Agency Profile: Solving for Success

Pritchard & Jerden Inc.

Atlanta
Founded: 1960
Employees: 98

If insurance utopia exists, this might be it.

Privately owned by 14 employees, Pritchard & Jerden has been a Business Insurance Best Places to Work for seven straight years, in addition to earning the Big “I” Best Practices designation and another nod from Atlanta Business Chronicle Best Places to Work.

Principals report that the firm has undergone a major transformation. Office space is new, and an Atlanta-based marketing agency revitalized the firm’s digital brand. From front to back, the company culture is fresh-faced and forward-thinking.

The firm’s 26 producers have amassed 2,800 commercial lines customers, which compose 60% of the business mix; 2,700 personal lines customers compose 10%; benefits customers, 30%.

MICHAEL MELLARS, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

The happiness of our employees is a core value. We encourage open and frank discourse regardless of status or tenure. We continuously train and develop, so our employees have all the resources they need to be industry thought leaders. We provide opportunities for upward mobility for everyone and, wherever possible, look to promote from within. In all things, we work hard to create the best environment.

We have a robust training and development program that involves intensive industry training in-house, monthly in-office CE classes and pursuit of designations. We also encourage our employees to attend industry and InsurTech conferences to get new and unique perspective. We developed training manuals for systems such as Applied Systems EPIC, and we send employees to training classes.

We have invested heavily in our infrastructure, data warehouse and applications. InsurTech has become an emerging trend in our industry. We must embrace the change. Greater and more robust technology gives us the opportunity to do more, and greater things with our time. The challenge is maintaining the balance between utilizing technology for efficiency and effectiveness and providing warm, personal customer service.

JON NORDIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

If you take care of your employees and create an environment they enjoy, they will in turn take great care of your clients. We have one of the youngest average producer and shareholder ages in the industry. We’re positioned to remain independent over the coming decade, which will be a catalyst to attract and retain industry rock stars. We invest in top producer and employee talent. The goal is to get the right people on the bus. Adding flex hours and telework was one way we felt we could support work-life balance for our employees. It not only increases productivity, but allows working parents to be more present in their families’ lives.

We are big believers in co-production, especially for our junior producers who are working hard to get established. We have found the success ratio goes way up. Producers will partner together in a given niche segment, with the junior producer running point on marketing efforts—emails, calls, networking and so on. The senior producer attends all meetings. Our producers get involved in respective associations and boards for their niche industries and are frequent guest speakers or contribute articles.

SHANNON PRICE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Our focus on work-life balance is unrivaled. We understand that work, while important, is not the reason we all get up every day. When we have balance, we are happier, and we enjoy more quality time both in the office and at home.

Our clients become friends, particularly in personal lines. We know their children, their triumphs, their habits and their risk tolerance. We know the needs of growing families are different from those of empty nesters, and we tailor our communications and insurance programs accordingly. We see many of our clients outside of the office at charity, church and community events.

All our clients are referrals from other clients or their financial advisers. They keep our pipeline full of their friends, family members and their own clients. We specialize in personal insurance programs for successful individuals and families. We write coverage in all 50 states and are able insure and protect the most complex risks. This allows us to help those clients with multiple homes, watercraft, luxury automobiles and high-limit excess liability needs. 

Photo by Michael Schwartz