In 2022, Limestone Agency celebrated its 175th anniversary and, like Robertson, the agency has deep roots in the local community.
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Robertson joined the agency in 1996 after spending several years working as a marketing representative in eastern Kentucky. Moving back to Mount Sterling with his expectant wife and young child was like a homecoming for Robertson, who had grown up about 15 miles away.
In 2022, Limestone Agency celebrated its 175th anniversary and, like Robertson, has deep roots in the local community. “I’m chairman of the planning and zoning commission in Mount Sterling and have been for almost 20 years,” he says. “I’m also chairman of the board of a Main Street committee that owns some property in the name of the city.”
“Our team is active in our churches in the city, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, and more,” he adds.
Importance of involvement?
I was chairman of Big I Kentucky for two years during the coronavirus pandemic and our agency is a member of Keystone Insurers Group. The social aspect of these groups enables us to get to know other agents and to find out what they’re doing. It allows us to help clients in their time in need, to solve problems and to figure things out that maybe a lot of other agents can’t.
Advice for an inexperienced professional?
Just jump in. You can’t ease into it; you have to get in and get involved in all aspects. And it’s so rewarding. I used to carry a little recorder in my pocket when I went to the grocery store because somebody’s got a claim, somebody’s had a problem, somebody’s bought a car and just happened to think, “Hey, I need to call you and tell you this or that.” It’s not a 9 to 5 job, particularly when you’re an agent in a town of 7,500 residents.
Secret to your success?
For us, the customer comes first, the relationship is what means the most to us. It’s not always about price, it’s about getting the right coverage and the right company in the right situation.
Using technology to move into the future?
We were one of the first agencies to use AMS360 in Kentucky and we certainly were the first agency that switched over to Applied, as well as the first agency to have Epic in Kentucky. Technology is so important.
Getting good employees. We've got an employee who's been with us for 52 years and another, in our Paris office that, other than a few years off raising children, has been with the agency since she was 18 years old.
We have a loyal staff and it's just hard to find somebody these days. Most of us, including myself, got into insurance pretty much by accident. Big I Kentucky has a great intern program that we've used but we've struggled with interns. The best candidates want to do it for six months and then go to college right about the time we get them trained.
Another challenge is trying to give a company the business that they want. We've had carriers get out of personal lines or not want any more of a specific type of business. Just trying to keep up with that is challenging.
Biggest industry changes?
Carriers exiting the market. A few years ago, we went to a company meeting and they had a list of the top 10 companies from 10 years before, half of which were gone due to mergers or acquisitions. For example, companies such as Meridian and Continental. I remember being in an agent's office as a field rep the day that Continental announced it was selling out to CNA and he said, “You know, the insurance industry in Kentucky will never be the same again without Continental." I didn't understand that statement then, but I do understand now.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.