate in its holiday toy drive for the the Women's Center, we happily accepted. On Monday, Dec. 16, Servpro Sales & Marketing Representative Ana De Araujo visited our office to pick up the toys we collected, some of which are seen here with Ana, left, and Sylvia Group President/CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong. We again thank our friends at Servpro of Dartmouth/New Bedford for making us a partner in the drive, and we thank all the members of our team who contributed.

Kids rule at the Boys & Girls Club Steak and Burger Dinner

Boys & Girls Club_Steak and Burger Dinner

For the second consecutive year, Sylvia Group served as a sponsor of the Steak and Burger Dinner, hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham at the Century House in Acushnet. Club members feasted on steak while the adults dined on burgers, and everyone got to enjoy an uplifting speech by New England Patriots Hall of Famer Matt Light. Clockwise from front are Sylvia Group Executive Vice President John Beauregard, President/CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Account Executive Erin Lemieux, Business Relationship Manager Jerry Mizner, Director of Marketing and Communications Vin Sylvia, club members David and Cameron, retired New Bedford Fire Department District Chief Peter Molleo and two of our friends from SERVPRO of Dartmouth/New Bedford, President/Owner Doug Glassman and Sales and Marketing Representative Brienna Wood.

Making the historic district look a lot like Christmas with Downtown New Bedford Inc.

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Members of Sylvia Group were among the volunteers working with Downtown New Bedford Inc. to decorate the city's Whaling National Historical Park. From left, Erin Lemieux, Vin Sylvia and Andrew Armstrong spent the morning of Nov. 25 adorning the districts lamp posts with laurel and ribbons. They're seen here in front of Carter's Clothing and Footwear, a longtime downtown institution.

Helping the United Way of Greater New Bedford provide Thanksgiving meals

United Way Hunger Heroes
Sylvia Group Director of Marketing and Communications Vin Sylvia and his wife, Mary, were fortunate enough to secure two coveted spots in the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual Hunger Heroes program. Mary and Vin spent the afternoon of Nov. 23 assembling food packages for area families' Thanksgiving meal. All told, the Hunger Heroes assembled 1,000 packages, which the United Way then distributed — many along with turkeys — before the holiday.

Stocking up the YWCA's new residential and childcare facility

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Congratulations to YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts Executive Director Gail Fortes and the Y's staff and clients on the organization's new women's residential and children's daycare center adjoining its historic main building in downtown New Bedford. Gail, at center in top photo, provided Sylvia Group Account Executive Andrew Armstrong, left, and President/CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong with a guided tour of the new building after they delivered eight laundry baskets — one for each residential unit in the building — full of goods for the residents and children, all donated by Sylvia Group employees. In bottom photo, some of those employees — attired in the YWCA's colors of orange, black and white for the agency's monthly dress-down day — are seen with their donations.

Annual blood drive aims to save lives

2019 Blood Drive

For the fifth straight year, Account Manager Jo Ann Tavares, at right in left photo, organized the Sylvia Group Blood Drive. On October 29, the American Red Cross collected 26 pints of blood from 24 donors. We'd like to thank our staff, our guest donors and the Red Cross team who collected our donations. In addition to organizing the drive, Jo Ann, seen with friend and colleague Kathy Fuller, donated blood and signed in other donors. At right, Solange Perry, foreground, and Ray Armstrong, back, also were among the donors.

Along for the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride

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Sylvia Group's October dress-down day benefitted the Buzzards Bay Coalition, with staff who sponsored teammate Vin Sylvia's participation in the Oct. 6 Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride dressing casually, many in the Coalition's colors: blue and green. Also participating in the Watershed Ride event, as a volunteer along the route, was Kelsey Martins, seen front and center, wearing her official Buzzards Bay Coalition volunteer T-shirt. Vin went on to complete the 75-mile route and raised close to $1,700 for the Coalition.

Helping our clients stay in compliance

2019 Benefits Compliance Seminar

A full house gathered in the Education Center at Buttonwood Park Zoo on Wednesday, Sept. 18, for Sylvia Group's annual seminar on benefits compliance to hear featured presenter Attorney Rick Szczebak explain the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

Last Blast of Summer

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Sylvia Group was a sponsor of the Community Foundation of Southeastern's annual Summer's Last Blast celebration, which took place Sept. 13 in Dartmouth's Nonquitt community. While attendees from our agency apparently were camera shy that night, individuals representing Sylvia Group clients were not. Among them were, from left, Zoe Hansen-DiBello and Mario Rosario of NorthStar Learning Centers and Gail Fortes of the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts. Photo courtesy of SouthCoast Today.

Employee Wellness Day

Wellness Day

Sylvia Group's September Dress-Down Day, Friday, September 13, 2019, coincided with our Employee Wellness Day. We hosted the following events:

Employee and agency donations benefited Dartmouth Friends of the Elderly.

