VOL. 133 | NO. 67 | Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Rebranded Shoemaker Insurance Expands
By Michael Waddell
Shoemaker Financial president and CEO Jim Shoemaker isn’t sure there is ever a perfect time for expansion and rebranding, but with the economy strong and his company well positioned for a transition of leadership, he could not hold off growing Shoemaker’s insurance line any longer.
The new Shoemaker Insurance Solutions (formerly Shoemaker Benefits) is expanding its multi-state marketplace product line to include individual home and auto insurance, as well as commercial property and casualty.
“Shoemaker Financial has been studying the expansion for several years and having the right people in place at this time makes it feasible,” Shoemaker said.
The idea for the expansion and new products was first discussed in 1992, but for various reasons at that time it did not happen.
“But the idea and need to serve our clients in this area of property and casualty as part of their overall financial plan did not go away,” he said. “As part of the plan, P/C has always been considered essential.”
Founded in 1978 and located at 2176 West St. in Germantown, the comprehensive financial planning firm helps people with insurance needs, college funding, retirement and estate planning. Services offered include asset management, life insurance, personal investments, long-term care, annuities, 401(k) plans and business continuations.
“We take a serious approach to helping our clients identify their financial life needs, but we have learned over the years just doing the plan is only a portion of the process,” Shoemaker said. “Helping the client actually accomplish those dreams and goals becomes the most rewarding part of our relationship. If you do this for a long time as I have done, you find out quickly that it is not about the plan, it is very much about the results.”
Shoemaker Insurance Solutions vice president Shannon Dyson leads the expansion team.
“We started thinking about (expansion) again a couple of years ago and got very serious about it six months ago when we decided that it made a lot of sense for us to move into the property and casualty side of the business,” he said. “It lines up with what we do.”
Dyson has worked on the group benefits side at Shoemaker for the past 10 years. Shoemaker Benefits formed in 1990 as a comprehensive group benefits broker specializing in products offered by an employer as a benefit to their employees, including health, life and disability coverage.
“The reason that we’re looking at personal lines as well is that we do a lot of financial plans each year. We have certified financial planners here that perform annual financial plans for our clients,” Dyson said. “It fits really well getting their property, casualty, home and auto quote with each plan to see if we can save them money on their premiums, or we can do an audit to see if they have the right coverages for their financial needs.”
Shoemaker Insurance Solutions will work with a variety of carriers and shop for the best fit for their clients. On the personal P&C side, carriers will include Safeco, Hanover, Progressive, Foremost, American Modern and Nationwide. On the commercial side, carriers will include Hartford, Philadelphia and CRC-Crump Multiple Carriers.
“We’ll be adding more to that list,” Dyson said. “One of the challenges as a start-up in this industry is that personal line home and auto carriers, as well as your commercial carriers, want to see a block of business that you have before they’ll let you write their product.”
Typically, a new start-up can’t get the appointments that Shoemaker was able to secure.
“We were able to get some direct appointments with these carriers based on the sheer size of our firm and the amount of referrals we’ll get,” Dyson said.
The firm has about 100 employees with offices throughout Tennessee and in South Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana.
Shoemaker has made several new hires recently as part of the expansion, including Dane Williams, who will focus on individual home and auto insurance offerings after transitioning from the previous five years as a financial adviser at Shoemaker. Jarrod Blair is another new addition who will focus on growing the group benefits side. Additional staff will be added gradually as volume dictates.
“We look to grow from three producers right now to 15 in the next five years,” Dyson said.
As the new division grows, it is likely it will occupy more space in the same office park on West Street in Germantown, which Shoemaker owns.
“We want to make sure we don’t lose the connection with Shoemaker Financial because we believe it’s been a great name around the city for a long time,” Dyson said.