For 31 years, Gerrity, Baker, Williams Inc., now known as GBW Insurance, has been serving the community of Flanders, NJ offering a wide range of insurance products to its citizens. We sat down with Glenn K. Tippy, the company’s president, to talk about the challenges in his line of work.
Mr. Tippy, when you started GBW Insurance 31 years ago, did you have a business plan?
I had a business plan. Like all battle plans, it went through brutal changes when it hit reality. But we dealt with increased competition, recession, hurricanes, and even deaths, and still have grown, have a better retention of customers than our industry “best practices” standard, and were just named The Best Insurance Agency in Morris County.
Those are some pretty impressive outcomes! What would you say has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
In a large corporation, there are layers and layers of helpers. In a small business, if the toilet breaks down, either the money to fix it comes out of your pocket or your fix it yourself; either way, you have to have a restroom for the employees. So you learn to do whatever it takes to succeed.
That’s certainly a challenge for any small business. What industry-specific challenges have frustrated you most?
When someone doesn’t want advice, just price. We know that good coverage doesn’t always have to cost more, but clients won’t look at what they’re risking. We’re paid to give advice and execute clients’ plans once they understand the pluses and minuses facing them. It’s frustrating when they throw away that money.
Was there ever a time when those challenges made you want to give up?
I don’t see the point in giving up. It’s like Marcus Aurelius said, “The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”
GBW Insurance is located in Flanders, NJ at 3 Gold Mine Road. For more information about the company, visit www.GBWinsurance.com, email info@GBWmail.com, or call 800-548-2329.
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