A Century Young and Still Going Strong
A family-owned insurance agency doesn’t make it to 100 years and counting without doing a lot of things right, and the fact that Garrett Insurance Agency (GIA) in Kerrville, Texas, celebrates a century of service next year has not gone unnoticed by the agency’s employees who nominated it as an Insurance Journal Best Agency to Work For in 2017.
GIA, the Bronze winner of the Best Agency to Work For — South Central region, may be hitting the century mark in 2018, but that in no way means it is stodgy or stuck in its ways. Employees responding to IJ’s Best Agency survey noted that GIA provides staff not only with state-of-the-art equipment, software and phone systems, but with “endless opportunities” to succeed as well.
One employee put it this way: “Next year is the agency’s 100th year anniversary in the small town of Kerrville, Texas. Being around that long you know the agency has had a presence in the community and strives to gain, keep, and build customer relationships. All of our employees have a chance to push themselves and work their way up.”
Another wrote: “If a person is wanting to grow this would be the place to make dreams happen, if a person is willing to work!”
With 35 employees and additional locations in Federicksburg and Conroe, Texas, GIA had an annual revenue last year of more than $3.7 million, according to agency President Stephen R. Schmerbeck.
A fourth-generation leader of the agency, Schmerbeck said in an email to Insurance Journal that it “is humbling and gratifying that the people primarily responsible for our success, our staff, would take the time to tell others about their experience in our office.”
The agency’s leadership has “worked very hard to match our staff with their individual gifts, talents and interests,” Schmerbeck said. While that process has included some trial and error, “the net result has created a cohesive and pleasant environment for all.”
The importance of an agency’s staff can’t be overstated, according to Schmerbeck, because without them, “you are nothing. Theirs is the voice on the phone, face at the reception desk, the first point of contact for our clients and prospects, so hire the best as the investment will pay dividends going forward.”
That staff-centric attitude is obviously appreciated by the agency’s employees. Said one: “I have worked for only one other insurance agency and there is no comparison. The way the employees are treated as family makes me want to work extra hard to make this agency even more successful.”
Another said: “I have been given opportunities from the day I started working. I have always been offered ways to advance in what I am doing, as well as change what I am doing if I do not feel comfortable doing it. … Management has always treated me with respect and kindness in all aspects of our work environment.”
Several employees praised the fact that GIA has been recognized in its community for its excellence. GIA was honored with “Readers Choice” awards from the local newspaper, the Kerrville Daily Times, for the best insurance agency, best boss and best insurance agent in 2017.
It “was also the first business to be inducted in the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame,” said one staff member.
Both the employees and managers can take credit for the agency’s successes, one employee wrote, stating: “Everyone that is involved with our business is the face of the company. Garrett would not be where it is today without the hard work and relationships our staff and managers make every day.”
Another put it simply: Garrett Insurance is “just a terrific place to work!!!!!!!!!!”