At left, Jo Ann Tavares and Paula Gomes peruse the farm stand. At right are Gorete Cadieux and Kelsey Martins at the healthy breakfast.

Volunteering at Buttonwood Park Zoo on the United Way Day of Caring

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On Wednesday, September 11, Sylvia Group employees volunteered at the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual Day of Caring. Their job was to help spruce up the Buttonwood Park Zoo's grounds by helping with groundwork, raking and various other tasks to get the zoo ready for fall.
Among our volunteers were Julie Vieira, at left, and Sandra Semedo and Jo Ann Tavares, right.

Agency outing at Buttonwood Park Zoo


Sylvia Group's August Dress-Down Day, Thursday, August 1, coincided with our annual agency outing, which took place during the Buttonwood Park Zoo's YahZoo Country Music Fest. Sylvia Group members paid a small fee to dress casually during work hours, with proceeds going to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society. Our staff and family members had a great time at the event!
Among those in attendance were CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong and Chief Financial Officer Heather Heffernan, at left, and Commercial Lines Account Manager Janet Rioux and her husband, Paul, right.

"The Z" rates an A+ with Sylvia Group

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Sylvia Group's June Dress-Down Day, Friday, June 28, raised funds for the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, aka "The Z." In addition to being a longtime sponsor of the Zeiterion Theatre, Sylvia Group is sponsoring the New Bedford Festival Theatre's performance of "Mamma Mia" at The Z, July 19-21 and 15-28.

On the run for the Friends of Marion Recreation

Marion Village 5K Composite

The race was the culmination of a program called "Couch to 5K," but anyone who knows this quartet knows none of them was ever a couch potato.That may be why Sylvia Group teammates, from left in photo at right, Kelsey Martins, Solange Perry, Heather Heffernan and Lauren Houle were still smiling after the Marion Village 5K on the morning of June 22 —just as they were before the race in photo at left. Proceeds from the event benefited the Friends of Marion Recreation.

On the beach and in a boat for the Buzzards Bay Coalition

Buzzards Bay Swim 2019

For the second year in a row, the Sylvia Group nephew-uncle tandem of Andrew Armstrong, left, and Vin Sylvia took part in the Buzzards Bay Swim to benefit the 2019 Buzzards Bay Coalition. On June 22 Andrew returned in his role as kayak guide for one of the event's swimmers. Vin, a swimmer in 2018, this year worked as a starting area volunteer.

Rain no obstacle to Relay for Life

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Members of Sylvia Group and their families braved the weather beginning on the night of June 21 for the 2019 Relay for Life of Greater New Bedford to benefit the American Cancer Society at New Bedford High School.

At left, Sylvia Group Systems Coordinator Denise Rego and her granddaughter, Savannah Rego, show off their homemade costumes before taking to the track with their team, Ma's Butterfly Angels. The team had support from Denise's aunt Isabel Rezendes, right, and from her sister-in-law and co-captain, Rachel Medeiros. Sylvia Group colleagues Lu Lima and Linda Patistea also walked as members of the team.

At right, Sylvia Group Marketing and Events Coordinator Lauren Houle (second from left) walked through the rain with Quest for a Cure teammates, from left, sister Andrea Clough; son Owen Houle; and mother Joyce Clough.

Return engagement: sponsor of the United Way of Greater New Bedford's top fundraiser

Sylvia Group at UNWGNB clambake

We're proud to be a longtime sponsor of the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual Clambake with Lobster fundraiser; an association enjoyed by our entire team. Here are members of the Sylvia Group family enjoying this year's clambake, held June 3 at Pier 3 in New Bedford. Sylvia Group has been a supporter of the United Way and its predecessors since our founding in 1950.

Delivering supplies to the YWCA for Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance program

Dress Down for YWCA

Our May Dress-Down Day was in support of the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts. Members of our team paid a small fee to dress casually in the YWCA's colors of black, white and orange, with proceeds going to purchase menstrual hygiene products for distribution to youth in need through the Greater New Bedford Youth Alliance.

Supporting Dartmouth High School's annual after-prom party

              Dress Down for DHS After-Prom
Sylvia Group's April 2019 dress-down day fundraiser was in support of Dartmouth High School's annual after-prom party, created to provide a safe and substance-free night for students. Staff members dressed casually in DHS green (or some variation) and donated to the event.

United Way recognizes service of Loaned Executive Andrew Armstrong 

The United Way of Greater New Bedford recognized Sylvia Group Business Insurance Account Executive and Partner Andrew Armstrong and four other business people for their service as Loaned Executives during its Annual Celebration on April March 27, 2019, at the Rosebrook Event Center in Wareham, MA. From left are: Matthew Nutter of BayCoast Bank, Cy Medeiros of First Citizens' Federal Credit Union, Andrew, and Steven DeFrias of BankFive.

