09 Apr Know difference: Clark Insurance 2012 Annual Report
“Don’t aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.” – Denzel Washington
With that sense of purpose, all of us at Clark Insurance are pleased to offer the following annual report for 2012.
The business of insurance is the work of identifying risk and determining if a customer wishes to live with the consequences of that risk or to transfer the risk to a willing third party for a reasonable price.
As an employee-owned independent insurance agency, we are making a living by making a difference, every day, assessing those risks and finding markets to protect the lives and property of our customers.
In 2012, Clark Insurance did well by doing “good” in both our business dealings as well as our community involvement. From a financial standpoint, we once again were ranked by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) as being among the top 5% best performing agencies in the nation in our size category. We have maintained this status since 1995.
Our customer retention of 92+% is the envy of the industry and testament to our strong customer relationships and competitive products. A consistent sales effort and generous referrals have helped continue a record pace of attracting new customers while meeting or exceeding our growth and profitability goals.
This brief annual report is our way of letting you know how we aspire to make a difference to you as a customer, employee or member of the community.
Investing in people
Not all insurance agencies are equal when it comes to knowledge, customer service and motivation. The ability of Clark Insurance to exceed expectations is rooted in teamwork and shared success. We also strive to build close working relationships with many of the best insurance companies in America. Every month, different insurance companies meet with our staff to discuss coverages, product enhancements and limitations. We have a full-time Director of Market Analysis to ensure a thorough understanding of our markets and industry developments.
Clark Insurance also has employed an on-staff risk control consultant who works with customers to minimize hazards, train their employees to work safely and educate owners and managers about creating a culture of safety. Another distinction for Clark Insurance is having two Senior Claim Agents. We consider having such expertise at the customer’s disposal to be a significant enhancement in the quick and efficient delivery of claim settlements. Should a serious or life-threatening accident occur, our customers can reach an agency manager 24/7/365 via our claim pager to address emergency situations. These strategic positions have contributed to our reputation for really knowing the business of insurance and making it work for the benefit of our customers.
We also have a Director of Training & Education to help keep us all abreast of the constant changes that take place in the insurance world and the world of technology. In addition to continuing education requirements for re-certification, everyone in the company is encouraged to advance their careers through education and training. To underscore that commitment, we are proud members of the Maine Employers’ Initiative, a program of the Maine Development Foundation, which encourages lifelong learning and degree attainment at any age.
This past year, we completed the integration of Kelly Insurance Agency into our Manchester, New Hampshire operation. In just six years, we have grown our New Hampshire presence from one employee to eight, including three new positions during the past year. Company-wide, ten new individuals joined Clark Insurance bringing our enterprise to 76 people. Remarkably, a third of the people in our organization have been with us for more than ten years.
Finally, we are motivated to succeed. We have always believed that the best way to attract new customers is to take care of our current customers. This year, we grew at a record pace. Successfully serving customers’ needs also contributes to our bottom line which is aligned with the interests of all our employees. We are somewhat unique in our industry as our company has an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in which the company is actually owned by the employees. This form of ownership fosters shared objectives, teamwork, focus and cautious management.
Investing in technology
The company has invested in a customer relationship management program that moves us further into the world of online marketing, lead generation, customer service and social media. We know that 85% of all insurance purchases begin on the internet which means we have to adapt to this rapid evolution in consumer behavior. If we expect to thrive with the coming generation of drivers, homeowners and business leaders, we have to invest in the technologies they’ll expect to use as their platform.
We also concluded our integration of a new agency management system – a major step in the life of every agency. The migration was accomplished with no interruption in customer service. The benefit of this investment, however, is better response time when service is required.
Investing in the industry
In the end, we all want to be sure that when a claim needs to be paid, it happens quickly and as promised. Our records indicate that in 2012, nearly $25 million in claims were paid on behalf of our customers for property and casualty losses. That’s the value of insurance and the benefit of a responsive, competitive insurance industry.
