A Democracy of Ideas

By | October 7, 2019

That phrase “you can’t be all things to all people” has been tossed out the window at Snapp & Associates Insurance Services.

Accurate and regular salary reviews. Room for growth. Good leaders who don’t micromanage. A welcoming environment, and positive energy. Full reimbursement for continuing education, and paid medical benefits. A high standard of customer service. Flexible working conditions. And of course great holiday parties.

Those are among the attributes employees called out numerous times in this year’s Insurance Journal Best Agency to Work for Survey. Snapp & Associates was awarded Gold – West.

The San Diego, Calif.-based firm has 65 employees and reports $8.5 million in annual revenue. Snapp & Associates was founded in 1947 by Doug Hafford and Jim Snapp, and has been under its current ownership since 1992.

The firm offers personal and commercial insurance, with an emphasis on serving the hospitality, construction and real property industries.

“Our brand is getting bigger and better in those segments,” said Dan Beck, senior vice president and co-owner of the firm.

Beck gives credit for that to the employees, and the ideas they bring in. Management regularly solicits staff feedback, a process Beck calls being part of “a democracy,” and then the leaders there take what they hear and make improvements.

“We’re incredibly engaged with the staff. We’re not distant owners,” Beck said of he and co-owner John Toon, president. The pair split responsibilities to ensure both are active in the various areas of operations.

The other key to a happy and successful workplace has been to hire people who are new to insurance, and then help them grow.

Snapp & Associates staff participating in a game in which participants blow up the
balloon until it pops. Winners got two Disneyland tickets. The game was a preamble
to the Florida Georgia Line Concert in Chula Vista on Sept. 20. Employees and their
spouses tailgated and then went to the concert.

“Our best employees are the ones that we brought in from a baseline entry-level position,” Beck said. “We need to be developing young talent to come into this industry.”

Many employees in comments made while nominating their firm as a Best Agency to Work For praised Snapp & Associates leaders for that.

“When I started at Snapp and Associates, I had just quit a front-of-the-house cashier position,” one employee wrote. “In just three years, I was licensed by the state of California and promoted.”

The employee later pursued a CISR designation, and was thereafter encouraged to keep going.

“No strings attached, no contract, no payback expected if I leave,” the employee continued. “It’s difficult to find a company that cares about you as person and not just a number.”

Having an atmosphere that feels like family was also an oft-mentioned praise.

“Snapp & Associates is a great place to work because we have a great family atmosphere,” an employee wrote. “There’s room for growth and the owners are involved in the community! We are reviewed annually for salary and bonus incentives! They pay for our health insurance and also match our 401K. Owners are approachable and hardworking!”

“Snapp and Associates has been a family,” another employee wrote. “I know a lot of people say that, but it is the best description. I see my owners as people who want the best for me and care that I excel in life. There is no contract stating if they provide education I have to pay back, or even that I have to pay for education, and they reimburse. It is 100% paid in full by the company with no strings attached.”

Just as importantly, perhaps, is that Mondays at Snapp & Associates aren’t so bad.

“They make sure that I am healthy with top-of-the-line healthcare for free and offer flu shots in the winter months,” the employee continued. “My coworkers are always there for each other when someone is out or falling behind. There is no ‘This isn’t my job or account’ attitude. It is always a team effort, from the top down. I don’t dread coming to work, and ‘Ugh Monday’s’ feelings are so low I shouldn’t even mention it.”

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Insurance Journal West October 7, 2019
October 7, 2019
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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