Andrew and fellow Sylvia Group partner Rose Soares Lopes (standing, left) enjoyed sharing in the celebration with Coastline Elderly Services CEO Paula Shiner (seated, left) and members of her team.

City honors Sylvia Group V.P. Rose Lopes for service to veterans


On Saturday, March 30, Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day, the City of New Bedford, the New Bedford City Council and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 499 all honored Sylvia Group Partner and Vice President Rose Soares Lopes for her long, meritorious and ongoing service to veterans. A U.S. Marine veteran herself, Rose is the current vice president and past president of the board of directors for the Veterans Transition House of New Bedford, as well as a wife, mother and volunteer with multiple other civic organizations. To say we're proud of all she has accomplished and all she continues to do would be an understatement. Congratulations, Rose!

The United Way of Greater New Bedford's Baby Bundles Drive

Sylvia Group enjoyed welcoming United Way of Greater New Bedford Hunger Commission Driver Mike Amado (standing behind the cart holding the stack of diaper boxes), who picked up and delivered our contributions to this year's Baby Bundles Drive. Nice working with Mike, and great job by the Sylvia Group team.

Red Dress Fashion Show for the YMCA of Southeastern Massachusetts

In what has become an agency tradition, Sylvia Group sponsored the annual Red Dress Fashion Show, hosted by the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts on Feb. 28 at the Century House, Inc. in Acushnet. Attendees included, from left, Sylvia Group Employee Benefits Account Administrator Solange Perry, Employee Benefits Account Manager Allyson Larue and Insurance Division Manager Kerri Rego. As always, our team had a great time at the event, which raises awareness of cardiovascular disease in women.

Valentine's Day bags for the Veterans Transition House of New Bedford 

On Valentine's Day, we held our monthly dress-down day to support the Veterans Transition House of New Bedford. After this photo was taken, Sylvia Group Vice President Rose Soares Lopes, also V.P. of the Vets House Board of Directors and a Marine Corps veteran, delivered goody bags to Vets House residents along with Insurance Division Manager Kerri Rego.

Fish Bowl for the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society

Members of the Sylvia Group-sponsored team Sylvia Sailfish had a great time participating in the January 27, 2019, Fish Bowl fundraiser to benefit the Buttonwood Park Zoo at Wonder Bowl in New Bedford. From left are Personal Insurance Account Manager Zenaide Noia, agency friend Aaron Segure, Account and Systems Specialist Kelsey Martins and Customer Relations Specialist Lori Dumas.

Helping to stock the New Bedford High School Whaler's Attic 

Dress-down for NBHS Whaler's Attic

Before our Dec. 14 visit to New Bedford High School, we posed with a sampling of the goods we collected for the school's Whaler's Attic program and displayed our dress-down day NBHS red. The mission of Whaler's Attic is to provide assistance to New Bedford High students in immediate need of clothing, food and other essential items.

Dinner with the kids as boosters of the Boys & Girls Club 

Boys & Girls Club


As a sponsor of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham's annual Steak and Burger Dinner, Sylvia Group had the privilege of dining with several club members at the Century House in Acushnet on Nov. 19. Sylvia Group members included, from left, Mike Isbister, Nick Petronelli, Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Rose Soares Lopes and Andrew Armstrong.

Sylvia Group sidekicks to the United Way's Hunger Heroes 

2018 United Health Thanksgiving Food Drive

Our November food drive in support of the United Way of Greater New Bedford's Hunger Heroes Project concluded with our monthly dress-down day and helped area families celebrate Thanksgiving.

Multiple Chamber roles for Sylvia Group V.P./Partner Rose Lopes 

2018 Chamber Annual Meeting

Sylvia Group Vice President and Partner Rosemarie Lopes, left, served as presenter of the Economic Impact Awards during the Chamber's 132nd Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Century House in Acushnet, MA. As in past years, Sylvia Group served as sponsor of the Economic Impact Awards. Rose, in addition to holding multiple other nonprofit volunteer positions, is a member of the Chamber's board of directors.

Starting the season of giving by giving blood

2018 Blood Drive

The annual Sylvia Group Blood Drive was again a success, with 26 donors contributing blood to the American Red Cross. The event's founder and director, Account Manager Jo Ann Tavares, once again directed the drive and also served as a donor. Pictured is Director of Business Development Mike Isbister, still smiling after making his donation.

Goodies and good deeds in celebration of the Sox, Halloween and Leadership SouthCoast

Oct. 2018 dress-down day

In celebration of the World Series champion Red Sox' rolling rally and Halloween, we dressed in either Sox colors or orange and black for our October dress-down day. We also enjoyed healthy treats, and made donations to that month's dress-down beneficiary, Leadership SouthCoast.

