Higginbotham ‘Walks the Walk’

November 6, 2023 by

Rusty Reid joined Higginbotham as the independent insurance agency’s twelfth employee in 1986. Today, about 2,800 of the company’s employees serve thousands of customers at more than 100 offices across 16 states.

Those same employees recently propelled the Fort Worth-based company to a notable honor.

Higginbotham earned the Bronze Regional Award for the South Central region in Insurance Journal’s annual Best Agencies to Work For competition. The agency won the award based on employee responses to the annual survey.

“As a firm, we walk the walk,” an employee wrote in their responses. “We treat our clients and coworkers like family. (Higginbotham is) truly an outstanding agency.”

The Fort Worth-based agency was founded in 1948 has been owned by employees since Rusty Reid, Higginbotham’s chairman and CEO, took the helm in 1989. Since then, the agency has experienced “20-plus percent year-over-year growth,” Reid said, and the agency continues to grow through partnerships and expanded offerings.

About 65% of Higginbotham’s business is personal and commercial property/casualty coverage and risk management. The remaining 35% covers employee benefits, human resources and financial services. Higginbotham also offers regular engagement, support and sharing of expertise through the company’s “day two services.”

Survey respondents praised the agency’s family atmosphere, emphasis on employee happiness and commitment to community involvement. Multiple employees said Higginbotham embodies what it means for a company to put its “people first.” Many others highlighted the structure that enables employees to best serve their clients.

“Our people care for one another and for our external stakeholders,” an employee wrote in their survey response. “You see it demonstrated daily in the hallways, meeting rooms and at events throughout the year. Are we successful? Yes! Do we have proven growth ahead?

Yes! But what truly makes us the best is the way you feel at work, and the tools and resources they provide to us to do our jobs well. They set us up for success.”

When asked what he believes makes Higginbotham a great place to work, Reid pointed to all employees’ participation in Higginbotham’s ownership and synthetic equity plans, as well as leadership’s focus on fostering a constructive working environment. He also shared that Higginbotham’s charitable giving and volunteer efforts support the company’s community mindset.

“It’s one thing to say you kind of want to be a great place to work,” Reid said. “But it’s like anything else in life. Things aren’t easy. You’ve got to be intentional. You’ve got to be mindful.”

Higginbotham team members have donated millions of dollars through the organization’s community fund. That fund is built entirely through employee donations, and employees who contribute to the fund may request grants for specific nonprofit organizations. Since inception, the Higginbotham Community Fund has raised $7.9 million and granted $5.7 million to 1,994 nonprofits.

In addition to taking on local volunteer projects, employees also collect a companywide assemblage of care kits during a giving event, and to celebrate Higginbotham’s 75th anniversary, hundreds gathered in the company’s hometown of Fort Worth to dedicate an afternoon to service.

“The company goes above and beyond to equip our team with everything needed to be successful and makes volunteerism and giving back to our communities a priority, as well,” an employee wrote in their survey response. “Higginbotham is extremely generous in supporting so many nonprofits.”

Reid encouraged his colleagues to listen to their employees, empower them and treat them like family. “It’s not about talking the talk when it comes to employees,” he said. “It’s all about walking the walk.”