Benefits of Working for a Small Family-run Insurance Agency
We know at many large corporations it’s standard practice for upper management to ask their marketing team to publish an embellished pdf, touting all the reasons why it is great to work at that company.
“THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD WORK FOR US,” their materials practically scream at you.
Well, we’re not going to do that in this article. We could, but what would that really tell you about working at a small independent insurance agency like us at Berry Insurance? Instead we’re interviewing our employees -- each and every one of them -- to ask what they think about working at a small, family-run insurance agency.
Why, you ask? We have worked really hard to create a great family of the right employees here. And we want everyone to have a chance to love going to work. So we wrote this article for you -- whether you are thinking about getting into the insurance industry, or if you are thinking of making the switch from a large carrier. In this article, we’ll share some sentiments of what it is like to work for a small family-run insurance agency.
While we can’t confirm the following thoughts align with all small, independent agencies, this is what we have experienced at Berry Insurance.
When Kaitlyn and her husband Chris purchased the agency in 2017, after working there for 14 years, they did so because they really valued the benefits of working for a small insurance agency, and wanted to keep that environment alive for other insurance professionals.
Here is a list of some of the benefits Kaitlyn says she has noticed from working within a small family-owned agency for most of her career:
- Feeling like a valued, contributing member of a team -- not just someone who punches a timeclock and doesn’t make a difference.
- Having a team “family” and support system away from your real family.
- Flexibility. We all have personal appointments or kid events that we want to attend, and we all pitch in and help so that we can have a great work-life balance.
- We share a lot in common - from shared school calendars, to where we grew up, to places we visited as a kid. You can’t get that from a large company with employees all over the country.
- We support local organizations (i.e. non profits, school communities, etc.) and support the efforts and activities of our teammates' kids as well.
- More creative flexibility in terms of ideas to improve the organization, but also in ways to adjust your job to grow your strengths.
Chris says the greatest benefit of working at a small independent agency is the easy collaboration and access to one another.
He says everyone is in one location so every employee can easily communicate, making information sharing and collaboration between teams easier.
This creates an environment where “your voice matters and you are not a number but part of the team/family,” he said.
“There’s a casual work environment, not one with stuffy suits and ties, and there is more flexibility,” he added.
John says his favorite thing about working for a small independent agency is every employee's connection to both the community, and one another.
“I think a small independent agency has a much better understanding of its clients needs than a larger agency,” he says. “The small agency is more involved in their community, and really gets to know its clients on a personal level. Those that work for the small agency often have a lot in common, and I think this common ground makes for a more productive work environment.”
Shelly says she enjoys working for a small agency vs. a larger carrier because she feels more value in getting to know her clients and being able to see her impact on them.
“The major benefit of working for a small agency is actually knowing my clients,” she says. “I love the ongoing relationship building as it says a lot about a small agency. The client appreciates working with one person as opposed to a call center.”
She adds, “when I worked for a large carrier, it was just a call center so I would speak to whoever called in. There wasn’t any relationship building like I experience now.”
Since Laura has been working with the Berry Insurance team and running the front desk for 16 years, it is no surprise she had a lot to say about the value of working at Berry Insurance.
For one, she says there is a true sense of caring within a small company.
“You really feel like you matter and make a difference,” she says. “Everyone is treated equally. It doesn’t matter your title or length of employment; Everyone’s opinions are listened to and supported.”
She also says that because the company is small, “You’re able to learn about the whole business. Through meetings and just overhearing conversations, it’s interesting to hear what’s going on in other departments.”
And this really helps create a strong team environment.
“You belong to a team of people who have the same purpose and you create friendships which makes work seem like your second family,” she says.
Stacy says that in a small work environment, you are really valued and have a voice within the company.
“I feel like I have a say in many conversations and decisions and that my opinion will be considered on a variety of topics,” she says. “This may not be true at all family run agencies but I think it’s true here.”
She also loves that our reputation as a local family owned company creates connection within the community.
“We have a positive reputation so that definitely helps! We are well known in town and that makes it easier to start up conversations outside of the office. We sponsor events and participate in local activities.”
