The Starr Group
Best Agency to Work For – Midwest
A Healthy, Ethical Workplace
Insurance Journal‘s 2015 Best Agency to Work For, Gold Winner – Midwest Region – The Starr Group in Greenfield, Wis. – has garnered awards from regional press and the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau for both its ethical excellence and its healthy workplace.
Those attributes, and many more, are certainly appreciated by the Milwaukee-area agency’s employees judging from their responses to the IJ survey. “Ethics is a priority, not an afterthought. It’s easy to do the right thing when you know management has your back. Customers sometimes make unethical requests and when I deny them, demand to speak to a manager. No problem – please do, I know the answer will be the same,” one employee wrote.
“I love the wellness program that the company promotes as part of its health benefits. It is a fun and healthy environment to work in every day,” said another.
Employees also praised The Starr Group’s management for an emphasis on work/life balance, professionalism and employee development. “Starr Group has a great workplace/home life balance, a focus on wellness and expects high ethical behavior. The flexibility and accommodation is unmatched,” an employee wrote.
“The leaders at The Starr Group are always looking out for their employees and know that everyone employed contributes to the growth and retention of this agency. They are careful in the hiring process. Rather than fill a position with a body they spend quality time making sure that the individual also is a culture fit,” wrote another.
Employees emphasized that while The Starr Group may not be the largest organization in the area, it has the resources to be both successful and competitive.
“On the business side, even though we are a smaller agency, we can go toe-to-toe with the larger agencies because we have the technology and tools to expertly serve their needs. We still have that one-on-one, human factor when we deal with our customers,” said an employee.
The affirmation from his staff is not lost on Starr Group President and CEO Tim Starr. “How can one not feel proud when their teammates suggest you have done a great job! This is confirmation that others believe, as I, that despising mediocrity is a noteworthy and appropriate mantra,” he said.
Agents and account managers at the Starr Group must attain the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designations, Starr said. That distinction is meaningful, according to an employee who wrote: “I’m not aware of many other agencies that have the same requirement and I think this shows how dedicated Starr is to continuing education. The goal is to become experts in risk management and one way to do that is to never stop learning.”
The agency operates in three areas of insurance – commercial lines, group benefits and personal lines. That concentration of focus is integral to its success, according to Starr. “We put significant energy toward only three pillars and no more. We believe we must become an agency operating in the top 5 percent of success metrics of those three pillars or we need to leave,” he said.
Starr described the agency and its staff as being contract “nerds” who apply that knowledge to their clients’ risk management needs. It also “is the only agency in Wisconsin that is certified to teach attorneys and law firms Continuing Legal Education (CLE),” he said.
Summing up, Starr said: “It is simply awesome to step into the exposures a business or family has and invariably improve their risk profile and or improve their likelihood that a loss would not have a negative impact on their financial wellbeing.”
- Best Agency to Work For – Overall: Rogers & Gray Insurance
- Best Agency to Work For – Midwest: Powers Insurance & Benefits
- Best Agency to Work For – South Central: Hotchkiss Insurance Agency
- Best Agency to Work For – South Central: Rich & Cartmill
- Best Agency to Work For – Southeast: Wallace Welch & Willingham
- Best Agency in West: MOC, Where Employee Opinions Matter
- Best Agency to Work For – East: Hanson & Ryan Inc.
- Best Agency to Work For – East: WT Phelan & Co.
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