An agency that gets you thinking

When Rose O’Brien joined GCG Financial nine years ago, she knew she wanted to bring the agency’s reputation for consultation and collaboration into the world of personal insurance. The firm, which was founded in 1975 with a disability focus, had just founded GCG Risk Management, a new department offering property & casualty insurance to personal and commercial clients. As the Director of Personal Risk Management, Rose was the perfect fit for the task. She brought startup know-how from building her own boutique agency, and 35+ years of experience in personal insurance.

Today, GCG’s Personal Risk Management group is a vital part of the agency’s business. As a founding member of Alera Group, GCG is one of the largest independent firms in the nation, and offers a broad range of solutions including business insurance, personal insurance, life insurance, financial planning, wealth management, employee benefits and more. The team prides itself on forming personal relationships with clients to help them manage risk and navigate through the world of insurance.

“We take a real risk-management approach to our clients,” Rose says, “We like to think of each conversation in terms of how we can consult and collaborate.”


Knowing the tricks


When it comes to personal insurance clients, Rose points out that each individual has a different set of needs. She and her team need to know the right questions to ask—ones that get clients thinking about the right solutions.

It’s important to work with clients to understand what program is the best fit for their lifestyle, Rose explains. “I love the complexity of these conversations,” she adds. “It’s a true discussion about their needs rather than numbers. These are things that could really have a financial impact on people’s lives.”

Her goal is to help clients figure out what they might not know when it comes to their insurance coverage, and get them thinking. She adds,

“Sometimes people don’t know what questions they should be asking—through no fault of their own. That’s why a broker is there, to bring this expertise.”

Rose’s team helps clients anticipate life events by scheduling touch points as often as possible. “We make it a point to do an annual check-in to make sure the coverage is appropriate. It’s important to point out what policies might exclude as well. Often, people forget about updating coverage to reflect renovations or children becoming of driving age.” Monitoring clients’ insurance proactively allows GCG to update coverage to respond to changes in their lives, to help ensure that all their bases can be covered.


Making the dream work


At GCG, the client is at the forefront of all the work, but behind the scenes, the team works together easily. Rose describes a collaborative environment at GCG, fueled by open dialogue and the belief that every question is worth asking. Another key is knowledge: the Personal Risk Management team brings a collective 150+ years of experience. This helps establish credibility and trust, Rose explains, and also means the team is connected to resources to help clients.

“Where the rubber hits the road for our clients is when they have a claim and we can advocate on their behalf. We can help them get covered claims taken care of quickly, so that they can move on with their lives.”

GCG also promotes a positive company culture through philanthropy. The firm participates in ongoing charitable work, and contributes to local organizations. “At any one time, GCG has two to three groups working on giving back to the community,” says Rose. Whether it’s painting the inside of a senior citizen home, volunteering at a local farm to help adults with developmental disabilities, or putting on an annual 5k race for charity, the team always finds a way to get involved.


It started with a coffee


“I’ve been in this business a long time,” Rose says with a chuckle, “and it takes a lot to get me excited at this point in the game.” Rose’s relationship with Berkley One started with a cup of coffee. “I walked away from that meeting excited and enthused. I had a whole new perspective on Berkley One and how we could work together.”

Within a few short months’ time working together, the organizations have formed a strong partnership. Rose adds,

“There is a fresh, can-do attitude that everyone at Berkley One has—it’s refreshing and encouraging, and it makes me motivated to want to do more.”

Looking toward the future, Rose is excited about the possibilities for each organization, and for clients, that they can achieve by working together. When asked about what’s made the start of this relationship a success, Rose recalls that first meeting: “I didn’t know what would happen, but I went into it willing to listen—and I believe one of the key components to any relationship is communication!”

It’s fitting, because at GCG, Rose has certainly shown that good conversation, and being open to listen and inquire, can get you thinking.

GCG Financial offers Business Insurance, Personal Insurance, Employee Benefits, Risk Management, and Wealth Management services. The agency is headquartered in Deerfield, IL, with offices in Chicago, IL, Downers Grove, IL, and Denver, CO.

Berkley One is a Berkley Company.