A breath of fresh air
An agency spotlight on Swingle Collins & Associates
At Dallas-based Swingle Collins & Associates, employees are always at the drawing board. From consulting with entrepreneurs on how to insure flourishing new businesses, to working with multi-generational families to help close gaps in their coverage, employees work with an ever-growing range of individuals and businesses.
“Key to our success is our agency’s culture,” explains Jason Pond, Personal Risk Manager at Swingle Collins. “We are committed to hiring the best people and to educating our clients and employees. It’s our goal to be the team that does the most for our clients, by out-working and out-thinking our competition at all turns.” This philosophy has led to a creative, hands-on culture at Swingle Collins that’s anything but ordinary.
The story of Swingle Collins & Associates began in 1982, when Founder and CEO Frank Swingle opened the doors to a new brokerage serving business insurance clients in North Texas. The agency’s clientele has grown over the last 37 years to include both entrepreneurial and middle market businesses in the explosive Dallas business landscape.
As the agency grew, so too did the nature of their relationships. Many of the businesses they served were run by entrepreneurs who started with a successful vision, just like Frank had. And while these clients’ businesses were now well-insured with Swingle Collins, there were often gaps in how their personal assets and liabilities were managed.
“We began handling personal insurance as an accommodation for our clients,” explains Mara Chavez, Personal Risk Manager. “We learned then how many individuals were seeking true consultation and advice in this area. From there, a personal risk department was born.”
A similar focus on listening to clients led to the establishment of an Employee Benefits department in 2017. One thing is certain, Matt Elmore, Agency Principal & Shareholder explains: Swingle Collins knows their clients, and everything they do is centered on them. Today, the firm is the largest privately-owned independent insurance agency in Texas and provides business, personal, and employee benefits insurance solutions to clients across the country.
Designed for your changing story
Since the beginning, Swingle Collins’ personal insurance team has maintained a focus on serving successful individuals and families. “Keeping this emphasis,” explains Jason, “makes us well suited to offer the best products and most innovative solutions to our clients.” In addition to offering home, automobile, collections and liability insurance, for example, Swingle Collins has created advice-centered, specialty personal insurance programs for clients with complex risk profiles such as professional sports and entertainment figures, exotic automobile collectors, and family offices.
“What I love about our personal insurance clients,” explains Mara, “is that they really have an appreciation for working together as a team.” For Mara, that teamwork starts with an understanding of the full picture of her clients’ lives. Many successful individuals, she explains, first purchase personal insurance as they start their careers. As they grow their families, expand their businesses, or add new passions like collecting, antique cars, aviation or boating, they often don’t realize that the coverages and insurance providers best suited for them can change significantly. It is Mara’s job as an agent to take a 360-degree view of her clients’ risk profile, and advise them based on the specific exposures in their lives.
“The integrity of what we do comes from these conversations,” adds Jason. “A program we create with you today might be totally different from what we would advise a few years from now, based on how your life evolves. We have the flexibility and access to a range of providers to be creative in the suggestions we make and help clients with what they need at every stage in the game.”
It’s this kind of collaboration that makes working with Swingle Collins a refreshing departure from what clients have come to expect in the insurance world. “There is an enormous population that we believe has been underserved in how they’ve been educated about their insurance,” explains Matt. “We’re here to change that.”
At the forefront
Once you’ve created an insurance plan with the team at Swingle Collins, their focus shifts to offering service and resources to help you get the most of your policy. And in order to offer the kind of service that their clients expect, their agents are always watching trends and developments in the industry.
That includes, for example, how home sharing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO are changing homeowners’ exposures, how flood patterns are changing, or what’s new with cyber insurance. It also includes learning about services available to clients firsthand and bringing in a wide range of industry experts for discussions. Recently employees experienced wildfire defense services, a preventative service available through certain insurance providers to clients in wildfire-prone regions, when they witnessed a private wildfire service team start a controlled fire from their truck, and then extinguish the blaze on the spot!
Hands-on learning is a key part of the job at Swingle Collins, whether agents are learning from outside industry resources or experienced colleagues. “Our team has more than doubled in size during my time here,” recounts Mara. “We’ve added many new, young producers. There’s such a vibrancy when you walk into the office; so much activity from the collaboration of our team.”
That environment has earned Swingle Collins many sought-after designations, including “Best Agency to Work for in the Southwest Region” by Insurance Journal, a “Best Place to Work” by Dallas Business Journal, and a “Top 100 Property/Casualty Agency” by Insurance Journal.1 “Culture is everything,” adds Jason, “and we are an energetic, entrepreneurial team.”
A better way of doing things
As an independent agency, Swingle Collins also works with insurance providers that are an important extension of that team. “Carrier relationships are crucial to our roles as client advisors,” explains Jason. “We are only as good as the company we keep.”
The team looks to create relationships with carriers that are built on long-term value and respect. They work closely with underwriters, sit on agency councils and approach new opportunities for partnership thoughtfully.
When Berkley One, a Berkley Company, launched in Texas, Swingle Collins was one of their first agents in the state. So what made the Swingle Collins team choose to work with a new personal insurance provider?
“It started with a strong belief in Berkley One’s leadership team,” explains Matt. “When they sat down with us and shared their vision, it aligned very much with our core values.”
Those shared values—like creativity, engagement, and discovery—are precisely what gives Swingle Collins an excitement about the new venture. “Berkley One is growing and developing their business alongside their agents,” explained Jason, “We liked the idea of growing together—of helping them find a better way of doing things, and being part of building the things our clients need together.”
That is to say that as they look forward to this new relationship, the Swingle Collins team will find themselves back at their favorite place—the drawing board.
Swingle Collins & Associates offers insurance for individuals, families and businesses. The agency serves clients across the country from offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.