Celebrating 20 years of business in 2018, Wilk Insurance Group prides themselves on their family roots and core values. The business began when, after nearly a decade of working in insurance, Jeffrey Wilk approached his business-minded brother, Danny, about working together. The two made the perfect insurance pair, growing their team to provide specialized home, auto, business and life insurance and honest, client-centric service. “We decided to use our name for the group because people know that ‘Wilk’ means we will do the right thing,” Danny says. They’ve taken time to make sure that their team’s values align as well, reinforcing, “It’s truly a family culture here. We’ve cultivated a culture of comfort to reduce stress.”
Jeffrey is a Certified Insurance Counselor and now Danny has 20 years specializing in home, auto, small business insurance, and group health and life insurance. “When we started, we wanted people to know we were going to do the best thing for them,” Danny notes. “20 years later, we’re still doing the same thing.”
Spread the word
Today, most businesses rely heavily on marketing and advertisements to drive business, but Wilk has never had the need. Danny comments on their growth by saying, “We are 100% referral based. We do very little advertising, because we are honest and direct with our clients, and they appreciate that.” Danny explains that the truth isn’t always easy to hear, but that it’s vital to building trust with a client. “In all honesty, I almost missed this interview,” he says laughing. “I was on the phone with a client who was having a bit of an emergency and needed some advice.” It’s quickly apparent just how much Danny and his team are committed to making sure clients they have the answers that they need.
One of the differentiators at Wilk is making sure that there is a fit with clients and that everyone gets along. With insurance, the details get personal, and it’s important that there is an established level of trust so that agents know how they can help. “You can’t become a trusted advisor until you offer great advice!” Danny explains. “To advise clients on personal insurance decisions, we need to know a lot about what’s going on in their lives. That’s where the growth comes from—our clients trust us.”
Communication is key
Danny tells new clients and employees one thing about communication. “If I don’t respond to a call or email within 24 hours, it’s either because I didn’t get the message or I’m dead,” he says laughing. Communication is crucial to the team at Wilk. “You will never get the feeling that we’re too busy,” he adds. At every touchpoint, the team is committed to service. Danny gives clients his personal cell phone number, and also offers to personally go out and videotape their homes to help them create an inventory of their contents—something that’s crucial to insuring their belongings for the proper value.
Wilk also has resources specifically dedicated to claims and billing, two confusing areas of insurance, so that clients can rest easy and know that their questions can be answered. It’s this extra level of personalized service that creates a true advantage.
Prevention fuels retention
Insurance is there for the unexpected, but at Wilk, the team would rather address potential problems before they arise. “We try to settle a claim before it happens,” Danny starts, “We try to find where the areas of exposure are for each client, and make sure that they have that coverage. It takes detective work on our end.” For Danny, it’s about searching for ways that clients might have an issue, and making sure that Wilk is able to recommend solutions and advice for preventing losses. For instance, Danny advocates for clients to use dashboard cameras in their vehicles. When clients wonder about their effectiveness in monitoring and improving driving habits, he cites his own experience with three teenage drivers. His three-prong approach to problem solving—speaking as a father, businessman and insurance expert—is straightforward and helpful.
When it comes to incoming business, Danny notes that Wilk doesn’t have a problem turning people away. “If someone has good coverage where they’re at, I’ll tell them to stay with their current program. Then, I’ll tell them what to look for and offer advice for the future.” It’s more important for Wilk to be honest with everyone, client or not, than to take in new business just for the sake of business. “People respect and appreciate our honesty. Sometimes the truth is hard, but we’d rather that than lose people’s trust,” Danny says. It’s this level of transparency that sets them apart—and often, has clients calling back at the next renewal cycle to switch their insurance to Wilk.
In good company
In the time that Wilk has been in business, they’ve only done business with one other high net worth insurance provider—until now. “We’ve had other carriers approach us, but we’ve always said no,” Danny says. The relationship between Wilk and Berkley One began when Christoph Ritterson, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Berkley One, approached Wilk. Berkley One was drawn not only to Wilk’s reputation for excellence, but also their values of authenticity and transparency. Says Danny, “We sat down with the team multiple times, and it just seemed like the right fit.”
For Danny, the difference was in believing in Berkley One’s mission and purpose. “My brother and I believed in Berkley One—and the people behind Berkley One—so much so that I told them I wanted to be the first policy holder with them,” Danny affirms. He indicated that the brothers trust the team, what Berkley One stands for, the coverage we provide and our commitment to client service.
It’s a testament that Berkley One does not take lightly and a responsibility we are proud to carry.
Wilk Insurance provides home and auto insurance, collections insurance, umbrella insurance, business insurance, group health insurance, individual health insurance, and life insurance. The agency is based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
Berkley One is a Berkley Company.