Unbiased insurance coverage is ideal match for Pine River – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

PINE RIVER — In a world full of massive title insurance coverage corporations with seemingly limitless promoting budgets, the town of Pine River is dwelling to a few impartial brokers, one in every of whom thinks that is not accidentally.

“In any such group not everybody likes the large corporations,” stated Pine River Insurance coverage proprietor Tim Christianson. “They wish to have choices. After I purchased this company in 2006, we misplaced some prospects, in fact, however I nonetheless have plenty of prospects from 2006, after which new enterprise as effectively from Grandpa all the way down to his grandson.

“You get to see all elements of a number of the households and get to know them a bit, together with what Grandpa does and what his grandsons and granddaughters do in class,” he stated.

Christianson thinks a small city like Pine River is the proper environment for impartial companies to thrive.

Pine River Insurance coverage on Barclay Avenue in Pine River moved to its present location below second proprietor Pat Smith, of Brainerd Insurance coverage Firm. Jan. 6, 2023 his location nonetheless stands the place Pat Smith moved it within the early 2000s.

Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

“Being impartial, we now have just a few extra totally different choices than a captive provider like the large guys you see on the TV,” Christianson stated. “All I can say is, do not at all times imagine what you see on TV or what you hear. It is not at all times what it appears to be. With us having multiple choice, hopefully we will discover a match for most individuals.”

That is been the mannequin for the reason that first homeowners of Pine River Insurance coverage, previously Bean’s Ameriguard Insurance coverage. Robert Bean based the enterprise on the forms of relationships solely potential in a really private, impartial insurance coverage firm.

“My dad was a individuals individual,” stated Richie Bean, Robert’s son. “He did as a lot enterprise out of the cafe and low store, golf course or highschool occasion as he did in his workplace. He was very a lot a small city kind of operator.”

These relationships nonetheless permit brokers to take advantage of customized suggestions for his or her prospects.

“Charges aren’t taking place, so we like to have choices and love to have the ability to assist individuals get monetary savings, and in the event that they do have a declare for fireplace or wind – and hail has been big – with the ability to stroll them via the claims course of and assist them on that finish,” Christianson stated. “If you happen to like individuals, it is a good trade to be in.”

Robert Bean had a few years of insurance coverage expertise, even earlier than he and his household situated to northern Minnesota, nearly retiring from the trade at one level.

“My dad labored for MSI, Mutual Service Insurance coverage, which is now Nation Monetary,” Richie Bean stated. “He labored for them for 20 years. He was a regional vp of gross sales for the Higher Midwest. He did that for years earlier than he had a coronary heart assault and semi-retired. They determined to maneuver up right here I believe in ‘81.”

Robert Bean put in one other 4 years below Dick Sessing in Walker and Bemidji earlier than deciding to develop into his personal boss. At first he ran the enterprise from his dwelling.

They later rented an area simply south of the nook of Barclay and First avenues, between the Cenex and the previous Household Greenback constructing in a constructing Richie Bean stated is not standing.

Tragedy struck in 2000 with the loss of life of Robert Bean. Spouse Mona saved the enterprise working whereas searching for a purchaser. That is the place Pat Smith, of Brainerd Insurance coverage Firm, stepped in.

“Pat got here in and acquired it and moved it to the present location and renamed it Pine River Insurance coverage,” Bean stated.

In Brainerd, Smith was very energetic. He owned a mixture of companies and received concerned in group issues when potential.

“He did plenty of issues and had plenty of companies in Brainerd,” Christianson stated. “He had a UPS retailer, a pizza place and the company that I believe had about eight workers after I labored there. He offered (Brainerd Insurance coverage) a while round 2011 perhaps.”

Mona stayed on for some time below Smith.

Carol Windorski, an agent who has labored within the Pine River Insurance coverage workplace for the reason that Beans owned it, stated Smith was a “crackerjack,” referring to his talent within the trade.

“My worker, Carol, has been right here for the homeowners earlier than Pat after which labored for Pat,” Christianson stated. “I used to be lucky to have her keep on with me for the reason that starting of 2006. Lots of people know her greater than me.”

Windorski stated the constructing was beforehand a Coast to Coast retailer. Smith cut up it in two, with one door to the proper main into a unique enterprise and the door on the left main into Pine River Insurance coverage.

Whereas Smith owned the constructing, he made acquaintance with Christianson, the following future proprietor.

“My dad was a advertising rep for one of many insurance coverage businesses we write insurance coverage with,” Christianson stated. “He was good pals with Pat and I used to be capable of work for Pat for some time. I’d have favored to work with him a bit longer.”

Christianson and his household had migrated to Breezy Level due to his spouse’s ties to Longville.

Christianson needed to make the identical transition as Robert Bean, from worker to proprietor. On Nov. 1, 2006, he bought Pine River Insurance coverage from Smith.

The character of the group was a giant draw.

“When the choice comes up for somebody to personal a enterprise with the choice of serving to individuals and being an employer within the city of Pine River, it simply made sense to me,” Christianson stated. “Timing wasn’t good, however it’s what it’s. I am tremendous lucky to have the worker I do. It labored out nice.

“Pine River’s an incredible group,” he stated. “I get pleasure from it so much. The varsity is sweet right here. They’ve a number of issues occurring within the summertime. Wintertime is an efficient time. There is a parade and Christmas season and individuals are pleasant.”

All through the years, insurance coverage has had plenty of modifications and many purchasers function with out having a private agent in control of their accounts. Bean and Christianson stated there are some drawbacks inherent with doing enterprise that manner.

“A part of it’s your agent will go to bat for you,” Bean stated. “Some larger corporations, in the event you get in an accident you are sort of by yourself, particularly in on-line ones the place there is no such thing as a agent concerned. You sort of need to battle a number of the insurance coverage stuff by yourself.

“With an agent, agent will stand with you and push again and work with you towards the corporate and adjusters,” he stated.

The non-public, face-to-face service of an impartial insurance coverage firm stays a giant a part of what makes Pine River Insurance coverage match for the group. Pine River is host to a few such businesses (Hanneken Insurance coverage Company, Cass Firm Insurance coverage and Pine River Insurance coverage), which Christianson considers a constructive factor.

“I believe it is a greater match for a smaller city,” Christianson stated. “There are three impartial businesses in Pine River. We aren’t essentially preventing for a similar prospects, however competitors is sweet. It provides individuals extra freedom and extra choices too. To verify their agent is doing what’s finest for them.”

Reflecting, Bean counseled the three impartial companies on the town.

“It was a type of small city outlets which have actually sort of disappeared,” Bean stated. “I am not taking something away from the three there, they nonetheless do an excellent job of that and maintain onto that, however insurance coverage has modified a lot it is powerful to do this.

“In my view they’re doing an incredible job of staying linked to the group,” he stated.

Travis Grimler is a employees author for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He could also be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

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