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Market alliance had 'major impact' on profitability

Bruce Grau started his own agency in 1976 after having worked previously in another agency and with Liberty Mutual.  The agency focuses almost entirely on commercial lines in niches such as non-profits, oil and gas, and contractors and now has total premium of approximately $30 million.

Iroquois insurance groupIn 2013, Grau joined Iroquois after learning about them through his ARM of Maryland affiliation.  Iroquois appointed him with AmTrust but overall the agency was happy with their carrier representation. “The primary value I saw in Iroquois was in helping me maximize revenue with our common carriers and thereby stimulating greater growth,” said Grau.  He embraced the Market Alliance concept whereby the agency’s direct carrier codes with Hartford, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual among others were moved under Iroquois’ master codes with those carriers.  “The Market Alliances had no impact on our working relationship with these carriers," Grau said. "It was seamless to our clients but it has had a major impact on our profitability.”

The 2015 profit sharing season illustrates why Grau has been happy with his Iroquois membership.  Through Iroquois, Grau earned $103,367 in profit sharing bonuses with Liberty Mutual, Hartford and Travelers, whereas he would have earned only $37,906 in profit sharing through direct contracts with those carriers.  “We are a sizeable agency with good, profitable books of business with our core carriers but leveraging Iroquois’ greater size and profitability with these same companies has made perfect sense for us,” Grau said.

Plenty of reasons to join Iroquois

“Why would an independent agent want to do business with The Iroquois Group?

I can tell you some of the reasons why we chose to do so over 20 years ago… Great companies with reasonable volume commitments for small and medium sized agencies….Profit Sharing that far exceeds what we could get on our own….and a real partner—professionals who are there when you need them. Iroquois offers flexible arrangements to fit our needs with different companies too. We joined Iroquois in 1995 and we have never looked back.”

H. Duncan Creelman - Creelman Insurance Associates, Inc., Waldorf, Md.

Positive turnaround from captive agency

Aliesha Keller knows a lot can happen in five years. A lot of good things.

Aliesha Keller testimonial for Iroquois GroupSix years ago, Keller started an agency as a captive agent in Arizona, investing about $50,000 into the business. She said she quickly discovered that the company's pricing wasn't competitive.

"I was on the brink of financial catastrophe," she said. "I lost my house and my excellent credit standing with that gamble."
Today, she said, she is able to look back on something that happened five years ago and smile.
"I’m sitting here and I’m evaluating where I was five years ago and where I am today and what a vast difference!" she said. Keller is marking her five-year anniversary with The Iroquois Group, an association that began when she met John Maurer, Iroquois Southwest's regional manager in that part of the country.
"I knew I could be successful in this business if only I had competitive products. Unfortunately, my ruined credit and failure with the captive office made it unlikely that I’d get approval with anyone," Keller said. "I have related on several occasions that I had a few angels placed in my path to help me. I fully believe that you (Maurer) are one of those people! You believed in me and gave me a shot where I would not have been successful on my own. You went to bat with the companies to get approval for me and I’m certain that without you would not have occurred."
Keller currently keeps 11 companies in her carrier portfolio and in most cases, she says, she is able to beat her competition. In her fourth year, she had a growth rate of 38 percent, which she partly credits to the competitive companies with which Iroquois was able to provide her. 

"The plus with Iroquois is that you have the benefits of being within a large group without the feeling that you give up 'your' business," Keller said. "I have the true feeling of being autonomous, while enjoying the perks of being part of a bigger group."

Editor's note: Published in July, 2014

A member agent's success story (0:24)

Nancy Nicholson tells us how the Iroquois Group has helped her agency grow in value.

'A pleasure to do business with'

Iroquois Insurance Group

"Truly, Iroquois insurance group wants to see their agents succeed. Our excellent growth and agency profitability would not have been possible without this partnership the last several years. Judy Fox and Matt Ward have always been a pleasure to do business with and we recommend The Iroquois Group highly!"

Iroquois helps serve your clients' interest

Iroquois combines excellent service, access to a wide range of property/casualty carriers, and an empowering working relationship to help independent agents grow in a changing market place. We have found management to have an in-depth understanding of the industry and we appreciate their efforts to keep us current with trends and new carriers. We recommend Iroquois to independent agents who are looking to improve upon what they do best – serving their clients interests."

- Susan C. Allison, A&A Insurance, Altoona, Pa.

Agency gained markets to fit needs

“I recommend Iroquois to any Agent who wants a real Business Advocate for their Insurance Agency. Market Introductions, Business Assistance, Direction, Advocacy -- please, if someone is thinking about joining, have them call me for more info.
Being a member of Iroquois has allowed us to represent multiple carriers without the large volume commitments that may have been unattainable for an agency our size. We have received profit sharing payouts as a result of this strategic partnership with Iroquois. Iroquois is a valuable asset for our agency.
As a small agency owner, when I needed markets to complement my existing representation, I contacted Iroquois and was able to match up with several carriers that fit my needs and are helping me grow. My agency has doubled since joining Iroquois.”

- Chris Caldwell, Cardinal Agency, Norfolk, Va.

Profit sharing for a small agency

"We are very happy with our relationship with Iroquois. They have compensation levels that fit our needs and enables us to maximize profit sharing levels not available to a smaller agency."

- Cruger Ragland, Hubbard Insurance Agency, Inc., Kilmarnock, VA

No identity crisis for Pa. agency

"Like most agencies, we were reluctant at first to join Iroquois. We were concerned we would lose our identity with our clients as well as our relationships with our carriers. But joining Iroquois turned out to be one of the wisest decisions we ever made! We have more markets than ever and we have a stronger relationship and presence with all of our carriers. We are able to provide better products and service to our clients because of our collective strength with Iroquois. And the best part of all, for the second year in a row we received profit sharing checks that were just unimaginable before Iroquois!"

- Edward Caruso, Caruso & Associates, King of Prussia, Pa.


More markets means growth

“As a small agency owner, when I needed markets to complement my existing representation, I contacted Iroquois and was able to match up with several carriers that fit my needs and are helping me grow. My agency has doubled since joining Iroquois.”

- Maggie Chenault, Chenault Insurance Services, Laurel, Md.