When Kevin McPoyle and Robert Dietzel founded their namesake independent agency, KMRD Partners Inc., six years ago, they aimed to create a unique business model that blended high-level expertise in risk management techniques with an agencywide emphasis on relationship-building. And they believe one of the most important relationships is with their employees.
Judging from the votes and appreciative comments from employees, the relationship-building at KMRD is working, which is why KMRD is the Insurance Journal Best Agency to Work For in the East region.
Working at the agency, according to one of the employees, “is one of those rare situations where you actually feel part of something new and special every time you walk into the office. I know it’s only insurance, but to us it’s a passion to change the industry one client at a time.”
The Warrington, Pa., agency focuses on providing coverage and risk management services to “upper middle-market” commercial accounts — many of which are too small to hire a full-time risk management staff, but large enough to need one. That’s KMRD’s selling point, a strategy that has allowed it to quickly add customers and new employees. Since its launch in late 2004, the firm has seen its annual premium volume grow to $14 million, its staff increase to 16 employees and five part-timers, and its offices expand into three locations.
McPoyle and Dietzel have achieved this early growth by building a work atmosphere that is competitive, provides well for employees and still maintains an atmosphere that feels like “a family,” according to employees.
“We spend a lot of time vetting new hires, so once we have that person we’re looking for, we want them to be able to focus on their job,” McPoyle said. “We want staff to feel secure that they and their families are taken care of.”
Those benefits include fully funded health insurance and matched 401ks, along with frequent lunches and picnics — and even occasional massages. The partners also work to build camaraderie and a sense of shared accomplishment, which helps complement the family-like atmosphere.
The agency has an “Employee of the Day” trophy, for instance, that is awarded by the agency’s CSRs, who often hear the compliments on how producers or other staff are doing their jobs. That praise is shared widely. Whenever an e-mail, phone call or other mention of an employee doing a good job comes in, it’s sent along to all of the staff. Perhaps the most obvious symbol of this shared sense of mission is the victory bell that hangs on the wall in the firm’s “war room.”
“We ring it whenever we win,” McPoyle said. And what’s winning? “Winning is taking the other broker ‘out’ and winning the right to represent an account as their professional service provider.” In short, another relationship has been formed.
Judging by KMRD’s rapid growth in just six years — and by their employees’ enthusiasm — McPoyle and Dietzel should become experts in ringing that bell.
Overall: Barney & Barney, San Diego, California
South Central: Bryan Insurance Agency, Graham, Texas
Southeast: Seitlin Group, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Midwest: Wine Sergi & Co., St. Charles, Illinois
West: Chapman & Associates, Pasadena, California
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