Employees at SouthGroup Insurance Services don’t just like where they work – they LOVE it. And going through the pandemic has only reinforced their love and appreciation of their employer, selected as Insurance Journal’s Best Agency to Work For – Gold in the southeast region.
“During this pandemic our office has pulled together to make things feel as normal as possible for each and every one that works here as we all have had different situations occur and we have worked as a team to keep moving forward,” said one employee.
“I have never worked for a company that has been so generous, caring, understanding, willing to reward, shows appreciation for the work done, understanding of errors and advice on how to correct,” said another.
The agency, based in Ridgeland Miss., specializes in personal and business insurance through its 22 Mississippi branch locations and also works with clients in Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and other states.
SouthGroup has 135 employees with revenue of just over $18 million.
President & CEO Ronnie Tubertini says he and the SouthGroup partners are very proud of their dedicated staff. One of the independent agency’s major goals is to provide a friendly and stable working environment that promotes pride, professionalism and opportunity.
“We consider all of our employees to be teammates on a championship team of teams,” said Tubertini, who noted employees refer to themselves as SouthGroupies. “Like all sports or rock groupies, our SouthGroupies are proud to be associated and care about SouthGroup and our future.”
That sense of pride in their place of business was evident in the dozens of Best Agency to Work For SouthGroup employee survey submissions. From the company’s generous benefit options, to employee growth opportunities to the agency’s support services and its emphasis on giving back to the community, SouthGroup team members emphasized how lucky they feel to be part of the organization.
“Employees are respected and treated with fairness and our opinions are valued. Community service is encouraged, and our leaders lead by example. I enjoy coming to work each day,” said a respondent.
“I love going to work everyday because I work at SouthGroup and I love helping people! We have over 20 locations, but we function together seamlessly using tech and messenger tools,” said another. “We help each other out with ideas and markets and short cuts to do our jobs better. We work hard to make all of our communities better.”
Tubertini said he started his first agency at 25 and now 45 years later, he is still excited about being in the insurance business and looks forward to any future changes and challenges.
“Most of our SouthGroup offices enthusiastically encourage a family atmosphere, and that spreads throughout the entire organization through its collaboration,” he said.
That collaboration was noted by employees in regard to the company’s charitable work, which includes supporting hundreds of nonprofits and community groups, schools, and sports teams and hosting an annual 5K to raise money for Blair E. Baton’s Children’s Hospital, located in Jackson, Miss. This cause in particular is very dear to SouthGroup employees’ hearts as a grandson of one team member was saved thanks to the efforts of the hospital. SouthGroup has raised more than $300,000 for the hospital.
As the agency adjusted to the pandemic with flexible working hours and telework opportunities, employees said they were grateful for the support and understanding of their leaders.
“The flexibility to work from home all the time (before, during and after the pandemic) has been a lifeline for this working mom,” said a respondent. “In today’s world, flexibility for families is vital, particularly with working moms.”
Tubertini said SouthGroup offered flexible working hours telework opportunities even prior to Covid-19. The agency also places a value on education, encouraging all of its licensed agents to be on a continuous education track.
All agency should “consider your employees as your greatest asset,” he said.
“We are in a service business, whether it is commercial or personal lines, and our agency employees are the face of our agency,” he said. “I’ve always tried to live by the old maxim that you can buy a person’s back, but you can’t buy their heart. I want to have their heart and them have mine.”
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