VoyageHouston Interview

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Hoffman.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The business was started on September 18, 1972 as Steve Hoffman Insurance Agency and shortly after 2 of my children joined the agency the name was changed to Hoffman Insurance Group. We started off as a personal lines insurance agency and after a few years started providing group health benefits, and that led us into commercial insurance.

Today we are a full service independent insurance agency providing personal lines insurance (auto home boat umbrella). Commercial lines insurance (Business auto, workers comp, general liability, property and umbrella). Benefits (including both individual and group health, dental, vision, life and disability). I got into insurance because my father said I would be good at it. My son David was a home builder for about 8 years and Crystal worked in entertainment accounting. David decided in 2005 and Crystal in 2007 that they would like to join the agency and they have taken it to a new level. Before they joined we had 3 employees and today we have 14 employees. David is now president of the agency and manages the commercial side of the business and dealing with the insurance carriers. Crystal is vice president and manages the benefit side of the agency as well as being the office manager.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
If every road was smooth everyone would be on it. We have had our share of bumps. We have had insurance carriers go out of business. We have had hurricanes, tropical storms, workers comp crisis of the late 80’s. The mold crisis of 2000. Now we have The Affordable Care Act or more commonly called “Obama Care”. The one thing you can be sure of is that there will always be change and you have to be ready to accept those changes and implement them into your business plan.

Hoffman Insurance Group – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are an independent insurance agency. That means we represent many different insurance companies and our job is to try to place a client with the insurance company that best meets their needs as far as coverage and pricing. We specialize in 3 areas.:

Personal Lines Insurance, Commercial lines Insurance and Employee Benefits. We are known for taking the time to explain the coverage they currently have and then discussing and uncovering their needs so we can get them the coverage that best protects them. We do not sell price but sell service and peace of mind. Our pricing is competitive. We have a saying. Pick two of the following 3 but you cannot have all 3. 1) Price, 2) Service, 3) Coverage.

I am most proud of our people. Starting with David Hoffman and Crystal Hoffman. They have taken Hoffman Insurance Group to a new level. They and the employees are the face of Hoffman Insurance gGroup. They are a fantastic team that works together and will respond to client’s problems and claims, even in off hours.

I think our people is what sets us apart. You can purchase all kinds of insurance off the internet today, or from a 1-800 phone number. What you cannot get from those is the level of expertise our employees have. Insurance is not a commodity. It is not the same as purchasing a loaf of bread. Consumers need to understand what they have, and if it covers their needs. If a consumer buys a basic auto policy it will keep them from receiving a ticket for not having insurance but is it enough to cover them in the event of an accident? That is where we come in and explain the exposures and coverage, so we can get them what they need. I had a client recently that came to us to save some money. They had basic auto liability coverage. We increased their coverage almost 1000% and ended up only raising their premium by $90 a year. I explained we saved him a lot of money if and when he has a bad auto accident and it only cost him about $8 more per month. That is one way of saving people money.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success in our business is going home at night and knowing you did your best to help people put their lives back together when they have a claim that is covered correctly. The markers are the relief people get when they have a claim and they find out we have the correct policies in place to handle the claim and put them back the way they were prior the claim. Be that an auto accident, hurricane or flood, the business being blown away or burning down or a simple accident and knowing we have them covered with health insurance. The look on a widow’s face when you bring a life insurance claim check to the door. Our markers are on the faces and in the voices of our clients.

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