Recognized for giving back to her high school alma mater

Maureen_Stang Hall of Honors

In October, Sylvia Group President and CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong was among the six people who made up the second class of inductees to the Bishop Stang High School Hall of Honors. Pictured from left after October 21 induction ceremonies at White's of Westport are: Sean Hargraves; Linda Duchaine, daughter of posthumous inductee Paul Duchaine; Jean O'Brien; Maureen; and Jim Black. Absent is fellow inductee Sister Teresa Trayers, SND.

A 1982 graduate of BSHS, Maureen has been a strong supporter of the Dartmouth, MA, school throughout her career at Sylvia Group. Her accomplishments on behalf of Stang include co-chairing the school's most recent capital campaign, which raised $4 million for building upgrades and infrastructure improvements; founding the annual Stang Auction, which has raised more than $1 million; and raising two Stang graduates, Andrew and Charlie, with her husband, Sylvia Group Vice President Ray Armstrong.

Better living through bicycling

2018 Watershed Ride

The Sylvia Group Spinners had a great time during and after the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride on Sunday, Sept. 30. To raise funds for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, cyclists rode distances ranging from 35 to 100 miles, finishing at Woods Hole in Falmouth, MA. From left are Victor Dumas, Heather Heffernan, Vin Sylvia, Coalition mascot C.W. and Mike Isbister. The Sylvia Group Spinners raised more than $2,300 in support of the Coalition's efforts for clean water and land preservation from western Rhode Island to eastern Cape Cod.

Earlier in the month, Sylvia Group sponsored Pedal for the Path, a bike ride raising money for and awareness of the South Coast Bikeway Alliance, whose mission is to create a "50-mile continuous system of bike paths (or multi-use paths) and bike lanes that will connect Rhode Island to Cape Cod."

Annual effort to end Alzheimer's

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Sylvia Group business insurance Account Executive Jill White, far left, and her team are annual participants in the SouthCoast Walk to End Alzheimer's, held this year Bristol Community College in Fall River.

Supporting WHALE's restoration of the First Baptist Church of New Bedford

WHALE Dress-Down Day 09-27-2018

We wore wine colors for our September dress-down day to support the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) anid its annual Wine Soiree. WHALE is working closely with Your Theatre, Inc. to restore the First Baptist Church of New Bedford, a prominent landmark in the heart of downtown New Bedford. All funds from the Wine Soiree, as well as our dress-down day, went toward the restoration project.

Seminar at the zoo showcases the wild world of benefits compliance

2018 Benefits Seminar wide-1

Demand was so high for seating at our annual seminar on employee benefits compliance that we moved the event to an offsite venue, the Buttonwood Park Zoo Education Center in New Bedford. The Sept. 18 seminar, featuring benefits attorney and healthcare reform expert Richard Szczebak of RAS Law, P.C., was not only well-attended but very well-received.

The 2018 Sylvia Group Education Series — which previously included events addressing active-shooter scenarios, workplace law amid the #MeToo movement, Social Security and retirement planning and personal cyber protection — later hosted a webinar on Medicare open enrollment and a seminar on long-term care insurance.

Down on the farm for the United Way's Day of Caring

Day of Caring at Sharing the Harvest Farm-1

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Sylvia Group provided volunteers to work at Sharing the Harvest Community Farm in Dartmouth, part of  the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual corporate Day of Caring. Team members spent the day harvesting, weeding and performing various maintenance tasks.

Donating back-to-school supplies to Boys & Girls Club's after-school program

Boys and Girls Club Donation 8-24-2018

In August, we helped kids make the grade this back-to-school season by donating tri-folds, pencils, crayons and more to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater New Bedford/Wareham. Supplies will support the club's Power Hour program, which inspires children to be more successful in school by providing homework help and tutoring.

 On the run for the Buzzards Bay Coalition

Falmouth Road Race

Thanks to the Buzzards Bay Coalition for including three members of Sylvia Group on Team Buzzards Bay. As always, the Coalition's Deb Hood did an amazing job of coordinating logistics and guiding fundraising efforts, and we loved joining forces with so many terrific people. Heather Heffernan, Andrew Armstrong and Vin Sylvia ran for Sylvia Group, Andrew starting the race after his shuttle bus was late to arrive but making up for lost time with a strong finish.

Supporting local arts and New Bedford Festival Theatre's performance of 'West Side Story'

Dress-Down Day - New Bedford Festival Theatre 07-27-2018

For our July dress-down day, members of our team wore red and black in support of the New Bedford Festival Theatre and its current performance of "West Side Story." Among those who participated is Account Executive Gorete Cadieux, whose daughter, Sarah Cadieux-Pacheco, is the theater's Summer Academy coordinator.

New Bedford Festival Theatre is performing "West Side Story" at theZeiterion Theatre Performing Arts Center through Sunday, July 29. Find tickets online at

Event and team sponsorship for the Relay for Life of Greater New Bedford 

Relay for Life_Denise and granddaughter

Sylvia Group served as an event and team sponsor for the 2018 Relay for Life of Greater New Bedford, which took place June 23 at Fort Taber in New Bedford and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. Systems Coordinator Denise Rego headed the team sponsored by Sylvia Group, Ma's Butterfly Angels, named in memory of Denise's mother, Joyce Rezendes, who fought a short but courageous bout with cancer.

