What is the biggest challenge your agency faced in the past year?
The biggest challenge we’ve experienced over the past year was purchasing an agency and then integrating that book of business into my current business. Beyond the actual purchase, which involved quite a bit itself, we had to be efficient as we connected with clients who were new to us. As part of the process of reaching out, this meant reviewing individual accounts to make sure coverage was consistent with our agency guidelines. In some cases, this meant taking time to “clean up” details on some accounts (i.e., coverage limits) and make sure the quality fit with the rest of our book of business.
Do you have a new tip or best practice you have learned and want to share?
Our agency focuses on two core principles: be honest with the client and take the time to review with them the coverage that they need. When you provide a high-level of quality service, your customers will let others know. When I work with clients, I have a form that I created which serves as a checklist to discuss various coverage endorsements that may be available. Some of the things that I discuss with each client includes coverage for service line, water/sewer backup, identity theft, cyber, and jewelry (among other endorsements).
Why are you an SIA of Northern Ohio member?
I chose to join SIA of Northern Ohio because of the ability to write through multiple carriers while earning higher commissions and having profit-sharing opportunities. At that time, I was an agent for a captive carrier and had a chance to open a new office. I did not want to write through just one carrier. If I were to have remained a captive agent, it seemed like the only way to help the client save money was to change their coverage. I wanted to become an independent agent so that I could work as more of an advisor and have multiple options available to provide clients with the best rate and coverage for their needs
What makes your agency unique?
We are very focused on the relationship with our clients. It goes beyond the insurance transaction and can be as simple as just offering somebody coffee or listening to what is going on with their life. For our agency, it is more about building the customer relationships. We care about the client as a person. For example, when someone’s significant other passes away, we will send flowers. People really love our agency, because of how compassionate and caring we are with them.
What causes does your agency actively support?
Our agency really cares about children. We financially support lunches for kids at the local schools that don’t qualify for free lunches, but the parents might not be able to afford them. We will cover the costs for children ice cream socials and sponsor youth baseball teams within Sheffield and Sheffield Lake. We typically participate in community events like the upcoming Sheffield Lake Community Days Parade on July 11 and hand out things like candy and stress balls. In addition to children and community events, I also am active within networking groups including the Professional Women’s Network.