Kim is an outside the box thinker, so naturally, she wanted to share a really unique benefit of working for a small agency.
She says working at Berry Insurance actually gives her peace of mind and makes her life much easier outside of work.
“The benefit I’ve personally experienced is having easy access to my agent (John).”
By working so close to him, she gets to see his work in action each day, which helps her feel really confident about her own personal insurance.
When clients are concerned about late fees, she says, “He immediately calls the billing department and has those fees removed. Same goes for claims. If a customer requests an update John gets right on it. I like getting stuff done right away and not having it drag out and having an agent tackle those things on your behalf is awesome.”
Corin Cook, Content Marketing Manager
OK -- my turn now. Fortunately, I really love working at Berry Insurance, so this will be easy.
I really love the dynamic of the small team here. It enables every team member to be involved in several aspects of the business, which in turn makes all of our jobs A LOT easier.
Because we all have a common vision and a clear understanding of everyone’s role, we are all aligned on nearly every aspect of what we do -- we don’t deal with the communication issues or conflict other larger companies have to manage every day.
It really creates a positive environment to come to work to each day, and it allows for more time and freedom to be creative and establish a sense of place within the agency.
As someone who spends much of his time at Berry Insurance behind the camera creating videos, Sami has a unique perspective of the work environment of a small family-owned agency. He shared several benefits of working here -- a whole bulleted list of them, in fact! This is what he had to say:
- Everyone is friendly and empathetic, they’re always willing to try new things.
- We’re community oriented, which extends to how we work with each other.
- If we need anything from each other, such as a policy or blog, we can easily find it and share it with one another.
- We’re able to always stay on the same page as a small team, this makes it easier to get things done.
- Shredder and Rider (of course)
- Creative freedom and autonomy when creating content.
Shredder thinks it is pretty pawsome that since Berry Insurance is small and family owned, dogs are allowed.
“I don’t think dogs are allowed in a lot of businesses. Sometimes when my parents run errands, I need to wait in the car because they say dogs aren’t allowed inside.”
He adds, “I also really love having a second family at work. I get to take turns paying a visit to each of my subordinates to get back scratches. Some of them even keep beds under their desks for me. We are a small agency, so less people means more places for me to curl up. I even get the best seat in the house during all our meetings -- Stacy’s lap!”
As a man of many words, he continues “I really do love it here. Sometimes mom and dad leave me at home during the day, and it makes me really upset. They clearly don’t value the importance of my work.”
*Editor’s note: It’s important to note that Kaitlyn and Chris do value every employee's work -- Shredder just gets a little dramatic sometimes.
Rider echoes his brother’s sentiments about the family he works with at Berry Insurance.
“I’ve never worked anywhere else, so it’s hard to compare,” he says, “but I really do think we have a good community feel here.”
He also thinks Berry Insurance’s valued clients contribute to the community environment.
“I love running to the lobby every time a client comes into the office,” he says.” I always make sure to give them a warm welcome by barking a ton. Mom and dad always yell at me when I do that, but I think the visitors really like it, so I’m not going to stop.”
Don’t take our word for it
Maybe this isn’t that fabricated, overstated recruiting piece demanded by management, listing all the benefits of working for a company -- but we’re also not hiding the fact that this is still technically marketing material (I am in the marketing department after all).
So we understand if you still have your doubts. You may be thinking: How could a workplace be so positive all the time?
But we’re also not afraid to be honest: things definitely aren’t all rainbows and butterflies over here all the time. Small family run businesses also have their problems just like larger corporations.
But we think it really says a lot that every single one of our employees has loads of great things to say when asked what it’s like to work at a small, family-run agency. For a lot of people, their first instinct is to complain or feel neutral about their job, but here, the good really seems to outshine the bad on most days.
And most of us have worked here for a long time and plan to stay here for a long time, which really goes to show how deep that value really runs for us all.
If you’re interested in finding the same kind of value in your work, we would recommend trying out a career at a small, independent insurance agency. And if you think we could be the right one for you at any time, head on over to our careers page: