Source: Sherman Publications

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J. Jacobs in Gingellville makes insurance easier

October 19, 2011

By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review Staff Writer

Purchasing insurance can become confusing quickly for fiscally minded customers seeking to compare prices.

Fortunately for Orion Township residents, J. Jacobs & Associates is located in Gingellville. The agency, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary, dedicates itself to looking at all the options and matching a customer to the best policy available.

"I think the biggest thing that separates us is that we're proactive with our clients," said Founder Jeff Jacobs. "We have an agent that reviews policies full time, everyone in our office is licensed as an agent and everyone that joins us is required to start getting licensed after 90 days."

The company started life as a Farmer's Insurance agency, which Jacobs started during the 1980s recession. But after a time, Jacobs started seeing the limitations of being able to only sell for Farmer's products. In 2005 he decided to branch off and start his own agency - a move he said has been nothing but beneficial for the company.

"It's been going fantastic," he said. "We have about 15-20 commercial carriers and a much broader appetite for business. Because we're independent, if a company raises their rates, we can move a client to another provider that better suits their needs.

"The growth we've had here is about double what it was under Farmer's Insurance, because we can go out and choose a specific company for a specific client."

Jacobs talked about the difference between having an agent and a customer service representative, as well, using it to frame his argument for choosing an agency over any one specific provider. Thanks to commercials, he said, the general public does not realize there are around 30 companies that write for auto and home insurance - and the prices vary significantly.

"When you call Geico, you're calling a customer service representative and they give you a quote," said Jacobs. "Here you come in, we review your policy, we suggest, ask questions on a personal basis, determine discounts and liabilities and a lot more things.

"We write between 100 and 150 policies a month."

As far as major changes to the industry, Jacobs highlighted the advances made available by the internet and personal computers. Previously, the company used four-page carbon copy forms, four different territorial rate manuals, mailed in paperwork and sometimes would not be able to issue a policy for two months.

"Now it's ten times simpler and quicker, with policies showing up in as little as five days," said Jacobs. "Our postage has gone down to around $100 a month from what it was in the 1980s, which was $400 to $500.

"It's allowed us to be licensed with about 20 different carries from Citizens to Michigan Millers to Progressive."

For info call (248) 693-6455.