OBI CompSAFE Agent Recognition Award Winner 2016
Propel Insurance – Unrelentingly Unconventional
The Pacific Northwest is proud of its heritage as a center of a certain kind of innovation, rooted in the pioneer spirit and home to hundreds of successful businesses that groove to the tune of their own unique drummer. Count Propel Insurance among those businesses. The winner of the 2016 CompSAFE Agent Recognition Awards program, Propel has a long history in the region as an innovator in the insurance industry.
To give you a real sense of the unique blend Propel brings to its industry, take a moment and visit the company website (www.propelinsurance.com). Clicking through the menus and subcategories, you will be presented with some great photos of “buttoned down” insurance agents in interesting settings: cruising on a skateboard while sitting on a briefcase; rock-hopping in the great outdoors; attempting self-propelled “lift-off” in an open field. The images uniquely display one of Propel’s themes – relentlessly nonconformist. Culture is everything at Propel.
The company was founded in Tacoma, Washington in 1923. Over the years, it has expanded to include offices in Seattle, Longview, Portland, Salem, Eugene and most recently, Medford. It has accomplished this growth while all the time staying totally independent as a privately held company.
“Remaining a privately held company has been a big advantage for us,” says Ken Jackson, Vice President and Workers’ Compensation Practice Leader for Propel. “It really allows us to reinvest in the company in a way some other companies aren’t able to. It’s also allowed us to grow smartly.”
Take for instance Propel’s move into the Oregon marketplace. The company accomplished that in 2009 by acquiring the direct-write workers’ compensation business of Liberty Northwest Insurance at the time. The acquisition brought Propel a talented team of established professionals – Ken Jackson included – with a depth of experience in the Oregon market. The team met their new challenge by creating innovative products like Comp360 and by offering products like the CompSAFE program.
“Today, we’re SAIF’s largest agency,” Ken points out. “We currently have 22 full time workers’ comp focused agents. We joke about our longevity in the business. We calculated it once and came up with a combined 400 years total experience in this marketplace.”
With that much experience, it’s a compliment to the program that Propel is such an enthusiastic supporter of the CompSAFE program. It’s a compliment they don’t hesitate giving voice to.
“Oh yes, we are big fans of the CompSAFE program,” says Jackson. “We appreciate the strict requirements needed to qualify. The underwriting standards on the front-end and the commitment to loss prevention and containing claims costs all work to keep the program successful and affordable for businesses. Combine that with the partnership forged with OBI and there is a certain level of prestige to the program.”
In fact, on the rare occasion when Propel brings a prospective CompSAFE client in that doesn’t qualify for the program, they take it as a challenge to get them to a point where they do qualify.
“That’s one of the great things about SAIF,” says Jackson. “They will work with us in those situations and they really do share in the victory when we can get a business to a level where they do qualify.”
Propel puts a full team effort into projects like getting a prospect into the best possible plan available. The company currently has four full time claims consultants and a dedicated risk manager. Propel’s risk manager has been recognized by the Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety & Health (GOSH) Conference on three occasions for outstanding achievement in the field.
Visiting the “our values” section of Propel’s website, will lead you to the company’s five basic values: Integrity, Commitment, Passion, Trust and Smart. These values are shared by SAIF and OBI and it’s just one of the many reasons why Propel has found success in the CompSAFE program.
“We know a business is judged not only by how it does business, but also by who it does business with.” Says Jackson. “Shared values are just one reason why we are proud to be partners with OBI and CompSAFE. We are very appreciative of the recognition CompSAFE is giving us as a leading agency and we look forward to defending our title in 2017.”
Commitment to values, honoring its heritage while embracing innovation, it’s a formula that has worked well for Propel. In fact, Propel has been recognized as the 35th largest privately held insurance agency in the entire U.S. Not a bad feat for some skateboarding insurance dudes.