Des Moines, Iowa
An unlikely trio of specialties is an unbeatable combo for this agency: for-hire trucking, movie theaters and residential construction. At 98%, commercial lines are the firm’s focus, half of which is property-casualty; the other half, employee benefits.
As an accommodation to commercial clients, the firm also offers personal lines, which compose 2% of agency business. The nine producers in the firm also are working to develop other niches: manufacturing, distributing, technology, social services and hospitality.
Every commercial account has a designated service team composed of a producer, account manager and claims representative. The firm began as a family operation and remains privately owned.
Ben Couch, Account Executive, Producer
Our for-hire trucking niche dates back to the agency’s beginning and has always been successful. Many providers who write truck or transportation don’t have an appetite for anything else. But the rest of our agency’s operations and market reach give us the ability to work with transportation clients from a holistic standpoint.
We’re not just a go-to for trucking exposures. To understand a customer’s business, we perform a third-party risk management audit of their existing insurance policies, safety and loss control programs, and contractual risk transfers. That allows us to learn about the company’s history, culture and vision for the future.
Larry Heisler, Vice President, Construction Department
To serve niche clients, we develop specialized industry knowledge, participate in the trades, and model insurance forms and coverages to fit clients’ needs. We do periodic mailings on evolving topics, attend association annual meetings and seminars, and serve as guest speakers and panelists for each of our niche industries.
Today, residential construction represents about 10% of our book and provides a high identity for the agency around the state. We’ve been endorsed by the Homebuilders Association of Iowa since 1997 but also have been successful in Minnesota and Wisconsin with similar construction trade organizations.
Stan W. Reynolds, President, Movie Theatre Division
It started with one theatre chain in the early 1970s and spread from there. We now have more than 35% of the movie theatre business in the U.S. When we focus on a specific industry or association, we get to know them and understand what they do before we design a program to best suit their needs.
We encourage and support higher education and require almost everyone to be licensed in insurance. One of our most successful prospecting activities might come as a surprise: cold calling. Our approach is that we aren’t selling as much as we are consulting.
Ronimarie Acord is an IA contributor.
PHOTO BY BRENT ISENBERGER