Erb and Young Insurance, Inc. was designed from its conception to fill the gap between the old way of selling insurance and the new, but its owners say their job is about more than just selling insurance – it’s about service, development, and personal growth.
“We saw a demographic of agencies that do great things from the angle of value expertise, coverage explanation and customer service, but not so much with technology. “On the other side, we saw the direct writers and the online insurance marketplaces, which are convenient, but you don’t get that relationship and counsel,” says Taylor Young, who is a founding partner and VP of Personal Lines.
“We created Erb and Young because we saw a need for an independent agency in the insurance marketplace that would offer the best of both worlds. We value relationships first over transactions, and see technology as a way to enhance those relationships, not detract from them. Our niche in the marketplace is a huge part of our story – it reflects our culture and the vehicle we provide for development.”
Taylor’s brother Brett was the sibling who entered the insurance field first – but while Taylor was finishing up a basketball career at the University of Central Florida, Brett was discovering his producer role at an Orlando agency wasn’t a good fit. That’s when he turned to his friend, Rod Erb, and his brother Taylor with his vision.
“Brett wasn’t looking to start an agency initially,” says Taylor. “He was looking for the right fit, whether that turned out to be corporate, or older mom and pop style. He just wanted a fun, vibrant culture focused on finding ways to innovate and continually get better. I had done some internships in health services and administration, and I said, ‘Sure, I’m in.” Our friend Rod Erb had a background in medical sales, and joined us. Brett ultimately wanted to create a vehicle that would allow people to develop personally and professionally, and that vehicle turned out to be insurance.”
Taylor, Brett and Rod started working together in 2007, and Erb and Young Insurance, Inc. was founded in 2011. The agency now has 17 employees and two locations, one in Orlando and one in Melbourne. They primarily service the customer who wants one agency to handle all of their insurance needs holistically.
Selling homeowners insurance in the state of Florida has its challenges. “We constantly battle misconceptions about Florida insurance,” says Taylor. He points to hurricane deductibles as one of the biggest misunderstandings for people who move to Florida from out of state. “The 2% standard deductible really throws people who have never lived in a hurricane zone,” he says. “Olympus’ flat hurricane deductible options are a big selling point, because we can show homeowners how much more protection they can gain against out-of-pocket costs for just a small adjustment in their premium.”
Taylor says the biggest challenge for insurers in Florida is the frequency and expense of water damage claims combined with Assignment of Benefits (AOB) fraud. “We work really hard to educate homeowners about what to do if they suffer a loss from water damage. Don’t sign a document that gives away your rights. Call us or call your carrier. We are resources for you and can help you protect yourself. Olympus creates a lot of great material on their blog feed that addresses AOB fraud. Roofs are another sticking point – insurance doesn’t cover normal wear and tear. Insurance covers you against outside events, not against failure to keep up with home maintenance.”
Being a relatively new agency in the Florida market meant the Erb and Young founders were able to learn a lot from historical data and plan how to handle crises like Irma and Michael. “We haven’t been around for 100 years, so all the big storms of the past few years were growth opportunities and a way to learn. We’re all hands on deck during a catastrophic event, starting before the storms hit to prepare our homeowners – an email blast to make sure everyone has their carrier’s direct number for claims, a phone blast to check on people, a blog post to lay out the protocol: “If something happens, here’s who to call and what to do.”
When it comes to the day-to-day of selling insurance, Taylor says it’s the personal connection that makes it worthwhile. “We enjoy the people and the variety … we’re never going to figure it all out. Everything changes constantly so there are always new things to learn and more opportunities for personal growth.” The biggest challenge for agents, he says, is being able to connect with consumers who have less and less of an attention span.
“Homeowners allow a very short amount of time to have important conversations about insurance. We have to figure out how to pack explanations of the most important coverages and all the situations that could arise into this tiny window. As agents, we look for channels we can use to help bolster those short conversations, whether through social media, text, or video. We want the relationship, they want the relationship – but not at the cost of their convenience.”
Taylor says the Spartan Enhanced Coverage option from Olympus is a terrific addition, since it allows agents to offer a broad range of high quality coverage that handles multiple scenarios without having to explain multiple riders and endorsements. “It goes back to that short homeowner attention span,” he says. “Spartan allows us to say, ‘Here’s an all-in-one option with all the bells and whistles, and it only costs a fraction more annually than your basic coverage.’ Spartan really helps with our customer retention – no-one else offers anything comparable.”
Erb and Young have been writing Olympus policies since 2013. “We saw Olympus in the marketplace, and it was recommended to us by another company rep who said, ‘This is a company you want to have for your customers.’ We met with Whitney Thomas, who is now our Regional Sales Manager, and found out pretty quick that the great reputation Olympus had was deserved, and the good things we’d been hearing were true.”
Taylor says Olympus is consistently invested with the carrier / agency relationship. “You can feel the love,” says Taylor. “They are our friends as well as our peers and we have a lot of fun working with them. The company is constantly looking for ways to do a better job and to innovate where needed – whether it be a claims experience, an underwriting experience, ease of use with the portal, or our experience with an event or with any company representative. This spotlight – we love that they do this every quarter, and were so excited when they reached out and said they wanted to feature Erb and Young.”
This all meshes perfectly with what Taylor circles back around to – the culture he, Brett, and Rod strive to create at their agency. “The big key for us is that we are here to serve people first, and homeowners insurance is just the means – there’s a commitment from us, we feel the greatest and most noble honor is to serve others. We are on a mission to create extraordinary lives. It is our hope that we become better human beings first, more competent insurance professionals second, and ultimately the customer will feel that in their experience with us.”
6550 N. Wickham Rd. Suite 9
Melbourne, FL 32940