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For Kevin Prior, president & CEO of ICW Group, the company’s successes were all possible thanks to support from both its agency/broker partners and the community. We spoke with him to learn more about how the company is celebrating its accomplishments and giving back to the public.
ICW Group just celebrated its 50th year of business. What is the secret to your company’s continued success?
There have been several core drivers of ICW Group’s success. First and foremost, I attribute our success to our people. We wouldn’t be where we are today without their passion for creating the best insurance experience possible for our customers, our community, and each other. I would also point to our highly valued agent and broker partners and the solid relationships we’ve built together. Their trust and confidence in ICW Group when recommending us to their clients has been instrumental to our success. Another key is our desire and ability to listen to the needs of our customers. This is something we’ve consistently embraced. We have mechanisms in place to gather their feedback on how we’re doing, what gaps need to be filled, and then turn that feedback into action. This full-circle approach results in better relationships, improved processes, and greater overall customer loyalty.
Of course, having a clear vision from the very beginning has been essential. We were founded by businessman and philanthropist Ernest Rady who remains our board chair today. While he started with only a few employees in a small office in San Diego, his desire for us to be a top-tier, full service, multi-line carrier has brought us to where we are today.
Your company along with company employees have donated millions to the non-profit Promises2Kids, as well as other regional charities in California. How does your philanthropy work benefit your business as a carrier?
The success we’ve experienced over the years, coupled with a deep-rooted commitment to philanthropy, has afforded ICW Group the opportunity to make significant impacts in the communities where we operate. Together, with the Rady family’s charitable commitments, we’ve contributed more than $600 million to date. We also have the unique distinction of having 98.5 percent of our shares (valued at $2.9B) earmarked for a charitable trust to benefit philanthropic causes. ICW Group’s long-standing tradition of giving is something we share with our team members.
We’ve donated millions through the company’s annual giving campaigns and team member matching donation programs and our employees have logged 46,000 volunteer hours across the country over the past 5 years. This commitment and example of corporate responsibility resonates with our customers. They’ve regularly expressed sincere enthusiasm about partnering with a company who thinks beyond themselves. Our business in inherently centered around helping others in times of need and our philanthropic commitment further illustrates we care about making a difference in our communities. It means a lot to our customers and it’s something we’re very proud of.
Your company is also gearing up to launch its commercial package business later this year. What sort of opportunities and difficulties do insurers face in launching new products in this post-pandemic landscape?
When the pandemic hit, we closed our office locations and were fully operational the next day thanks to our business resiliency efforts. This preparedness exemplifies the spirit of our employees and the acumen of our leadership team. In today’s post-pandemic landscape, as we continue executing on our growth plans via the launch of this new line of business into early next year, adapting to today’s changing workforce is where we see both challenges and opportunities. With the shift to a primarily remote and hybrid work environment, finding innovative ways to engage, train and develop a new generation of professionals is where we are putting energy. This includes expanded investment in learning and development along with finding new ways to engage team members who may not be working from the same physical location.
I don’t think companies will be as successful in today’s environment if they focus solely on achieving their growth goals without paying special attention to the people responsible for getting them there. That’s what we’re doing, and it will enable us to continue honoring our commitments to our vision, our industry, and our customers.
What is ICW Group doing to further support its agency partners?
Our success wouldn’t be possible without the partnership we share with our agents and brokers. That’s why we continue to deliver market-leading risk management and claims services, along with value-added products designed to help them offer a top tier insurance experience to their clients. One example of this is our free HR OnDemand® service. Our agents can offer their clients a quick, easy, and free way to access expert HR advice and resources to help them save time, reduce costs, and keep up to date on compliance issues. We’re also committed to helping our agents grow their own business. One of our newest services offered exclusively to ICW Group agents is LeadGen OnDemand™. This free lead-generating platform offers prepackaged email campaigns, printed post cards and brochures that agents can customize with messaging that speaks directly to the new business prospects they are targeting. ICW Group pays for everything, including printing, postage and mailing. Agents save time because marketing materials are all prepackaged and they’re getting great response rates that turn into new business. We will always look for new ways to help our agents and brokers provide trusted advice to their clients and grow their business. By helping them accomplish that, it’s a win-win for everyone.