After years of working in their family’s various construction companies, it was time for Charlotte Smarr and her daughters, Riley Smarr and Morgan Smarr...
The Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency. What does that mean? It means two simple things. One, we are not tied to any one insurance company; in fact, we have access to hundreds of insurance companies and solutions. And two, as advisors, we represent our clients.
What are the biggest insurance challenges that business owners face today? Compliance. Without question, benefits compliance missteps can be costly and debilitating to businesses of all shapes and sizes. And healthcare reform made it even more challenging. Many larger (or self-funded) businesses have some important filings that will be due in early 2016, and unfortunately many organizations have overlooked the significance of these requirements.
What kinds of products do you offer for businesses? We offer a wide range of products and solutions that pretty much run the whole spectrum of options. The placement of “products” is the typical result of our analysis and diagnosis. Brokering is the basic blocking-and-tackling of our business, but it’s just a sliver of what we do.
What is a major change the company has experienced in the last few years? The continued growth of our St. Louis office and expansion of our relatively new office in Springfield, Missouri.
What challenges does your company face? We have the same types of aches and pains that many multi-location companies have. It takes an extra effort to communicate effectively and maintain your culture across offices around the state.
What is the one thing you wish business owners did differently when it comes to insurance? Talk to us! We like to be actively engaged with our clients.
What is next for The Insurance Group? We will celebrate our 125th anniversary in about eight years, and we have some pretty lofty goals to reach by that date. We can’t share any details, but we expect to expand our services in our benefits practice soon.
To what do you attribute your company’s success? It starts with our people. We have been fortunate to have smart, service-oriented people that have facilitated our growth over the years. Our people give objective advice and craft meaningful solutions to help our clients be successful around the state.
What is one misconception about the Columbia insurance industry? Many folks think The Insurance Group and the Columbia Insurance Group are the same company. We, The Insurance Group, are an independent advisory firm that actually represents the Columbia Insurance Group, which is a fine insurance company.
What is a fun fact that people might not know about you? Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped playing the clarinet and saxophone in junior high. CBT
Fun Fact: Skip played cornerback for MU Football, and he’s a member of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.