Denise is seen here with her granddaughter, Savannah Rego, during the event, which had a Disney theme. Fellow Sylvia Group employees Lubelia Lima, Linda Patistea and Kathy Volterra joined Denise in walking as members of Ma's Butterfly Angels, which ranked among the top 10 fundraising teams, with Denise ranking among the top 10 individual fundraisers.

Sylvia Group joins Leadership SouthCoast and the Zeiterion for Arts & Culture program

LSC at the Z

Sylvia Group was a co-sponsor of Leadership SouthCoast's first Arts & Culture Program, which kicked off at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center in New Bedford on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Leadership SouthCoast is a nonprofit organization that brings together a diverse group of individuals for a program designed to educate and empower members of the public and private sectors and engage them in projects aimed at improving all facets of life in the region.

Sylvia Group Partner and Account Executive Andrew Armstrong is a member of LSC's Class of 2018. Sylvia Group's LSC alumni include President and CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Sylvia Financial Principal Nick Petronelli, Business Insurance Account Executive Jill White, Director of Marketing and Communications Vincent Sylvia Jr. and CFO Heather Heffernan.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, steamers and lobster!

Clambake Group

From left, Sylvia Group President and CEO Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Partner and Vice President-Financial Services and Benefits Rosemarie Lopes, CFO Heather Heffernan and Marketing and Events Coordinator Lauren Houle were all smiles at the United Way of Greater New Bedford's Clambake with Lobster. Sylvia Group serves as an annual sponsor for the United Way fundraiser, which this year took place on June 18 at the State Pier in New Bedford. In the background is Account Executive Chris Stockdale, a native of Australia focused on his first taste of New England steamers.

Sponsorship and volunteers for the opening of the Bay Gala

Community Boating_Chris-Heather-Kelsey

Not only did Sylvia Group sponsor the Community Boating Center's Opening of the Bay Gala, several members of our team also served as volunteers for the event, which took place on Saturday, June 2, at New Bedford's Fort Taber Park. From left are Account Executive Chris Stockdale, CFO Heather Heffernan and Client Manager Kelsey Martins. Kelsey is a longtime volunteer for the New Bedford-based nonprofit, serving as sailing instructor and dock hand. One of her roles at the gala was to make it as environmentally friendly as possible, including the use of compostable cups, plates and cutlery.

We're aboard with Community Boating Center


To start off the month of June, Sylvia Group members dressed down in nautical attire and colors in support of Community Boating Center and its mission of providing a safe and fun environment for children to excel and learn positive life values through boating. Front-and-center in the photo is Sylvia Group Client Manager Kelsey Martins, a long-serving volunteer sailing instructor for the New Bedford-based nonprofit.

No rain-out of our support for the Dream Out Loud Center

Dress Down for Dream Out Loud 2

Our favorite baseball team was rained out on Patriots Day, but that didn't prevent members of the Sylvia Group team from holding a Boston Red Sox-themed casual day and collecting donations for the Dream Out Loud Center for the Arts, a New Bedford-based nonprofit whose mission is to mission is to advance the personal and career goals of South Coast residents through innovation, education and mentoring.

A dress-down day of work to help kids of all abilities get together and play

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On Friday, March 23, 2018, Sylvia Group employees wore green in support of Team Noah Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and families with special needs and medical conditions. The foundation is raising funds for Noah's Place Playground on Pope's Island in New Bedford. The largest, most sensory-rich and inclusive playground in New England, the playground is designed for children of all abilities to come together in a fun, safe environment. 

Show of unity for the State of the City Address

2018 State of the City

Sylvia Group is an annual sponsor of the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce's State of the City luncheon, which this year took place on March 9 at New Bedford High School, with a superb meal provided by our friends at the Century House of Acushnet. From left are Sylvia Group Partner and Vice President-Financial Services and Benefits Rosemarie Lopes, Director of Operations Kerri Rego, Vice President Ray Armstrong, CEO and President Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, CFO Heather Heffernan, Business Insurance Account Executive Jill White, Sylvia Financial Principal Nick Petronelli, Personal Insurance Account Executive Matthew Boyle, and Partner/Business Insurance Account Executive Andrew Armstrong.

Sylvia Group sponsors YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts' Red Dress Fashion Show

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Sylvia Group is proud to be an annual sponsor of the YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts' Red Dress Fashion Show to benefit its HEARTplus Program. The YWCASM held its 15th Red Dress event Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Century House, Inc. in Acushnet, and the Sylvia Group contingent had a great time, as always. From left are, front: Kelsey Martins, Solange Perry and Paula Tavares; back, Janet Rioux, Jill White, Kathy Fuller, Ellen Woods, Gorete Cadieux and Julie Vieira.

