Insurance Begins with People
Marshall & Sterling Insurance’s company slogan reads: “Our people are your best insurance.”
The Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based independent agency aims to live up to this concept through its 100 percent employee-owned structure, which President Tim Dean says encourages employee longevity, allowing staff to feel empowered and valued.
In turn, Marshall & Sterling employees expressed how much they value working at Marshall & Sterling in an anonymous survey after they nominated the agency and it won Insurance Journal’s Best Agency to Work For Bronze award in the East region.
“I believe that Marshall & Sterling is one of the best agencies to work for because they genuinely care about their employees and the community,” one employee wrote in the survey.
Dean says he is proud of the team’s effort to differentiate the agency in the markets it serves and of the pride in ownership and value its employee-owners bring to clients and communities.
“I joined Marshall & Sterling because they were well-respected in our community as a great place to foster a successful career, and not just a job,” he told Insurance Journal.
Indeed, employees added in the survey that at Marshall & Sterling, there is a strong push for staff to get involved in the local community.
“For example, we put together teams from our offices to participate in community walks and fundraisers,” one employee said. “We set up charity and donation drives for organizations around us.”
One memory of helping others that stands out for Dean and agency employees, however, was the assistance the team in the agency’s U.S. Virgin Islands office was able to provide during the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma last year, while also dealing with personal losses.
“Our stateside employees pitched in by volunteering to travel to the devastated region and help with claims and recovery efforts, and also helped send financial support, food, batteries, flashlights, solar chargers and generators to help our fellow employees make it through a very difficult period,” he said. “It was an exhausting and stressful year for them, but during this time, they all embodied the essence of our company slogan.”
One employee added that during this time in the New York office, Marshall & Sterling employees were able to handle the influx of calls and created online claim reporting forms that acted as a starting point for the Virgin Islands staff to begin the claims filing process for clients.
Marshall & Sterling employees also collected funds and items for donations, and several employee volunteers left New York and spent several weeks in the Virgin Islands to assist coworkers with claims, the employee added.
“This whole effort by our organization, its management and employee owners – the way that everyone came together to benefit the [Virgin Islands] in its time of need – showed me that Marshall & Sterling truly does care about our staff members and our clients as if we were all one big family,” the employee wrote. “I have never met many of the [Virgin Islands] staff, however, we are able to connect like long lost friends after successfully navigating an event of this magnitude.”
Although the agency has grown since then, employees stated that feeling of being a smaller intimate company hasn’t left its insureds. This is because Marshall & Sterling works hard to educate employees so they can be the best representatives of the agency, one employee wrote.
“Marshall & Sterling epitomizes the old-fashioned values that have made agencies great for decades: hard work, ethical standards, outstanding client service, exceptional knowledge and dedication to always do what’s right,” another employee said in the survey.
While continuing to value its people as the foundation of Marshall & Sterling’s business, Dean said his vision for the future is to continue growing the agency.
“We will continue to grow organically, and through careful acquisitions, to remain a 100 percent employee-owned, independent insurance agency and wealth management firm,” he said.