A place where everyone knows your name
Can an agency offer, at once, a uniquely personal feel and national reach and knowledge? Teresa Quale, Executive Director of Sonoran National Insurance Group’s answer is, “absolutely.”
“We call ourselves the Cheers bar of independent insurance groups,” says Teresa. Like the iconic sitcom watering hole, Sonoran is a place where everyone truly does know your name.
The agency matches familiarity with sophisticated expertise. While they are based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the agency is licensed in every state in the country. “Our people are familiar with each of our accounts, which makes it easy for the client,” explains Teresa. “We believe that families and individuals need insurance counsel because they need something tailored to their specific needs.”
Making matters personal
Teresa has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. When she came to Sonoran in 2008, there wasn’t an extensive department dedicated to Personal Insurance. She made it her goal to build this area of the business. By the end of the year, the group had hired a personal insurance executive, laying the foundation to provide the excellent service and comprehensive coverages that they do today.
When asked why she thinks having an independent agent for personal insurance is so crucial, Teresa put it simply: everyone needs an advocate. Whether it’s for a claim, an appraisal or just a consultation, she believes it is Sonoran’s job to help support their clients in whatever way they can.
“We see our role as an advisor and an advocate,” she says.
A relationship, not a transaction
One key to this is connecting clients to someone they have an ongoing relationship with. “We have long-standing staff. When you call our office, you get a live person, not an automated attendant,” she explains. It’s a rare and delightful surprise when you don’t have to press a number before speaking to a real person on the other end of the line. This small, but significant touch is just one of the many ways Sonoran sets itself apart.
In the world of personal insurance, Teresa explains the importance of understanding each client’s lifestyle. Travel, for instance, is one sector of the business that is growing rapidly. “We’re able to offer specialized coverage for clients, beyond what a travel agent might offer and without having to call three different 1-800 numbers,” she adds with a chuckle. “People want experience and attention,” Teresa declares. “That’s what we bring.”
Everyone teaches, everyone learns
On average, today’s employees spend less than five years at a job, and that number has been on the decline since 2014.1 With this in mind, Teresa explains how important it is for Sonoran to invest in their employees.
“This is a learning agency,” she says, “just like there are learning hospitals. We want to bring millennials into the industry.”
With that mentality, everyone at Sonoran becomes a teacher to newcomers.
It also means continued investment in growth for all staff. At Sonoran, everyone in the building is a licensed agent. Teresa stresses just how important, and proud, she is of this fact. Yet in a specialized and changing industry, there are nuances that can’t be taught through a textbook, which is why Teresa is also proud of the hands-on learning experience employees are able to get at Sonoran National. “When there’s a question, we pull the policy forms, we look at the claim facts, and we learn from real-life experiences together.” Teresa says, “We care about coverage and helping clients manage their risks.”
Stronger through teamwork
Sonoran has a longstanding relationship with a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, through a commercial chiropractic program offered since 2009. Working with Berkley on the commercial side gave Sonoran confidence that carrying a personal offering with Berkley One, a Berkley Company, would be a great opportunity as well. “We know Berkley, we trust Berkley, and we like the high-quality experience Berkley provides on the commercial side,” explains Teresa. “We had no doubt they could replicate that on the personal side as well.”
With customer service at the forefront of Sonoran’s mission, the group also liked the idea of providing their customers a new, robust insurance offering. “We say here a lot, we want our customers to make conscious decisions when selecting coverages, options and limits.” Teresa explains. It’s one of her many “Teresa-isms,” as the company has dubbed them. “We don’t just take something off the shelf and hand it to them.” With customizable coverage options that clients can adapt to the way they live, Berkley One offers insurance solutions that can be a complement to Sonoran’s individualized approach.
For Teresa, working with a new insurance provider also means an opportunity to find creative solutions to insurance problems together. Berkley One launched in Arizona just last week, with Sonoran as one of their first agents in the state.
“We want to build something and we want to make a difference,” Teresa explains.
Together, Berkley One and Sonoran can do just that.
Sonoran National Insurance Group, an independent agency based in Scottsdale, Arizona, offers Personal Insurance, including protection for your automobiles, primary, secondary, and rental homes, jewelry and fine art schedules, boats and umbrella/excess liability coverage. They also offer business insurance, workers compensation, professional liability and rental fleet insurances. The agency can provide insurance in all fifty states.