A Small Agency with a Big Heart

By | October 18, 2021

It may be a small agency within the spectrum of the independent insurance agency universe, but there’s nothing diminished about Lansing, Michigan-based The Rathbun Agency in the minds of its employees.

That’s apparent from Rathbun employees’ overwhelmingly positive responses to Insurance Journal’s 2021 Best Agencies to Work For survey, which earned The Rathbun Agency the designation of IJ’s Silver Best Agency to Work For in the Midwest.

“The Agency is small but has a BIG heart for all their employees along with the community. They share pretty much everything that is going on with the agency including the financials every quarter and the direction they want to see the agency go,” one survey respondent commented.

The Rathbun Agency has 15 team members and annual revenues of around $2.5 million, said agency president, Ben Rathbun, who is carrying on the family tradition as a third-generation principle at the firm, which was founded in 1953. With the unexpected passing of his father, Paul Rathbun, earlier this year, Ben said he was “thrust into the agency president position.”

Ranking as a Best Agency finalist “is very exciting after everything crazy that is going on at the agency right now,” he added.

The agency’s excellence “begins with the leadership and example shown by our owners,” one employee wrote. “The dedication, organization and perseverance to be a successful business is something our leaders display gracefully. The best way to deliver the best customer service is to decide to do it. And like first mentioned, that comes from the top. Ownership also recognizes in order to get the best from their employees, they too, need that same care and attention.”

In addition, the respondent added: “We have tremendous benefits, ‘extras’ throughout the year through gas cards, clothing allowance, bonuses and others. That type of reward for employees brings out the best in motivation and the desire to do better and more. It is a great, successful cycle.”

Another employee wrote: “With the recent passing of our president, we have come closer than ever. The way we have all come together in this sad time really shows that we work really well as a team. We have people stepping up and taking charge, and the agents have a plan in place for every unexpected event.”

Ben Rathbun expressed appreciation for the agency’s team, saying they are “what makes this family agency tick.”

He added that the agency has long believed in the importance of taking care of its “employees like they are our own family. And that in turn would allow them to provide exceptional service to our insureds.”

Employees also praised the agency’s dedication to the local community. Wrote one: “I am proud to work here because of all the community things this agency is a part of. They do all they can to help make this community the best it can!”

Rathbun said employees are empowered to engage in the local community, and they respond. “Community is at the heart of everything we do,” he said, adding: “All of our agents serve extensively on nonprofit boards throughout Lansing and are heavily invested in community projects. Our employees have a sense of pride in where they work, as they see the pivotal role we play in the lives of so many families.”

As it did with most other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a new set of challenges for the agency. However, Rathbun said: “We pivoted. The pandemic gave us a unique opportunity to accelerate many long-term projects out of necessity. We updated our management system and utilized work-from-home capabilities. We navigated creating more efficient processes to service our insureds. Our leadership team led through the pandemic staying grounded in empathy.

The pandemic created unique challenges that forced us to adapt and lead as we went. But having a solid, educated and customer-oriented team allowed us to thoughtfully execute our mission of being the solution to our communities’ risk management needs.”

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Insurance Journal Magazine October 18, 2021
October 18, 2021
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