How ‘pleasant rivals’ in Texas turned collaborators – Fin Serve

How ‘pleasant rivals’ in Texas turned collaborators | Insurance coverage Enterprise America

The 2 companies joined forces final month

Insurance coverage Information

Gia Snape

Higginbotham unveiled its merger with pleasant rival Barnard Insurance coverage Company final month.

The Fort Price large joined forces with the family-owned Wichita Falls company, which focuses on business insurance coverage for the vitality, development, hospitality, and manufacturing industries. 

John Ok. Barnard (pictured), managing director of Barnard Insurance coverage Company, spoke to Insurance coverage Enterprise concerning the pivotal transfer and the long-standing relationships between his agency and Higginbotham.

“We have been a small insurance coverage company pushed by the neighborhood by giving again and caring for our of us and lots of generations of their households,” Barnard stated. “[But] during the last 10 years, the necessity to give added worth to our purchasers has grown.

“For the primary time, we will collaborate with [Higginbotham], choose one another’s brains, and community extra as teammates fairly than opponents.”

‘We’re by no means going to promote to one of many large corporations’

For Barnard, the brand new chapter in his company is critical for a number of causes. Household-owned and operated since 1931, Barnard is the fourth-generation proprietor of the 97-year-old agency.

“My great-grandfather began our company. From a younger age, I used to be at all times taught, ‘We’re by no means going to promote to one of many large corporations’. It didn’t make sense to us,” Barnard revealed.

Barnard Insurance coverage Company’s longevity within the trade was as a result of a deep reference to the neighborhood and an unwavering dedication to customer support, Barnard stated. Nonetheless, the insurance coverage panorama was altering, with it, purchasers’ wants and expectations.

His preliminary skepticism about merging with a extra outstanding agency started to shift when he noticed the operations of Higginbotham, which has a presence in Wichita Falls.

“Shane Smith, the managing director right here, was my next-door neighbor. Our youngsters have been the identical age, and we received alongside splendidly,” Barnard recalled. “It opened my eyes to the concept possibly these large corporations aren’t so dangerous in any case. They’ve the identical objectives and values that we do.”

This private connection, coupled with trade tendencies and inside components, resembling his uncle Invoice’s readiness to retire, led Barnard to rethink his stance.

“Perpetuation turned a problem, and it was simply one thing we would have liked to take a look at,” Barnard stated.

Honoring a legacy whereas embracing change

Barnard has transitioned to being co-managing director of Higginbotham’s Wichita Falls department, together with Shane Smith. His uncle and former accomplice, Invoice Barnard, retired on March 1 and helps the group transition over the subsequent yr and a half.

Barnard stated the merger with Higginbotham caused vital modifications, each operationally and culturally. One of the crucial impactful shifts was the introduction of worker possession.

“It’s a singular probability for our workers to go from working for an insurance coverage company for an prolonged interval to now having possession,” he famous.

It has additionally created new avenues for proactive consumer engagement and enriched service choices. This proactive stance represents a departure from the normal reactive method, enabling the company to anticipate and tackle consumer wants extra successfully.

“For the primary time, we might be proactive and introduce these [options] to our insureds, and it’s thrilling stuff,” stated Barnard. “We get to go in with the Higginbotham title, after which we get to go in and shine and make of us conscious of our experience and have alternatives that we’ve by no means had earlier than.”

Reflecting on the choice, Barnard stated the most important change introduced by the partnership with Higginbotham was having a bigger group to faucet for assist.

“We used to really feel like we have been on an island as Bernard Insurance coverage Company, the little man with a chip on our shoulder, at all times preventing for every little thing. That’s true from provider relationships to writing and servicing accounts. Now, we’re a part of a a lot bigger group that each one works collectively,” he instructed Insurance coverage Enterprise. “Small issues, like networking, make an enormous distinction.”

“Barnard Insurance coverage Group … has accounts which are 60 years outdated, and a wall of their workplace that celebrates group members who’ve been on board for 30 years or extra,” stated Reid in a press launch. 

“They’ve terrific relationships with insurance coverage carriers and irreplaceable experience within the vitality trade. Better of all, we already know them and know we’re going to get pleasure from working with them.”

What are your ideas on the team-up between Barnard Insurance coverage Company and Higginbotham? Please share your feedback beneath.

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