Multiple ways to make a difference during Heart Health Awareness Month

Heart Health Awareness Month.jpg

In recognition of Heart Health Awareness Month, members of Sylvia Group wore red for the agency's monthly dress-down day on Friday, February 23, and collected donations for the Southcoast Health Annual Fund.

Heart Walk.jpgEmployees also braved intermittent rain to take part in group heart-health walks from Sylvia Group's Dartmouth headquarters to Southcoast Health's Faunce Corner Road offices. Seen outside the SouthCoast Health buildings are, from left, Jill White, Karen Sylvia, Paula Gomes, Denise Rego, Kathy Volterra and intern Eric DeBenedictis.




Sylvia Group supports Hope for the Children of Haiti

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Our first Dress-Down Day of 2018 was in support of Hope for the Children of Haiti, a nonprofit organization that provides food, shelter, and education for orphans and vulnerable children in Haiti. On Friday, January 26, 2018, employees donated a fee to dress casually, sporting Hait's national colors of red and blue.

Accepting the Gifts to Give Thanks Business Challenge

After our friends at Servpro of Dartmouth/New Bedford selected us in the Gifts to Give Thanks Business Challenge, we held a clothes drive and delivered the goods to Gifts to Give. The talented crew at The Franchise Group produced this terrific video, and then it was our turn to issue a challenge. We're fortunate to share our building with the good people at Advanced Eye Centers, and we know they'll step up for Gifts to Give.

Another productive yield from the annual Sylvia Group Blood Drive

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On November 10, 2017, the annual Sylvia Group Blood Drive produced 26 donors, including nine who gave blood for the first time, and collected 25 pints of usable blood. At left are drive founder and organizer Jo Ann Tavares, standing, and fellow Sylvia Group account manager Kathy Fuller. At right are American Red Cross staff and the last group of donors, including Sylvia Group's chief financial officer, Heather Heffernan, foreground. Thank you to all staff, clients and neighbors who participated!

Going the extra miles for the American Cancer Society and the Buzzards Bay Coalition

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Sylvia Group members made the most of a spectacular first day of October, logging miles on the roads and footways of Boston, the SouthCoast and Cape Cod to benefit two of our favorite causes.

In the photo at left, the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women's team in the October 1 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Boston walk included three members of Sylvia Group: Zee Noia (far left), Annie Raposo (top) and Monica DaSilva (third from right). Money raised from the walk went to the American Cancer Society. 

Riding as the Sylvia Group Spinners, Chief Financial Officer Heather Heffernan and Director of Marketing and Communications Vin Sylvia on October 1 completed the 35-mile leg of the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride to benefit the Buzzards Bay Coalition. The duo are seen at Woods Hole in Falmouth, where the ride ended. In addition to raising $1,650 to fight pollution, protect natural areas and educate the public about Buzzards Bay and its watershed, the Sylvia Group Spinners matched that total with donations to Americares in support of storm victims in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Our day for Day by Day during Alzheimer's Awareness Month

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September's purple-hued Dress-Down Day was in recognition of World Alzheimer's Awareness Month and benefitted Day by Day Adult Day Care of Gloucester, MA. Once each month, Sylvia Group selects a cause and a beneficiary associated with that cause, then donates fees members pay to dress casually.

Making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's

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Sylvia Group Account Executive Jill White, second from right, was part of a family team participating in the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's at Fort Taber in New Bedford, MA, on September 23. Jill's team raised almost $3,000 for the Alzheimer's Association.

Systems Coordinator Denise Rego and Personal Lines Account Manager Lu Lima also took part in the walk, with Lu's team raising more than $1,000.  

United Way of Greater New Bedford Day of Caring

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Sylvia Group made a difference for multiple nonprofit organizations on Friday, Sept. 15, the United Way of Greater New Bedford's annual Day of Caring. Ten volunteers from the agency worked at five different sites on projects ranging from childcare to musem cleanup to shed construction to moving and storage.

At left are Quality Manager Denise Rego and Customer Relations Specialist Kathy Volterra, just back from entertaining young students at a NorthStar Learning Centers facility. In the top middle photo, COO David Madara, far right, poses with fellow volunteers who built a utility shed for Better Community Living. At bottom middle, Account Managers Jo Ann Tavares and Kathy Fuller take a break from moving items in and out of the basement and attic at the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts. In the photo at right, Accounting and Systems Specialist Quintin LaBonte, Account Manager Lu Lima, Account Executive Andrew Armstrong and Account Administrator Solange Perry spent the day cleaning the interior and exterior of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Missing from the montage is Account Manager Chris Pinto, who worked with students at a second NorthStar Learning Centers site.

