An insurance policy is a promise consumers buy so they’re covered when the unexpected happens. It gives policyholders security. In recent years, that difference between unmitigated disaster and possible recovery depends on the foresight in a given insurance plan with an agency you trust. The George Petersen Agency, voted once again as Best Insurance Brokerage, has been delivering on promises for more than 80 years.
What does it take to be the best? Robb Daer, partner and chief administrative officer and commercial producer, says it’s about understanding the clients’ needs, advising them and developing a plan that meets those needs. How do they do that? “It’s such a personal business,” says Daer. “We’re trying to protect everything people have worked their whole lives for. It could be the client’s kid who has his first car, and that’s the most important asset in his life. Or, it could be someone who just bought his first house. We take that responsibility seriously.”
Developing an insurance plan involves looking ahead. “In our business, we have to talk about the worst-case scenarios,” he says, “but until the recent fires, for the most part, they never happened.” After the 2017 firestorm, he thought the market place was going to be okay. But the fires continued. If the Shasta fire gone into the city of Redding last year, it would have been a $10 billion event, he says. Then the Paradise fire followed. “Those three events in such a short period of time has put a pinch on the marketplace,” he says. As result, insurance underwriters are getting more strict. Coverage now has to acknowledge, if not expect, the possibility of the unexpected occurring. And following the recent disasters, the costs of rebuilding have increased, adding another factor to the ever-evolving nature of need for and educating policyholders about coverage. He takes this in stride. “In part, this is the evolving nature of the business,” he says.
With offices in 10 cities in Northern California, George Petersen Insurance has built an agency that policyholders trust. During the firestorm, 254 personal lines policyholders lost homes, and many businesses suffered total or partial losses, which he estimates at about $700 million in claims. “Because we’re a big agency, we had a dozen carriers setting up temporary claims operations in our office. And they were sending all their clients, no matter what agency they were insured with, to get claims reported, get advance money—it was like a parade of all of our friends coming in here who lost their homes, lost their businesses.”
As for Daer, he’s just grateful to know his agency was there to help when disaster struck. “It’s been really humbling—the comments and the feedback we’ve got back from so many people,” he says. No doubt that’s why this is the 19th Best Of win for George Petersen Insurance.
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