Filed Under:Agent Broker, Sales & Marketing

Shining Starr

Although its doors have been open for more than 50 years, The Starr Group, Greenfield, Wis., is thinking young. After dissolving a 20-year partnership 2 years ago, the agency has started fresh by analyzing the values and beliefs that frame the new Starr Group, leading the agency to push for new ideas, efficiencies and best practices. The agency has spent immense effort stripping the company to its core and rebuilding The Starr Group to the risk reduction driven business it is today.

"We believe that staying true to our values will help us push for excellence in our daily interactions and accomplishments, which will allow us to stand out from the competition," said Mary Starr, executive vice president of The Starr Group.

"The new Starr Group helps businesses, individuals and families evaluate their insurance coverage needs and identify solutions tailored to their own unique situations," Mary Starr said. "We consider ourselves insurance counselors rather than just producers. It is our goal to provide our customers with guidance that will ensure their business and their families' risks are properly managed."

The Starr Group practice includes constant internal coverage review of existing customer coverages and roundtables with agents and staff on prospective accounts. Many customers, especially at claim time, have been the benefactor of that "rolling up of the sleeves" behavior. Personal lines business is treated with the same effort and enthusiasm. Replacement cost coverage is available to all customers who purchase new vehicles. In one situation, a personal lines client was caught in a Nashville flood. The Coast Guard saved her, but her car was totaled. The client had the special coverage, and received a brand-new car instead of the Blue Book value of her totaled vehicle.

Changes in the marketplace make it a different selling environment. The Starr Group has an increased responsibility to provide its agents with an environment where selling, not administration, is their primary function. This focus has allowed the agency to grow 4.8 percent in 2009, with 2010 being on track to outperform 2009.

The agency has taken proactive steps to establish its business as a resource for its prospects and customers, educating them on the insurance issues that impact them directly. The agency develops and mails quarterly newsletters to its commercial, group and personal lines customers and offers seminars and webinars to clients on relevant topics.

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