Raising the Roof and Delivering the Goods for Our Sisters' School

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Taking inspiration from the students at Our Sisters' School members of Sylvia Group celebrate their Friday, August 25, 2017 Dress-Down Day at their Dartmouth, MA, offices. Each month, Sylvia Group selects a local affiliate to benefit from a fee employees pay to dress casually. For Our Sisters' School, a New Bedford, MA, institution serving girls from underprivelaged families in Grades 5-8, Sylvia Group purchased a wide range of school supplies, collected in the boxes surrounding the group in this photo.

Included in the photo are, from left: front, Nicole Belair, Jill White, Lori Dumas, Heather Heffernan, Solange Perry, Kathy Fuller and Ray Armstrong; back, Kathy Volterra, Allyson Larue, Maureen Sylvia Armstrong, Andrew Armstrong, Gorete Cadieux, Lu Lima, Zee Noia, Brittany Perry, Janet Kuthan, Jo-Ann Bouchard and David Madara.

Tee Time at Allendale with the Mattapoisett Police Officers Association

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Steven Kaplan, Data Analyst in the Employee Benefits Division of Sylvia Group, takes a break at the hole the agency sponsored for the Mattapoisett Police Officers Association Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Off-Trail Venture for Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

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For its monthly dress-down-day fundraiser, members of Sylvia Group sported earth tones and collected money for the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust on Friday, July 28. Sylvia Group also is engaged in a summer-long competition to see who can complete the most DNRT trails.

In Tune with the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra's Education Programs

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In support of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Education Programs, members of Sylvia Group contributed to the NBSO and wore black and white for the agency's June dress-down day. Each month, we make a difference for a nonprofit client by collecting donations and dressing in a theme associated with that organization. Every year, the NBSO's six educational programs serve more than 30,000 children in southeastern Massachusetts. That, one might say, is music to our ears.

Extra Support for NorthStar Learning Centers During National Mental Health Awareness Month

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In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, members of Sylvia Group wore green for the agency's May 26 dress-down day and made contributions to NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.. Based in New Bedford, NorthStar provides programs for area children from birth to adulthood, assessing and meeting their social and emotional needs to foster their development at home and school.

Hats off to the Children's Advocacy Center


Heather Heffernan, Chief Financial Officer of Sylvia Group, right, celebrates with Michelle Loranger, Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County, at the Country Club of New Bedford during the CAC's annual Race to End Child Abuse Kentucky Derby Day Gala. Sylvia Group sponsored the event, a fundraiser for the Fall River-based nonprofit that provides services for abused children. Heather is a past three-year member of the CAC's Fundraising Committee.

To see more photos from the gala, visit the Standard-Times' online gallery.

Raising funds by dressing down

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Sylvia Group's newly formed HEART (Helping Everyone Achieve Results Together) Beat Committee this year introduced dress-down days as a monthly activity to highlight our support for our nonprofit clients. In January, we showed our support not only for our favorite football team but also for the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County by paying a fee to dress in Patriots attire, with proceeds going to the CAC. In February, we wore red in support of the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts' Heart Health Awareness campaign. (Sylvia Group also sponsored the YWCA's Red Dress Fashion Show for heart health.) In March, we wore blue in recognition of World Water Day (above) and donated our dress-down fees to the Buzzards Bay Coalition, whose primary mission is to combat water pollution along the SouthCoast and its surrounding areas. With April being Autism Awareness Month, staffers wore colors of the spectrum and contributed to Better Community Living, which does so much for people with developmental disabilities. 

Statewide leadership roles for members of the Sylvia Group team


The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women (MAIW) recently installed two members of the Sylvia Group staff as officers and appointed a third to a position as committee chair. Photographed outside the agency's Dartmouth offices are, clockwise from lower right: Sylvia Group Personal Lines Account Manager Zenaide Noia, MAIW President; Controller Heather Heffernan, MAIW Vice President; and Commercial Lines Underwriting Coordinator Annie Raposo, MAIW Public Relations Chair.

Founded in 1938, the MAIW is a nonprofit association that serves its members by providing professional education, an environment in which to build business alliances and the opportunity to make connections with people of differing career paths and levels of experience in the insurance and risk management industry.

 Supporting the Y and our model citizen


Sylvia Group once again was a $1,000 sponsor of the 12th annual Red Dress Fashion Show to benefit YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts’ Health and Wellness cardiovascular health program, and this year we had an additional reason to show our support: Our own Heather Heffernan was serving as one of the show’s models.

After completing her day job as agency Controller, Heather did a dazzling turn on the runway, earning cheers from her Sylvia Group colleagues and husband Jay, seen with her in the bottom right and bottom left photos.

The event took place Wednesday, February 25, at the Century House in Acushnet. For more on the event, visit the YWCA’s Facebook page and’s photo gallery.


