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Congratulations to Clark-Theders Insurance Agency

2011 Marketing Agency of the Year

Clark-Theders Insurance Agency, whose focus on fulfilling its promises to its customers impressed the previous Rough Notes cover agents, gleaned the most votes in an election that was as tight as the Iowa caucuses, making it the 2011 Marketing Agency of the Year.

The agency's commitment to its customers is exemplified by the fact that just three of the 20 employees are salespeople and the rest are involved in making certain the customer experience is exemplary. And, taking that one step further, the agency has its own director of customer care—Mandy Frank, CISR—who serves as part of the management team. Her job is to look at everything the agency does or plans to do and determine whether it will benefit clients.

"The only way to get into trouble is not matching up with the promises made during the sale," explains President Jonathan Theders, CRA, CPIA, CHSP. "Mandy makes certain that our promises match what we do and that we maintain our focus on exceeding client expectations."

Clark-Theders came into existence in 1977 when Jonathan's dad, Rick Theders, CIC, purchased the Jim Clark Agency. Rick was a field rep for Midwestern Indemnity, and the Jim Clark Agency was one of his weekly stops. He knew the agency's sterling reputation, and that meshed perfectly with his goal to create an agency focused on being the best.

Not surprisingly, technology became a key part of the effort to better serve clients. The agency built a claims management database for clients with large auto fleets. The result was significant savings and reduced losses for those clients. So Clark-Theders expanded the concept to include other lines and industries, creating RiskSOURCE™, which looks at the Strength, Opportunities and Understanding Risk Critical Exposures for every commercial client. The RiskSOURCE approach is used for both clients and prospects and, Jonathan points out, "We have a 100% hit ratio with the prospects who have gone through our RiskSOURCE process."

The agency also has had significant success in growing its personal lines business following an analysis of current business to determine what makes a good long-term client. "We found that what really mattered was whether the prospect would meet with us face-to-face," Jonathan notes.

Jonathan says the focus on being special has resulted in the agency growing from "$4 million in premium when I joined the agency as its 11th employee in August 1998 to $19 million in 2011."

The agency also is an excellent corporate citizen. "Probably the most near and dear part of our success has been that it has allowed us to make a difference in our community," Jonathan says. Employees are given 30 paid hours a year to volunteer, and last year the Clark-Theders staff provided more than 900 hours of donated labor to charitable organizations.

We congratulate Clark-Theders on being chosen Marketing Agency of the Year by its peers, the other outstanding Rough Notescover agencies. The firm's focus on serving its clients, its companies and its community exemplifies the best that the independent agency system has to offer.

Rough Notes magazine will present the award to Clark-Theders executives next month at a dinner in their honor, attended by members of the magazine's editorial advisory board and The Rough Notes Company executives.


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