The Rathbun Agency was founded by two Rathbun brothers, Jack and Jim, in 1956. Their father, Charles, worked for Michigan Millers Insurance Company for over 40 years. The agency began with no customers and one company contract, but steadily grew through word of mouth.
Their brother, Gene, joined the agency to perform the inside underwriting work in 1966. Subsequently Jim left the firm to become CEO & President with the Insurance Company of the West. Jack retired in 1989 and Gene retired from the agency in 1996.
In 1965, John Keel joined the agency as a sales representative and Assistant Vice President after fourteen years as a career life insurance agent. Today John serves as co-owner and President of The Rathbun Agency, Inc. In 1968, The Rathbun Agency moved the business to its present location at the corner of Pine and Saginaw streets in Lansing
In 1983, Paul Rathbun joined the agency after majoring in Insurance/Business Administration at Ferris State University and working for Aetna for a short time as a sales representative. He became a partner in 1990 and is co-owner and Executive Vice President/Treasurer today.
In 1996, Larry Pingel joined the agency as a sales representative after a sales career in an outside field. Larry moved into an ownership role in 2006 and serves as Vice President.
Through the years the agency has steadily grown from it’s humble beginnings to the present status of servicing over 4,200 customers throughout the mid-Michigan area and beyond. The agency has found that stressing the quality of the service and advice rather than the bottom line price, is one of the key reasons for it’s success. The vast majority of people need to use their insurance on a fairly regular basis, so if the service does not meet their needs, then the money they spend on it is wasted.
The agency has set service standards in order to benchmark its success. Many are simple things, such as answering the phone in three rings or less, returning phone calls the same day, keeping people on hold a minimal amount of time, faxing or emailing proofs of insurance and claims information the same day they receive it. It is surprising the number of insurance agencies, and businesses, that do not have these standards and the long term goodwill they are losing by not doing so.
"We like to think of ourselves not as people selling insurance," says John, "but as people assisting others in buying insurance. Sure, we have good rates, extremely good rates, but most people do not know a great deal about insurance and count on their agent to know them, educate them, and assist them in making good buying decisions."
Another key component to the agency's success is their associates. Brenda Palomo joined the agency in 1986 and handles personal insurance customer service and bonds. Brenda has over 31 years experience in insurance customer service. Jennie Six is the agencies inside claims representative. She advises customers on claims, initiates claim reports and settles claims that the agency handles in-house for many of its insurance carriers. Karen Watson, Mary LeZotte, Tarrin Armstrong, Denise Pelletier, Jenifer Six and Cheryl Grimes are personal and commercial insurance service representatives. Jackie Rathbun joined the agency in 1995 and is the agency's inside bookkeeper. She is also the daughter of one of the original owners of the agency.
Patricia Leyser joined the agency in 2008 after an extensive career in finance. She heads up the Financial Services Division and handles Life and Health Insurance, Retirement Planning including investing, 401k Plans, 401k Rollovers, Section 529 Plans and other investment plans.
In 2012, David Finkbeiner joined the agency, focusing on personal and business insurance, after a long career in the restaurant industry. In 2014, Ben Rathbun joined the agency after graduating from Michigan State University Honors College with a degree in Finance. He also focuses on selling both personal and business insurance.
The Rathbun Agency is well positioned for the future due to its reputation in the community, its tradition of being involved in civic events and activities and its representation of many insurance carriers with strong claims service and competitive products. They have served on Agency Advisory Councils for many of the carriers they represent and have proudly earned Presidents Club, Outstanding Agent Designations and Exceptional Agent Designations with various carriers. The Rathbun Agency was also selected by the Insurance Journal as one of the top six companies to work for in the United States and by Principal Financial Group as one of the top ten agencies nationwide providing financial security to its staff.
All in all, the odds are with The Rathbun Agency to continue it’s tradition of excellence.