Best Agency to Work For – Overall

By | October 6, 2014

Team Environment Built On Solid Partnership

McGriff-Williams Insurance – Gainesville, Florida

Employees at McGriff-Williams Insurance say they enjoy the teamwork and positive culture the agency's leadership instills.
Employees at McGriff-Williams Insurance say they enjoy the teamwork and positive culture the agency’s leadership instills.

Teamwork. Respect. Opportunity. Commitment. Those are a few of the words used to describe the atmosphere in the nation’s overall Best Agency to Work For – McGriff-Williams Insurance based in Gainesville, Fla.

One employee said: “Our agency is built on a solid partnership, and a longtime friendship, which, with a lot of honest hard work has become successful. Employees are happy to come to work, and to contribute their time and talents to making that success continue year-after-year. A positive workplace ends up producing a quality product and service for our customers.”

That solid partnership and longtime friendship can be found in the agency’s two partners: Lee McGriff and Mack Williams.

McGriff entered the insurance business as a second career after serving as a football coach at the University of Florida. The agency’s roots began as an exclusive Nationwide agency and for the first three years, McGriff worked solo. But when his friend and then early-morning running companion, Mack Williams, found himself needing to make a career change, the ideal partnership began to form.

“Spending those early mornings talking and running, that’s how we really got to know each other,” McGriff said. “Then at some point it occurred to me that if he was going to change careers, then we should consider becoming partners and focus more on the commercial side of insurance.”

The business began flourish when Williams joined the firm, which remained a Nationwide exclusive agency until 2008. That’s when Nationwide decided to move from an exclusive agency model to an independent agency model in Florida. The change opened the door for other opportunities at McGriff-Williams Insurance, McGriff said.

“It was wonderful for us because it wasn’t like Nationwide went away,” he said. “We got to keep all our clients and relationships with Nationwide, but were able to expand into the independent markets.”

That expansion has led to an entrance into the world of employee benefits, as well. On May 1, 2014, McGriff-Williams purchased a Blue Cross health insurance agency.

McGriff-Williams LogoWhen Williams joined the firm in 1986, the agency wrote just about $1 million in premium in property/casualty business. Today McGriff-Williams Insurance writes between $19 million to $20 million in premium in property/casualty business, with approximately 55 percent in commercial lines and 45 percent in personal lines – all with a staff of 20 employees.

It’s the employees that have made the agency a great place to work, McGriff said.

“Your agency is only as good as your people,” McGriff said. “Everyone has a significant role; there’s not a job in this agency that isn’t incredibly important. We so appreciate the people that work with us and what they do to help our business grow, make it a good place to work, and make it a place where our clients feel welcomed and enjoy doing business with.”

Another employee said: “Our agency owners treat the agency like each employee is an owner. They always look to take care of each employee’s needs before themselves. It’s a very unselfish atmosphere, which makes us a strong team. Our growth over the last few years has been better than ever, so the future is bright and I am truly excited to be a part of it.”

That sentiment was echoed throughout several employee Best Agency to Work For nominations.

“Owners have often put employee raises over their own personal paychecks when the growth of the agency was not as large as in previous years. They continue to put their employee first, which not only increases retention, but shows employees that they care about our well-being and our contributions to the agency.”

About Andrea Wells

Andrea Wells is a veteran insurance editor and Editor-in-Chef of Insurance Journal Magazine. More from Andrea Wells

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Insurance Journal West October 6, 2014
October 6, 2014
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