Agency Profile: The Purple Cows

Stratton Agency

San Carlos, California
Founded: 1914
Employees: 39

For a decade, a controlled substance and drivers carrying less than $20 have secured year-over-year growth for Stratton Agency.

“You can’t expect your producers to be successful if they’re offering the same products and pricing as every other agent,” says James Marek, CEO. “You have to find a way to be that ‘purple cow’ and stand out in a crowd.”

The lessons of Seth Godin’s book, “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable,” have served Marek and his team well. With five producers, five full-time employees in China and branches in San Ramon and Roseville, California and Phoenix, Arizona, this Best Practices Agency earned gross revenues of $4.9 million in 2016.

RYAN HEADLEY, COO

We are successful because we embrace new technology. Stratton is a strategic partner and beta agent for Applied Systems products and also partners with ReSourcePro, through which we have five full-time employees in Jinan, China. At the end of the business day, the U.S. team hands over any backlog of administrative work to the China team. This improves our customer service, as we are able to complete client requests much faster. The arrangement gives our U.S. account managers and producers more time to be customer facing, resulting in increased up- and cross-selling.

JAMES MAREK, CEO

We saw an opportunity to be pioneers with our cannabis and ­Pizzasurance programs. But not many carriers write cannabis business, and most avoid the non-owned auto risks associated with young drivers delivering pizza. Proving compliance was key to convincing them to write the coverage. We are creating software that will allow cannabis clients to track their various state and local licenses, employee medical marijuana record cards and more. For pizzerias, we developed a cloud-based driver compliance management platform—StratTrax—to track acceptable driver guidelines and auto ID and motor vehicle records, and to notify store owners and drivers of compliance issues.

Because we now have the highest level of compliance in the industry with loss ratios that are much lower than the industry average, our Pizzasurance clients are doing less work and paying lower premiums. We expect to see substantial growth of both the pizza and budding cannabis programs. As states legalize medical and recreational use of cannabis, there will be unlimited opportunities to help educate these industry owners on risk management and compliance.

Our human resources and safety division is becoming a bigger part of our overall risk management approach, and we will continue its expansion. We also hope to add a third program to the division.

JESSE PARENTI, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

We successfully target our cannabis and Pizzasurance niches with online SEO marketing. We also find success attending trade shows and corporate franchise conventions for the programs. We train our producers to see the bigger picture and to be success partners for our clients. We find that clients respond to our professional risk management approach by focusing less on price and more on proper protection for their businesses. And when Stratton’s focus on technology allows us to provide them with solutions that make their businesses run more efficiently and profitably, it becomes a whole lot easier for our producers to be successful—and for us to retain them.