What is the biggest challenge your agency faced in the past year?
The biggest challenge we faced in the last year is coping with the Pandemic. We made keeping our customers and our staff healthy and safe our number one priority. It altered how we did business, meaning we locked the doors and only allowed admission to our office under specific safety guidelines, such as wearing a facemask. We made facemasks available to all our staff and customers alike. We also made sure we had sanitizer and the proper cleaning supplies handy at each workstation.
Do you have a new tip or best practice you have learned and want to share?
Realizing that word of mouth is the best advertising, we try to keep our customers talking about us. Beyond amazing service, one of the ways we accomplish this is by providing each of our customers with a deer whistle. Because we have been doing this for so long, we have reached a certain level of community notoriety as the “local purveyor of the deer Whistle”. It is amazing how these deer whistles will spark conversations about whether they work. Hopefully during that conversation someone asks what local business gives out these deer whistles and it gives an opportunity for our clients to mention the agency. Combined with our exposure in the community through service club activity we feel this gives us a real leg up on the competition when it comes to our image as a caring agency. And occasionally, we get a request for a whistle that leads to a sale.
Why are you an SIA of Northern Ohio member?
Our initial interest in becoming an SIA of Northern Ohio (SIANO) member was to have access to more markets. However, since joining I have found that there are many other benefits to being associated with SIANO. Of course, we have enjoyed the increase in profits thru maximizing our contingencies via SIANO, but we have also benefited from the relationships we have formed not only with the staff but with other agents as a result. It is always helpful to share ideas and to find out how others have solved problems instead of reinventing the wheel every time an unusual situation comes up.
What makes your agency unique?
Our agency is unique in that it has been in the community for such a long time. The agency has a tradition of “building-on-relationships” that dates to the original founder generating leads by networking with his father’s coworkers. That type of networking remains an important part of how we do business today. Our origins go back to Albert Jenkins forming Jenkins Insurance in 1954, incidentally the same year he bought Browns Season tickets that we carry forward to this day. We have had some form of “Jenkins” in the name ever since. In 1972 when Albert’s son Tim joined the agency, which had previously been in the family home, the agency moved to 44th and Oberlin Ave in Lorain and became Jenkins & Associates. In 1988 Bruce Bevan joined the agency and reincorporated as Jenkins & Bevan. So, the “Jenkins” remains in the name even though Tim Jenkins retired in 2014. Today the agency is located on Cooper-Foster in Amherst.
What causes does your agency actively support?
Jenkins & Bevan management is currently involved in the community, actively participating in programs through the Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank. Our long-standing support has been the local Lorain Lions Club which promotes the eradication of preventable blindness throughout the world while providing free eye examinations and glasses for “in need” children locally.