by Abby Wright, CEDA
The staff at First American Insurance Services like to know their clients and come up with the most fitting coverage options for each person. First American offers home, auto and cycle, commercial and farm, disability, and life insurance. As an independent agency, it sells insurance for many different companies and represents various markets, as opposed to a “direct writer” insurance agency that only issues policies from a single company.
Alisha Nelson, First American Insurance Agent for almost five years, says that what this means is, at one point in life, someone may need, for example, auto and renters insurance; later, when a person’s lifestyle changes, and he or she now owns a home and multiple vehicles, “We can grow with you because we have other companies that are better fit for your changing lifestyle,” Nelson says, “We have many types of insurance to sell you based on your need, so that gives us a lot more opportunity to cover our clients.”
Finding the right coverage for people involves problem-solving. Chris Stafford, Owner/President of First American Insurance, likes that, “Every day has a different twist to it and presents a different set of opportunities and problems. There are always challenges, but we get to uncover those liability exposures and find the best way to solve them.”
He says that the way staff do this and what he believes makes First American Insurance successful, is by listening to and getting to know the clients, offering advice when people want it, and genuinely caring about them. “When they walk in that door, they’re not just a number,” he says.
The most common question people have, Stafford and Nelson say, is why insurance rates for people they know are different when the situations appear the same.
“No two risks are identical,” Stafford says, “They can’t be. Even if your house or car are identical to your neighbor’s, lifestyles differ so much. There are hundreds of variables people don’t think about that affect insurance rate and premium.”
Some of these, Stafford and Nelson explain, are age, credit score, amount of claims and speeding tickets, amenities in the home, number of drivers of a car, distance driven (exposure).
People also tend to not realize the value of insurance until a loss, Stafford and Nelson say. For example, disability insurance can protect a person who gets injured outside of work and cannot work or earn income for the duration of his or her recovery.
First American Insurance, which has been in Stewartville for over 30 years, also has locations at Brownsdale and Pine Island and are licensed to sell insurance in Minnesota, Iowa & Wisconsin. The growing company currently has three of its five staff at Stewartville.
Stafford and Nelson both live in Stewartville, and Nelson is on the Board of Directors for the Stewartville Chamber of Commerce. Stafford has been in Stewartville since 1977 and was on the Economic Development Authority (EDA) for six years through 2018, serving as Chair for five. He was also on the Olmsted County Civil Service Commission for six years, serving as Chair for three. Stafford is Treasurer of the Olmsted-Rochester Law Enforcement K-9 Foundation Board.
Stafford loves the SE MN region for the strength of its economy, which he says has allowed families to maintain, grow, and prosper. “I feel that Stewartville is smack dab in the best place it can be for future growth. We’re outside that cusp of Mayo Clinic . . . and yet within a stone’s throw.” He also feels that Stewartville has excellent parks, churches, and schools; a low crime rate; solid infrastructure; and lots of likable individuals and families, some he has been working with for his entire 43 years in the field.
Nelson, who will be Owner/President in early 2020 when Stafford retires, adds, “With Stewartville being a small community, it lends well for us to get to know our customer base,” which she says is her favorite part of the job.
“I like being a part of the community and having a vested interest in the people and businesses in it.”
Thank you, First American Insurance Services, for serving the community of Stewartville!