Going the extra mile at Deland, Gibson

An agency spotlight featuring Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates

Any New England sports fan would recognize the score.

Inside Deland, Gibson’s office, located just outside Boston in the historic village of Wellesley, is a display that has become a favorite among the insurance agency’s employees. Stamped 28-3 with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter, the scoreboard depicts the precise moment where the New England Patriots, trailing the Atlanta Falcons by 25 points late in Super Bowl LI, would begin the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

“To us, it stands for success through adversity,” explains Chip Gibson, Chief Executive Officer. And as the insurance partner of many of the area’s highly successful families and businesses, Deland, Gibson’s agents are used to helping their clients navigate difficult moments. They’re there when a storm hits, an accident occurs, a cybersecurity event arises, or during any number of claims their clients may face. “In the business we’re in, it’s not a matter of if things go wrong, but when,” explains Chip. “It’s our job to help people, businesses and families restore their lives.”

Deland, Gibson has been doing this job exceptionally well for nearly 120 years. Since the agency’s beginnings in Boston in 1900, it has grown dramatically over four generations of family ownership, all the while keeping a client focus at its foundation. Today, Deland, Gibson offers commercial insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits and HR consulting solutions to a diverse range of clients, has capabilities in 48 US states and writes more $50 million in premium. And to add to Deland, Gibson’s long track record of success, these days the agency has been going through some exciting changes. Behind their success story stand Chip; his brother, Chief Operating Officer Ted Gibson; their father, Chairman Charlie Gibson, and the creative new ways they are using the agency’s core values to transform an enduring business.


Finding their center


It isn’t just the scoreboard that provides a refreshing break from the usual at Deland, Gibson. Inside the company’s doors you’ll find an environment that feels as much like a start-up as a traditional insurance agency. There’s a putting green, a couch, and a full recording studio, where Deland, Gibson produces The Risky Chicks, a podcast on modern risk management for millennials. Alongside the scoreboard stand two other client experience icons selected by the team: a spirited cutout of Albert Einstein and a mile marker sign that reads “+1,” an appropriate choice in an office located on the famous Boston Marathon course. “They speak to how we approach our client interactions,” Ted explains. “The first icon represents leading-edge knowledge, and the second reminds us to always go the extra mile.”

Three client experience icons at Deland, Gibson represent the ways they serve clients differently.

Deland, Gibson’s first value, expertise, comes from a team with broad capabilities. While the insurance industry often distinguishes between agents who handle personal and commercial insurance, at Deland, Gibson, each producer works with both types of clients—giving them a comprehensive view of the agency’s offerings and allowing them to service a full range of client needs.

It’s an approach that has made perfect sense for their customers. “Many of the families we work with operate a lot like businesses,” Chip notes. “Our personal insurance clients may own homes in different states, employ domestic staff, have art or aviation exposures, and travel internationally.” The 1900 Club, aptly named for Deland, Gibson’s founding year, was created to offer customized service for sophisticated personal insurance clients like these. And it isn’t the only solution that Deland, Gibson has introduced to fill a client need. “We recently launched an HR consulting company to help small and medium-sized businesses handle HR more strategically,” Ted explains excitedly. “We’re finding it helps fill an important gap many companies have.”


An agent for your lifestyle


No matter what clients are looking for, Deland, Gibson believes that it takes more than just offering the right products to be a true advisor. In fact, one of their biggest initiatives has been a commitment to truly understanding each client’s lifestyle. “We always had great solutions and services,” Ted shares, “What we needed to learn was how to be a more consultative partner.”

With the help of Tom Skelly, the agency’s Vice President of Sales and Strategy, Deland, Gibson rolled out an inventive risk management approach called GRIP, short for Gibson Risk Improvement Planning. It engages each client in a multi-dimensional look at risk management, examining strategic, hazard, business and workforce risk to create a picture of what clients can do to help protect their homes, belongings, businesses and more.

“It allows us to help people make good decisions before a loss happens, not just after the fact,” says Chip. “No client wants to go through the inconvenience of being displaced from his or her home or going through a lawsuit. As an agent, it’s great to be able to say, ‘you’re covered’ to a client in situations like these, but it’s even better to help prevent them in the first place.”

Deeper insights also help Deland, Gibson use the power of their network to add value in areas beyond insurance. “We ask clients what they need,” explains Ted. “It’s led to us connecting clients with contractors for landscaping, companies to vet domestic employees, and even a new yacht captain with a great track record. It can be hard to find people you can trust, and we want to help clients however we can.”


Having some fun with it


That connectedness is also mirrored in the way employees at Deland, Gibson work together. Here, the energy is contagious: employees chat excitedly about the agency’s next event and latest marketing initiatives—or what the ‘fact finder’ score of the team’s newest hire is.

The Communication Wall of Fame at Deland, Gibson highlights all members of the team and the way they communicate.

In fact, every employee get four scores, as part of the Kolbe ATM index test they take when they join. The test measures the way they work, communicate and take action. “We make the results available for everyone,” Chip adds. “We call it the ‘Communication Wall of Fame.’ That way, if I’m working with someone new, I can check the wall and learn, for example, that rather than swinging by their office with a question, I should try an email for the quickest response.”

The agency also has an internal client experience team which focuses on employee onboarding, technology and development. They’ve played a big part in how the team finds new talent. “We’ve built a lot of infrastructure to bring new people on board,” Chip explains. “We look for people who can be effective and grow—not just people who know insurance.” This approach has engaged many new, younger employees who are excited to develop with Deland, Gibson. “When we first started working at here, it was a great job,” Ted says. “Now, it’s a great career.”


Teamwork in Title Town


One thing is certain—the world at Deland, Gibson is changing fast, even in an industry that isn’t always quick to embrace new ideas. But, as the Gibson brothers explain, adapting is essential. “Clients today are always expecting more,” Ted adds. “We’re always looking for real-world solutions for the things they are facing and ways to think outside the box.”

It’s this kind of thinking that made Deland, Gibson one of the first agents selected by Berkley One, a new personal insurance provider, ahead of their launch in Massachusetts earlier this summer. “We had our eye on Berkley One from the beginning,” adds Ted. “We felt their product aligned with our service offerings, and that would help us maximize what we could do together.” And, as Garrick Towle, Agency Experience Manager at Berkley One explains, “Deland, Gibson’s commitment to finding new, creative solutions is just one of the things that will help us serve clients better, together.” At Berkley One, we’re excited for the relationship to go the extra mile.

Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates offers commercial insurance, personal insurance, group benefits, HR consulting services and more. The agency is based in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.

Berkley One is a Berkley Company.