The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.

 

 



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Tuesday
Jun272017

In Memoriam: Robert J. Kuchefski

An insurance sales executive who served the fitness industry for 35 years

The fitness industry has lost a friend and trusted colleague, a person who was highly regarded for his personal warmth, expertise, support, and decades of service.

Robert J. Kuchefski, a sales executive for Hoffman Insurance Services, in Wellesley, MA, a firm that has long and deep industry ties, died unexpectedly on May 26. 

Well known to many IHRSA members, Kuchefski spearheaded the company’s focus on the fitness industry for 35 years, providing property, casualty, liability and worker’s compensation insurance programs to fitness-only clubs, multiclub chains, studios, and certified personal trainers.        

A pioneer in the online delivery of insurance products, Kuchefski developed the industry websites insureyourclub.com and insurepersonaltrainers.com. An IHRSA associate member of long standing, he also developed insurance partnerships with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

“For the nearly 20 years I worked at IHRSA, Bob’s weekly drop-ins were one of the constant joys that we experienced,” recalls Rick Devereux, the former COO and director of marketing for IHRSA. “He was certainly our best-liked and best known visitor for the simple reason that he somehow knew everyone by name. And his smile was one that you mirrored effortlessly. 

I know he’ll be missed at IHRSA and elsewhere. A man who never burdens you with his requests or problems, and who always lifts your spirits, is a rare thing—one to be treasured. I’ll never forget him, or the professional help that he offered as our insurance agent.”

Pam O’Donnell, IHRSA’s vice president of member experience and development, adds, “I grew to know Bob, over many years, through his support of IHRSA and, then, of the Industry Leadership Council (ILC), but I worked more closely with him as we developed IHRSA’s insurance program. He worked hard to pull people together and identify solutions. I watched him develop strong bonds that became lifelong friendships.”

“Bob was the epitome of the ideal service provider,” observes Rick Caro, the president of Management Vision, Inc., in New York City. “Unlike most businessmen who work in fields such as insurance, he was known for providing service 24/7. He was not just a person to call when you had a claim or a problem, but also would volunteer to review your situation in detail. He’d focus on prevention and possible areas of exposure, educating owners about trends, and helping them to anticipate possible problem areas.

“He handled the needs of IHRSA, itself, as well as those of many of the most prestigious clubs in the industry. But he was just as comfortable dealing with a small studio owner or an individual personal trainer.

“Finally,” Caro continues, “Bob read trends and helped the club industry as a whole. He was instrumental in arranging credits and lower fees for clubs with properly certified trainers and instructors. This allowed all clubs, with their respective insurance carriers, to benefit. He was an industry leader who cared deeply about the industry and IHRSA.”

Kuchefski received his B.S. from Illinois State University in 1968, and was a member of Tau Epsilon fraternity. According to his family, he enjoyed all sports, especially golf. A longtime member of the Brae Burn Country Club, he was a past president of the Wellesley Kiwanis Club and an avid youth sports coach.

He was the husband of Jane (Wettaw) Kuchefski and the father of Kathryn Kuchefski, both of Boston. He is survived by his mother, Jacqueline (Hamilton) Kuchefski, of Danville, Illinois, and brothers Kenneth, Lawrence, Richard, and James.

Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, P.O. Box 961029, Boston, MA 02196, c/o Sam Bailey, head of development. A private burial will be held in Bloomington in August, and a Celebration of Life memorial service will be held in September at the Brae Burn Country Club. There is an online guestbook at gfdoherty.com.