Powers Insurance & Risk Management: Building A Family-Driven Culture of Success

October 16, 2023 by

As a multi-year winner of Insurance Journal’s Best Agency to Work For award, J.D. Powers of Powers Insurance & Risk Management doesn’t lose sight of what the honor represents to the St. Louis, Missouri-based company.

“The fact that it’s not a flash in the pan, it’s consistent,” said Powers. “As the CEO, I don’t have much ability to get feedback as far as how I’m doing as a leader so it’s pretty much the best feedback I could possibly receive.”

A family-driven culture of finding the right people, identifying employees’ strengths, and reinvesting in the company makes Powers Insurance one of the top-rated agencies year-over-year. The agency, which provides personal and business insurance, surety, risk management and employee benefits, earned the 2023 Silver award for the Midwest region.

Employees expressed satisfaction with compensation, work-life balance and communication between team members, making it a place where they are proud to work.

“This company, while seeing tremendous growth, still sticks to its core values as a truly family owned and operated entity,” one employee said.

As CEO, J.D. Powers credits the company’s growth to its rigorous hiring process of finding people who are interested in building a long career at the agency. Since 2008, Powers and its sister company, Valley Insurance Agency Alliance, have grown from nine employees to 74.

“In this tight labor market, it’s been difficult to remain patient during the hiring process, but we really just overcommunicate, set expectations so people understand why we have such a thorough process,” J.D. Powers said. “We’re looking to make the right hire for them to ideally be here the rest of their career.”

The agency conducts at least three rounds of interviews and, depending on the position, two or more assessments. The agency relies on feedback from department managers and other employees before making a hiring decision. By doing their homework in the hiring process, agency leaders are able to identify people who are almost “always more talented and smarter than us,” J.D. Powers said.

The agency acknowledges it sometimes gets the seat wrong with a new hire. So, employees are given the opportunity to move around within the company to find a role where they can succeed.

“They created a new position for me just 9 months into my employment, allowing me to excel and have a mutually beneficial place within the company,” one employee said.

Employees also have the freedom to share ideas, questions and concerns, and agency leaders hold a round-table to address problems in real-time.

Open communication and trust enables the agency to grow at a healthy rate with a healthy culture, said J.D. Powers.

“The floor is always open and we are able to contribute ideas, express concerns, and offer opinions,” one employee said. “In return our contributions are not only heard, but valued, considered and often implemented if they make sense to the whole team.”

Several employees remarked that the company fosters a family-oriented culture that comes with benefits like an office nap room, a nursing room and a stretch therapist. Powers also offers employees full health benefits and agency-paid $50,000 life insurance.

As the agency has scaled its business in recent years, the owners have been conscientious about reinvesting profits into the company’s people and technology.

“The insurance industry is one of the most valuable types of business you can own, and there’s a reason why private equity wants to buy all of us,” said J.D. Powers. “I would just encourage people to keep working really hard through this hard market, investing the amount of money that’s required to help them continue to get to the next level and not give up and sell to private equity or national agencies.”