By JOHN GORALSKI
You’ve heard the theme song. “We are Farmers,” they sing. “Bum, badum, bum. Bum. Bum. Bum.”
If you’re turned on your television lately, you’ve seen the commercials. A Farmers agent escorts a client into an insurable situation. “You thought you were covered for this…” he says, and the scene morphs into something ridiculous. “When you were really covered for this…”
It seems that you can’t turn to any media these days without encountering a Farmers Insurance commercial, but until Bill McDougall, Jr. opened the doors of his Southington agency a few weeks ago, there was nowhere in Connecticut where you could have purchased a Farmers policy.
“It’s hard to believe. They are the third insurance carrier in the country, but they’re only in 35 states right now,” said McDougall. “It’s something that was really attractive to me. They must be doing something right. We sat and met with them, and it was nice to see how great their organization is and all the support that they have for us. The people we work with are phenomenal.”
The McDougall Agency LLC opened in February in an office at 100 Queen Street in Southington, and it’s already growing by leaps and bounds. It’s no surprise to the agency founder. As the first Farmers Insurance agent in the state, McDougall hit the ground running as the insurance behemoth made its move into Connecticut.
It was a perfect fit for McDougall.
The former banker-turned-insurance agent, is a Southington native and former pitcher for the high school team. After graduating from George Washington University in 1998, he spent the next 17 years honing his business skills at a pair of local banks, concentrating in commercial lending, and looking for an opportunity to strike out on his own.
At the bank, McDougal became aware of how many people struggled with purchasing insurance or financial products. He began to realize that he could help, so he met with Farmers, returned to his hometown, and began looking for ways to help Southington residents find financial security.
“I’m able to take those relationships that I built in the banking industry and transition it to become more independent but still be able to help people in the financial sector,” he said. “Farmer’s has educational ads, and I like that. It’s not all about price. You can go on the internet and shop for price. We find that so many people aren’t insured properly because they just aren’t educated about it.”
The McDougall Agency is a full brokerage that can cover most lines of insurance. That’s what appealed to McDougall. Farmers is a well-established, well-respected carrier. With the company’s size, he isn’t limited to just homeowners and automobile coverage. He can service any client, no matter what the client’s needs are.
“If somebody walks into the door, I can service them. I think that’s what is going to set us apart from the other exclusive agents in town,” he said. “They’ve been around for 80 years, so they have that longevity as a great company. I think we can make a difference in town.”
McDougal comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. His mother was a well-known real estate agent for more than three decades. His father was a former bank manager, coach, and restaurant owner, and he currently sits on the board of a local food pantry.
Opening his own business was already in his blood, so he enlisted a strong support system around him and opened the doors.
His father was enlisted as a part-time agent. To ensure superlative service right from the start, McDougall hired Heather Pappas, a veteran with more than 20 years of insurance experience, as their office manager. Early interest has been so great that they’ve already been able to hire an additional staff member to help service clients.
“It’s all about relationships. A lot of people still go on-line to get a quick quote, but 90 percent of the agents aren’t providing the right coverage for somebody that might have a couple of cars and a home or a shoreline property,” McDougall said. “They sometimes aren’t carrying enough insurance to cover and protect their assets. We’re trying to be here, not just to insure them, but to educate them about their needs. At the same time, we are very competitive.”
The McDougall Agency’s office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. After hours meetings are available by appointment. The office number is (860) 426-3264, or you can reach Bill McDougall Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want everybody to know that we’re here to build relationships,” said McDougall. “You can call me any time, and we’ll be a true agent. We’ll be available for all their insurance needs. It’s all about customer service.”
For more information, visit http://www.farmersagent.com/wmcdougall.