“Very few independent agencies are locally owned. That allows us to be a little more flexible in how we run our business…a little more agile.”—Robb Daer, chief operating officer
Since 1935, the George Petersen Insurance Agency has provided clients with top-quality service throughout the North Bay. The agency has 10 regional offices, located in Auburn, Colusa, Eureka, Ferndale, Fort Bragg, Gualala, Redding, San Rafael, Santa Rosa and Ukiah. Agency-wide, there are 190 employees, with 100 employees working in the North Bay.
George Petersen is a full-service insurance agency providing three types of insurance: business/commercial, employee benefits and personal. According Robb Daer, chief operating officer, the insurance within the commercial sector generates the most revenue, whereas the agency has a much larger number of policyholders within the personal insurance sector. “We’re about 60 percent commercial, 20 percent personal and 20 percent employee benefits,” says Daer.
Just what sets this agency apart from its competitors? It’s the high-level service from employees, who are always willing to go the extra mile. In addition, the pandemic has played a much larger role in how the agency’s employees maneuver the world of insurance and what they can offer to clients. “As COVID has gotten so involved in our lives, there’s been a lot more compliance than clients have needed. We call it ‘safety and loss control,’ which is probably our strong suit,” says Daer. “On the employee benefits side, there are a lot of different things that we can do. We help people with COBRA, administration, online portal enrollments, so people can manage their benefits online.” What also sets the agency apart from its competitors, says Daer, is that it remains a locally-run, independent agency. “Most of our competitors have sold out to bigger entities, national entities, so we’re certainly the biggest independent agency,” he says. “Very few independent agencies are locally owned. That allows us to be a little more flexible in how we run our business…a little more agile.”
Daer admits that the pandemic has made things more difficult for the agency. “It’s just made things way more complicated. We worked the whole time because we’re an ‘essential’ business. People’s insurance [policies] still have to be renewed, there are lenders who need proof of insurance and landlords, so there’s a lot of things we do for our clients that have to happen—whether people are able to work or not.” The pandemic has also complicated how the agency runs its business with regards to employees. According to Daer, it has become challenging to manage a business because there are some employees who are working remotely. We’re working differently, says Daer, to make sure everything is getting done.
George Petersen Insurance Agency has won Best Insurance Brokerage nine consecutive years in a row, beginning in 2012. It’s a great honor for the agency to be recognized once again, he says. “I’m super happy about it—it’s a big honor…because it comes from the readers,” he says. “Basically, the community-at-large is choosing us for this. It’s very humbling and a great honor to win it again.”
Daer believes the agency has won Best Insurance Brokerage again is due in part to having good employees. The agency spends a lot of time, effort and money into training employees to become more efficient with the agency’s management system, he adds, while employees spend a lot of time with continued education and learning new things within their industry. During the pandemic, many employees have had to juggle work with home-schooling their children. The agency provides the flexibility they need to strike that balance between work and home. “With COVID hitting, so many of our employees had to deal with trying to work, but also trying to educate their kids,” he says. It’s evident that the George Petersen Insurance Agency is a family-oriented company that values the importance of its employees and clients’ needs, which makes for a great relationship.
Photo courtesy of George Petersen Insurance Agencey