Commitment to Employee Development Helps Sets Granite Insurance Apart

October 3, 2022 by

The Best Agency to Work For in the Southeast for 2022 is North Carolina-based Granite Insurance Agency, an organization that is such a great place to be employed that one worker called it “life changing.”

“Granite Insurance and its team is beyond supportive, ready for adversity, respects change and sacrifice — but most importantly shows you respect and treats you with what you’re worth!” said Zach Goans, associate account manager at Granite, in an answer to Insurance Journal’s survey this year.

Granite, with four offices around the state, is led by CEO Cameron Annas, President Chase Keller and CFO Neil Annas. The agency, licensed in all 50 states, has 33 employees and has been around for almost 90 years. Insurance Journal received a large number of responses from Granite workers, giving the agency one of the high average scores on employee satisfaction ratings.

An emphasis on teamwork and respecting employees seems to be the key to Granite’s continued success.

“What really sets Granite Insurance apart is our commitment to the development of our team on both a personal and professional level,” CEO Annas said.

“We’re hyper-focused on leadership training. We believe the best way to serve our clients is to ensure that each of our team members perform at the highest level possible.”

Agents and other workers at the agency agree.

“The culture that the management team has established is incredible,” said Chris Faber, marketing coordinator.

“They strive to empower every employee and client to reach success. Granite also has adapted to the times and incorporated an awesome flex-work program, allowing their employees to work remotely as life changes.”

Said account manager Kara Miller: “GIA spends most of its time trying to see how it can make its employees’ work and personal lives better. From the top down, every single person here is invested in making this a place you WANT to come to every day and you WANT to put your best foot forward for.”

Annas had this advice for other agencies: “It’s super easy to overcomplicate this. The success of every part of your business is dependent upon your team. Treat your team members accordingly.”

Granite was founded in 1936 by Dr. A.D. Abernathy, a dentist and community leader in Granite Falls, North Carolina, according to the agency website. In 1957, Floyd Annas and his wife Theresa purchased all outstanding stock in the agency. Some 33 years later, in 1990, Neil and Lou Anne Annas purchased the agency from Floyd and Theresa.

In 2005, Granite joined the Keystone Insurance Group. It now focuses on personal and commercial property lines but also writes for some niche industries, including adventure and entertainment operators; sports leagues and clubs; haunted attractions; contractors; manufacturers; trucking and transportation; and senior living facilities.

Through the years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has looked for opportunities, Cameron Annas said.

“The business environment during the pandemic provided us with a very real opportunity to refine our culture of accountability,” he said. “Of course, there were challenges. That wasn’t all bad though. We were intentional about identifying the opportunities within the challenges.”

This approach enabled the organization to weather the storm and come out the other side stronger, more agile, and better prepared to do business in the post-pandemic world, Annas said.

Other employees heaped praise on the agency. When asked about performance and salary reviews, Ruthie Rivers, the adventure and entertainment risk consultant, said:

“I am a producer so I don’t have much to say on the topic of salary reviews. I make what I earn,” she said. “But performance reviews and check-ins are phenomenal. I feel like I have an abundance of autonomy in my work, but when I need support or guidance it is never lacking and is always well-informed, enthusiastic and encouraging.”