Agency Profile: Better, Not Just Bigger

APScott Insurance

Lynchburg, Virginia
Founded: 1864
Employees: 315

Growing from approximately 30 people to 315 in three decades is impressive—but doing it all without a single merger or acquisition is almost unheard of.

Relying on purely organic growth is something Scott Insurance employees feel has been instrumental in maintaining the agency’s ESOP-based culture.

“We felt like an organic strategy where we can build ourselves one person at a time, one additional new employee owner at a time, allows us to maintain the culture,” says Hutch Mauck, president.

The firm has grown by opening branches—now nine in all—that operate as startups as they are becoming established. “We then have new employee owners that acclimate to us, versus an M&A growth strategy where you have to overlay our culture on an agency culture that is already established,” Mauck explains.

And while growth is important, “we want to be better every day—not necessarily bigger,” Mauck says. “We try to measure ourselves in things much more broadly than just growth.”

That’s why this 25-year Best Practices Agency values that the program provides operational benchmarks to evaluate performance, Mauck adds: “Best Practices has really been an important part of measuring ourselves to make sure that we’re actually out-performing the industry.”

HUTCH MAUCK, PRESIDENT

I was a producer at Scott for 23 years before I transitioned into the president role five years ago, so I really do understand the unique relationship between producers and clients and how Scott adds value to our clients’ businesses.

We have an innovative, entrepreneurial, team-oriented culture that starts with our ESOP as a foundation. As we’ve grown, we have had to become more systematic and more intentional about ensuring that we’re bringing excellence every day.

As the president of an ESOP company, I have one less constituency because employees and shareholders are not separate. An ESOP brings alignment to the interest of employees and shareholders. And it allows our employees to see the fruits and the benefits of being a part of a successful company—not only as an employee, but also as an owner.

ERIK KORONEOS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, RISK ADVISOR

Unlike most agencies of our size, our pure organic growth has enabled us to maintain our DNA. Many people think they can define “brand,” but your brand is what your clients say about you. Our clients say, “Wow, you serve us, and that is something we have never experienced before,” or “We feel like your people are on our staff and we forget they are a part of yours.” You can’t fake that.

In some companies, the ESOP might only have 10% ownership. Our ESOP owns 100% of Scott. It is truly a staple of our culture. We have an entrepreneurial environment that empowers you to do your job. It’s not autocratic—it’s about getting the job done. 

It’s a privilege to work at a place that has the ability to stay independent—and wants to.

KATHY FERRELL, VICE PRESIDENT, BENEFIT OPERATIONS

We became an ESOP in the mid-1970s, which was a truly progressive action at that time. There is not only an entrepreneurial spirit throughout our organization, but also a sense of empowerment and creativity. Having that owner mindset, our employees take their service to the next level with their clients. Our employee owners exhibit a certain pride when serving our clients that is different than any other company I have been affiliated with.

We want to hire individuals who are passionate about serving others. If they have that passion and then you educate them on the basics of our industry, you end up with world-class employees. It really shows in our 95% client retention rate.

Our company has been fortunate enough to attract and retain some of the most talented, dedicated individuals in the industry who also are owners of our company.

Photo by Sam Stroud