Be Intentional: Why Powers Insurance Ranks High in Satisfaction
When Pierce Powers founded Powers Insurance & Risk Management in 1991, it wasn’t his idea. He had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a surgeon. But an auto accident during his senior year in college changed everything.
“Over a beer and limburger cheese, Dad said, I love what I do, I love my practice and my patients. The only regret I have is that I do not have a business to perpetuate,” Pierce Powers, CEO, told Insurance Journal.
He advised his son, the oldest of the family’s eight children, to seek out a business that would afford his own children an opportunity to perpetuate if they wished to do so.
The rest is history for Insurance Journal’s Overall Best Agency to Work For in 2021. Employees of Powers Insurance nominated it as a Best Agency to Work For, giving high marks for the agency’s performance in various categories, including compensation, management, employee benefits, culture and much more.
Today, Powers Insurance is a relatively small but growing independent agency with 28 employees writing $25 million in premium (72% commercial lines, 28% personal lines). The agency specializes in business segments such as hospitality, cannabis, construction, surety and private client, according to JD Powers, who serves as president of the firm.
Employees say the agency’s culture is one reason they enjoy working there. “The leadership is extremely supportive, leads by example and invests heavily in their employees,” one employee said in the survey.
“I absolutely love it,” wrote another. “Everyone genuinely cares about each other and makes the effort to build rapport. Everyone gives good feedback but is not critical, so it is easy to learn and grow.”
Another commented: “The ownership and leadership team believe and invest in the employment team; there are frequent and lucrative opportunities for advancement.”
JD Powers says enabling employees to thrive and grow their skillsets helps to meet the expectations of the agency’s clients.
“Insurance companies know our risk management reputation is legit and we implement processes to benefit the client’s operation and increase the insurance companies comfort level,” he said. “Often times we can place a risk with an insurance company when they wouldn’t accept it otherwise due to our reputation to improve the risk profile and drive better outcomes for our clients.”
Employees agreed and gave Powers Insurance high marks for client service. “We go above and beyond with the claims process for our clients,” one said. “A lot of brokers can’t say that when dealing with multiple carriers. But we are involved all the way through.”
Another said: “Powers does things the right way and the ownership group is the most selfless group of people I have had the pleasure of knowing.”
In 2006, Powers Insurance became the regional founding member of the Valley Insurance Agency Alliance (VIAA) agency network, part of the Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance (SIAA). Three of Pierce Powers’ children and his wife, Sue, are partners in VIAA. JD Powers serves as its president and today VIAA generates more than $350 million in written premium. “Our Alliance team helps independent agents make money and a lot of it. No one in the region does what we do,” one employee wrote about VIAA.
JD Powers says while the agency is fortunate to earn several awards throughout the year, the Best Agency to Work For award is the most meaningful. “Our associates share feedback with us regularly, so receiving this award truly validates that our team feels appreciated and genuinely listened to,” he said. “We are very intentional in making associates know we care starting with the hiring process, and we clearly communicate it’s safe to share anything with us.”
“I have never been anywhere with such support,” an employee wrote. “Not to mention, they are wonderful with work/life balance. … They show class and equality… I have never felt this at any other company.”
JD’s best advice for agency owners striving to create a great workplace environment — invite feedback. “And incorporate any feedback into your vision to help improve your firm. Your vision will receive more buy in from team members and ongoing collaboration is more likely to organically permeate and enhance the overall culture.”
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