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2016 BEST Insurance Brokerage: George Petersen Insurance Agency

Author: Petter Westby and Cerrissa Kim
May, 2016 Issue

"We don't work for an insurance company; we work for our clients." —Robb Daer

Congratulations to George Petersen Insurance Agency (GPI) on being voted Best Insurance Brokerage, its 10th award in the category. “We’re very proud of receiving this award for our performance,” says Robb Daer, partner and chief administrative officer. “It reassures us that what we’re doing matters and that we’re on the right path going forward.”
When asked what’s behind the company’s success and competitive advantage, Daer says, “We’re independent agents, free to choose the best carrier for your insurance needs. We don’t work for an insurance company; we work for our clients. When they suffer a loss, we follow through to see they get fair, prompt payment and service. George Petersen Insurance Agency represents a carefully selected group of financially strong, reputable insurance companies, which lets us offer the best coverage at the most competitive price.”
Daer continues, “There are three major factors allowing us continued growth and success: having a young sales staff that’s undergone superior training; acquisitions of companies where the opportunity is a good fit; and building solid relationships with trade organizations. This strategy has proven very successful.”
GPI is a private company founded 81 years ago (1935) and is headquartered in Eureka, California. It has a total of 160 employees, of which 70 are located in the North Bay (with Santa Rosa being the largest office, firm wide). The geographic footprint for the company is Northern California (Santa Rosa and north). It offers business insurance, personal insurance and employee benefits. While serving a wide range of lines of business, the focus is on construction, manufacturing, agriculture and health care. Daer says, “Our firm has a strong regional presence with long term commitments to clients and employees. I believe this is another driver of our success over the years.”
The firm experienced consistent growth of about 12 percent annually over the past several years. Combine this with a significant increase in efficiency and you have a great formula for gained competitive advantage. “We’ve implemented a new agency management system, which initially resulted in a 15 percent productivity increase right out of the gate and is currently providing a 20 percent efficiency gain relative to our prior performance,” says Daer.
He continues, “To further our effectiveness and efficiency, we’ll invest in younger employees [relative to the industry] and keep focusing on automation opportunities resulting from investments in technology.”  
Looking forward, George Petersen will continue to focus heavily on the Affordable Care Act, which has created considerable work lately. Daer says, “While we continue to look for new opportunities and quick adaptation to changes in the business environment, we must not lose sight of our strongest assets—our employees. We very much value a balance between work and family and are flexible with our staff when there’s something that needs to be taken care of at home. We don’t micromanage our staff. They’re highly capable individuals and, as I said, our strongest asset.”


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