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The Real Cigar

July 20, 2009
Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

Many of you know that I like to smoke a good cigar, especially now that its summer time while I am blogging. I find that one of my favorite cigar companies in many ways mirrors our agency. The name of the company is called Bucanero Cigar Company out of Tampa Florida. .

The Bucanero Cigar Company is a small family owned company that puts a quality product and great service to its customers as its first priority. They face some of the same challenges as a small business that we face. Like the Founders Group, there are large competitors with lots of money to spend on advertising pushing against them. They battle with government regulation, just like we do. They face the monumental task of being true to the principles that they believe in, just as we do. buclogoblackgrd

Our never ending challenge is delivering our value proposition with the limited resources’ of a small business. We know that we are better than our competition, so how do we prove it? It won’t be with big multi media campaigns. We won’t be naming any new baseball stadiums after our company either. My suggestion to my partners about a Founders blimp also didn’t fly. (Excuse the pun!)

The fact is it will be with lots of small steps, taking every opportunity with our customers to let them know that we care and we are listening. Taking the time to take a subject like insurance that is boring and confusing to most people and making a bit easier by explaining what they are spending their hard earned money on. When a claim or coverage challenge occurs, making sure we fulfill our promise to be an advocate. Just like my friends at Bucanero, our passion has to show through.

The end result is that our customers are our most important resource, not only as buyers of our products, but as ambassadors’ of our continuing sales to new customers. The giants in each of our industries have often sacrificed the value of the individual customer in favor of the “big picture.” For companies like Founders and Bucanero, each of our customers is the big picture!

Thank you for taking your valuable time with me today!

Chris Garlasco

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2009 1:45 pm

    Your newsletter is always on point and this column has an enormously important message for all independent agents. I only wish you were located in New Yrok so we could approach you about becoming a member of our organization.

  2. Chris permalink
    July 20, 2009 2:55 pm

    Thanks Jamie!


  3. July 23, 2009 2:48 pm

    A comment by Robert Spoden…

    Small Companies will lead us all out of this economic free fall.

    For so many years large corporations have become the norm for people searching for products and services.
    Dial 1-800 and from there who and where do you get connected to?

    As the years have past so many people have been lead to believe that the mega large companies offer the best value in both price and services.

    Yet large publically traded companies answer first to their stock holders and as such they are tied to the numbers game. As we have seen so many have squandered their investments and lie on the verge of bankruptcy. So to recoup they so often dilute their products value to us all by offering “teaser” low ball pricing. They got big with our money. Huge profits with distorted services that offer a thin layer of protection but appear to be the opposite of us all. That is not professionalism require of such a service, that is gray area capitalism.

    First price is always the denominator it seems to buying these days. In many cases you get what you pay for.
    large companies tend to see a huge turnover in customers and they expect just that. Their marketing campaigns drive people to their doors in huge numbers based upon price. Yet when it comes to insurance which is just that, insurance to protect you and your family from a future economic calamity. The true meaning of service is servicing the customer and making them aware of what true value really is. They for the most part can not offer that low ball price and a top insurance policy without compromising the huge profits they have come to enjoy.
    We are numbers without any faces. That is not the norm of a small company agenda. They must build their business one client or customer at a time. Face to face contact and the responsibility that goes with it.

    I have witnessed this first hand. I bought into years ago a low ball car insurance policy. For years I lived with a feeling of security and was somewhat proud of the little money I did save. Well unfortunately I was involved in a head on accident that changed my life forever. Serious back injuries resulted and to this day I still live with the pain. The other party was had no insurance. Between the medical bills and the change of life caused by this accident I suffered serious economic problems that still linger today. I was truly under insured and was not aware of it! I saved a little and lost so much.

    Had I known via a true understanding of what the true value of insurance should be I would never had exposed myself and my family to such economic failures.

    I live in Florida and now I buy my insurance yes from a small independent insurance office near my home. My rates are very competitive when I look at the type of coverage these people directed me to purchase. Better yet having experienced first hand what under insurance can do I feel today protected.

    Isn’t that what insurance is all about? It should be treated as a high priority both in understanding and true peace of mind a well thought out insurance policy can offer. I never got that with the 1-800 companies. Just price!

    Years of speaking to a voice on the other side of a telephone. Always asking ..What are you paying now? Never really servicing my needs only selling the price issue now makes me feel like I had been duped. But I have no one to blame other than myself.

    Small companies do not have the marketing budgets that the huge publically traded one do. Simply can not afford it. Small companies must offer something else to each of us. Compassion in understanding our needs and the education on how our policy will protect us. Outlining the importance of understanding their services as to allow us to select what is best for our family’s protection. Staffing their small offices with the type of people who really do care. Offering a great product and building great relationships.

    Is this not what America needs to get back to? Home grown businesses run by people in your home town. Employing local people. Making us all feel like our business is appreciated. Educating us and giving us the true options of security rather than a great low ball price and a hollow bag of goods.

    I have a name not a number. I want to speak to someone locally not in India. I want to understand what I am buying not a diluted policy with an attractive price.

    This is why America needs to bring its businesses back home. Small businesses I feel will lead the way in the future. They offer so much more than price.

    They offer us all a local connection, a local business connection and the creditability of such.

    Not a 1-800 where in the world are you located? I sorry but your policy does not cover that. Didn’t your read the small print?

    Robert Spoden
    Bucanero Cigars

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