Cheers to the Team Noah Foundation

The Team Noah Foundation held its third annual wine-tasting fundraiser and auction on February 13th at the United Fishermen Club in New Bedford, and a large group of Sylvia Group employees turned out to show their support.

In the left photo, Director of Client Services and Staff Development Marlene Kalisz, far right, and her husband, Mike, flanked a trio of friends enjoying the evening with them. At right, Account Executive Jill White and her husband, Andy, enjoyed the festivities.

Founded in honor of area resident Noah Fernandes, whose affliction with the mitochondrial disease MELAS leaves him unable to communicate, the Team Noah Foundation raises funds to aid local children and their families affected by medical and developmental disabilities.

For more information on the Team Noah Foundation, visit its website. For more photos from wine-tasting, visit the organization’s Facebook page.

Making Strides Against Cancer Walk

Sylvia Group employees Zenaide Noia, left, and Annie Raposo participated in the Making Strides Against Cancer Walk in Boston on October 5. They walked with the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Women (MAIW) Bristol Chapter Team, which raised close to $2,500.


Lee National Denim Day

Denim Day logoSylvia Group’s Lu Lima organized co-workers to contribute $5 each for participation in Lee National Denim Day. Lu’s efforts raised $240 to support women’s cancer programs of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Schwartz Center for Children Walk

Sylvia Group employees Zenaide Noia and Jill White took a break during the Schwartz Center for Children’s 26th annual fundraising walk to pose with Bubbles the Blue Fish. The September 14 event, which took place around Fort Taber in New Bedford, was in support of children with special needs.



Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm

Sylvia Group Employees, Kathy Fuller and Jo Ann Tavares, were happy to participate in Live United Week and the National Day of Caring by volunteering at the Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm.


Sylvia Group employees Kathy Fuller and Jo Ann Tavares were happy to participate in the 2014 Live United Week and the National Day of Caring by volunteering at the Dartmouth YMCA’s ‘Sharing the Harvest’ Community Farm.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Members of the Sylvia Group leadership team rose to the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and raised $1,400! Extra points awarded for doing so in full business dress! And this was no quick ice mix and dump – the water had been chilling on ice for a good five hours. Getting doused are, from left, Vice President Ray Armstrong, President/CEO Maureen Armstrong and Vice President John Beauregard, who organized the challenge.

Our employees volunteer their time for many community groups, events and organizations, some of which include:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Bishop Stang High School
  • Bristol Community College
  • Buttonwood Park Zoological Society
  • Buzzards Bay Coalition
  • Community Fund of Southeastern Mass.
  • Dartmouth Youth Activities Association
  • Dick Melloni Youth Foundation
  • Downtown New Bedford, Inc.
  • Fairhaven Improvement Association
  • Feast of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Friendship Tables
  • Girl Scouts
  • Junior Achievement
  • Leadership SouthCoast
  • Market Ministries
  • Miss New Bedford Scholarship Program
  • Nativity Preparatory School
  • New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Nemasket Group
  • New Bedford Jaycees
  • Ocean Explorium at New Bedford Seaport
  • Rebuilding Together
  • S.M.I.L.E.S. Program
  • Southcoast Health
  • Summerfest
  • United Way of Greater New Bedford
  • Wareham Community Associates
  • Westport Youth Soccer
  • W.H.A.L.E.
  • Women’s Fund
  • Y.W.C.A.

We share your sense of responsibility to better the community and help the region grow and succeed. There are many other organizations, including school, youth and church groups for which we volunteer. Join us – find something you care about and get involved. The result: A better world!



  • “I come in contact with many insurance brokers in the course of my practice – even more so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Some are ill-prepared or still in denial. Others call me from the car on the way to a client meeting asking for a summary of the ACA in ten minutes. On the flip side of this coin is the Sylvia Group agency. Their clients are very fortunate to have a broker who is knowledgeable about employee benefit matters. The fact that Sylvia Group invited me, an ERISA lawyer, to conduct a live client seminar on the new ACA employer information reporting requirements indicates to me that they are engaged in the process and they care about their clients.”

    – RICHARD A. SZCZEBAK, Esq., RAS Law, P.C.

  • “By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”

    – MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford

  • “Sylvia Group is very responsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We know we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”

    – GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

  • “Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”

    – CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group

  • "Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have a thorough knowledge of nonprofits, where risks can oftentimes be more complex. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."

    - MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.

  • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”

    – KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

  • “The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”

    – JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.

  • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

    - PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

  • “I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”

    – PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium

  • “I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”

    – SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client

  • “I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”

    – CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client

  • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

    – LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

  • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools, and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance agency that I would recommend to all my cohorts.” - KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

  • "Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."

    - WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC

ACA Certified

Upcoming Events


COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know
Wednesday, March 25
10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT
Online via Zoom Video
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Women's Fund:

Tiara 5K
Sunday, May 10
9:30 a.m. (Kids' races at 9)
Oxford Creamery, Mattapoisett, MA
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