As Clark Insurance has become one of the leading independent insurance agencies in the region, we have been asked to advise the companies with which we place business. At any one time, our agency principals are serving on the advisory councils of five or more insurance companies. In addition, I serve on the board of the Maine Independent Agents Association. These relationships ensure that both company products and public policy are focused on the interests of the customer and the health of the industry.
Investing in community
Perhaps more than any other business, insurance touches the lives of virtually every person in the community whether through auto liability, workers’ compensation, health insurance or property coverage. Our community role as agents goes even deeper. A McKinsey and Company study in 2011 estimated that the property-casualty insurance sector in the United States provided $400 million worth of financial assistance and another $100 million in volunteer activities. In 2012, Clark Insurance continued its commitment to social and charitable causes; all organizations that we believe are making a difference in people’s lives. We focus our charitable support on the fundamental needs in our community: food, clothing, shelter, health and education. By helping to provide for these basic needs, we believe those in need have a better chance to gain independence and personal fulfillment.
All of us at Clark Insurance are grateful to live, volunteer and work in the communities of Maine and New Hampshire as we strive to make a difference. None of this would be possible, however, without the support of loyal customers to whom we are indebted for giving us their business and referring their friends. Let us hope the year ahead is as good as 2012.
Kenneth A. Ross, President
Organizations and Civic Groups Supported by Clark Insurance in 2012
(CV = Clark Volunteers, BOD = Board of Directors)
Health, Civic & Social Welfare
- American Heart Association
- American Lung Association
- Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce
- Biddeford-Saco Chamber of Commerce (BOD)
- Community Financial Literacy
- Crystal Lake Fishing Derby
- Cumberland County Animal Response Team (CV)
- Cumberland County Budget Advisory Committee (CV)
- Cumberland Fire & Rescue
- Easter Seals of Maine
- Family Crisis Services
- Falmouth Town Council (CV)
- Goodwill Industries of Northern New England
- Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland (BOD)
- Hospice of Southern Maine
- Kennebec Behavioral Health
- Kiwanis Clubs
- Long Creek Youth Development Center Foundation
- Maine Affordable Housing Coalition
- Maine Cancer Foundation
- Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals
- Make A Wish Maine
- Mary’s Walk
- MS Society
- North Yarmouth Fire/Rescue (CV)
- Port Resources
- Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Preble Street (Joe Kreisler House)
- Preble Street Soup Kitchen (CV)
- Riding to the Top
- Robbie Foundation (BOD)
- Ronald McDonald House
- Rotary Clubs
- Safe Passage
- Salvation Army Portland Chapter
- Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce
- SMAA Money Minders
- Special Olympics of Maine
- The Root Cellar
- United Way Day of Caring (CV)
- Wayside Soup Kitchen (volunteers)
- Woodfords Family Services (BOD, CV)
- Yarmouth Alzheimer’s Group
- YMCA of Southern Maine
Youth, Education & Cultural
- Baxter Academy of Technology and Science
- Biodiversity Research Institute
- Boy Scouts
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine
- Camp Allen (CV, BOD)
- Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation
- Catherine McAuley High School
- Central Crew (CV)
- Cheverus High School (BOD)
- Choral Arts Society (CV)
- Community Financial Literacy
- Falmouth Education Foundation
- Freeport Community Center
- Friends of Long Creek (CV)
- Friends School of Greater Portland
- Girl Scouts of Maine
- Gulf of Maine Research Institute
- Hollis Center Recreational Department
- John Duranceau Scholarship
- Junior Achievement of Maine (CV)
- Maine Education Loan Authority (BOD)
- Maine Public Broadcasting Network (sponsor, CV)
- Merriconeag Waldorf School
- Partners in Education (CV)
- Portland Stage Company
- Ragged Mountain Recreation
- Rebeckha Lynn Whitefield Foundation
- Tanzanian Children’s Fund
- The Center for Grieving Children
- The Community Schools
- The Little Dolphin School
- The Opportunity Alliance
- University of Southern Maine (Advisory Boards)
- Waterville Area Boys & Girls Clubs
- Windham Center Stage
- Windham/Raymond Performing Arts (CV)
…and numerous other school and church-related activities