Driven by excellence
A spotlight on Berkley Classics
Collector Car enthusiasts know the Berkley Classics program for unparalleled insurance coverage and expertise in the collector vehicle space. Established in 1974, the Berkley Classics program was designed to focus specifically on the needs of collector vehicle owners. Today, they help protect over 50,000 collector vehicles annually, offering insurance solutions and risk consulting for each vehicle as if it was their own.
“The people on our team have deep, experienced knowledge,” Shelley Fey, Underwriting Supervisor, explains. “Providing collector vehicle insurance is our business, but we also walk the walk. We understand not just the vehicles, but also the people who own them. We are out in the industry every day.”
For instance, Kathy Moore-Stark, Underwriter and Marketing Specialist, interacts daily with her clients and offers feedback regularly to the hosts of the Under the Hood radio show. When listeners call in for information on repairs, risk prevention advice, and how-to tips for their collector vehicle, she listens to the show as it airs live and, when pertinent, sends information to the show’s hosts advising them. “It results in some good preventative advice,” she explains, “Not to mention some fun ad-lib conversations.”
Being actively involved in car clubs such as SCOF (Superformance Owners Club of America), NSRA (National Street Rod Association), MVPA (Military Vehicle Preservation Association) and more helps the Berkley Classics team engage with like-minded people and stay on top of emerging trends that keep them at the forefront of their industry. It also helps them connect their clients to a wide-ranging network of specialists who can help with things like valuation, repairs, finding their next classic vehicle, and even locating stolen collector vehicles. “This industry is really personal,” adds Kathy, “It’s made up of individuals who are really passionate about collector cars. We’re focused on connecting with industry leaders and connecting our clients with them, too—because that’s how we can offer the best solutions.”
A rich history
For over 40 years, Berkley Classics has provided an established program in the collector-car space. It began in 1974 and became part of Berkley in 1998. At this time, the collector car niche was quickly gaining recognition and popularity. With a growing market need for specialization, the team narrowed their focus in 2002 to coverage for collector vehicles exclusively, and the Berkley Classics program of today was born.
Today, the program is filed in 19 states and insures a wide range of vehicles, from sports cars and rare exotic cars to antique vehicles including cars, trucks, motorcycles, military vehicles, farm tractors, and snowmobiles.
What stands out, first and foremost, among the Berkley Classics team is how deeply, and personally, they know collector cars. On average, their underwriters have over 10 years of experience in insuring collector vehicles, and even more in the insurance business. The team personally handles a collective 40,000 calls annually, bringing their knowledge and passion to clients and agents every day.
For many, collector vehicles are an interest that extends beyond work. “I can’t believe my luck falling into a line of business that has been my passion all along,” says Kathy, who grew up in Rapid City, where collector vehicles are a passion for many.
Shelley also brings vibrant experience to her role managing the Berkley Classics’ underwriting team. Her family has a deep-rooted history with collector cars, and she joined the team with a familiarity of this industry as well as a breadth of experience in underwriting.
Word gets around
Referrals from happy clients strongly drive the Berkley Classics business. “People often come to us because they have heard of us in the industry, or through current clients who have had positive experiences,” Shelley says. When talking with the Berkley Classics team, potential clients quickly realize that working with a specialist can make a tremendous difference in the value they receive.
When it comes to coverage, for example, the Berkley Classics program offers coverage on an “Agreed Amount” basis. This type of coverage provides a guaranteed payout of the amount shown on the policy (minus the deductible, if applicable) in the event of a covered total loss. The value can be adjusted over time, and the team at Berkley Classics has a deep understanding of how to help establish these values, considering factors that standard auto policies may not. This can add up to better coverage at a lower cost—a topic you can learn more about in Kathy’s latest blog post.
For some, the real difference-maker is the personalized attention that marks their relationships. Kathy explains, “We handle inquiries personally, and when someone needs to talk things through, we’re patient and happy to take the extra time to help them feel comfortable with all the details.” This focus and responsiveness also extends to agents. Shelley adds that their team’s quick turnaround time often makes all the difference, because people need answers fast.
Randy Thomas, Founder and Administrator of the Superformance Owners Association International, Inc., experienced this approach firsthand when his Cobra was in a covered accident just a few months after moving his insurance to Berkley Classics. His claim was assigned quickly to a claim specialist who was himself a collector. Randy was impressed right away by the team’s knowledge and how quickly and deftly the claim was handled, and soon after added 5 more collector cars to his policy.
It’s just one of many client testimonials the team is proud to share. “Again and again, we hear from clients that they wouldn’t trust anyone else to insure their vehicle,” explains Kathy. “It means a lot when you care as much as we do about the work we do.”
At home or on the road
This year, Kathy, Shelley and the Berkley Classics team are looking forward to continuing to work to offer even more value to clients and producers. But first, Kathy is off to Las Vegas to check out some high-end specialty vehicles, and to do what the Berkley Classics team does best—connect with experts and collector vehicle owners alike. Whether the team is at their office in Luverne, MN, meeting with collector car owners, or out and about in the community, their commitment to providing personal service and a great insurance program is what drives them.
To learn more about Berkley Classics and their collector car coverage, visit them here. Berkley Classics underwrites on behalf of Riverport Insurance Company, a Berkley Company.