The Benefits of Building a Niche
Jan 10, 2023
Jan 10, 2023
For Wanda Shaw, lending a helping hand to neighbors in need is second nature. “You can’t over-give or over-serve,” she said recently. Perhaps that’s why Oakbridge Insurance’s newest independent agency partner has built an enviable book of business covering the employee benefits and insurance needs of her fellow small group business owners for over 35 years.
Wanda’s husband, Terry (“Tee”), started Insurance Brokers of Georgia on March 1, 1986, with Wanda joining full-time shortly thereafter. Tee had served in other agencies prior to branching out on his own. “We wanted to better meet the needs of benefits for employers. We found a niche offering ancillary products where many others weren’t. We’ve focused on building comprehensive benefit packages to meet employee needs and provide a broader umbrella of protection,” Wanda says.
Wanda and Tee doubled down, concentrating on providing exceptional service for their neighbors in central Georgia. “Tee always said, ‘we’re in it to serve. If that’s not our motivation, we shouldn’t be doing it,’ and that’s how we’ve run the business ever since,” she says. In fact, Insurance Brokers of Georgia still count their first two group coverage accounts as clients 36-years-strong. As their business grew, so did their family. They have two daughters, both with the entrepreneurial spirit. Their oldest, Brittany Shaw Thoms, built a successful public relations firm while youngest daughter, Sandyn Shaw Colwell, has worked for the family business in some capacity for most of her life. Sandyn earned her insurance license in 2008 and has worked with her parents ever since, even through marriage, children and a couple of out of state family moves. “We’ve remained focused on providing medical, dental, supplemental, basic life and disability coverage for clients with 10 to 200 employees. We have great relationships with clients from Rome to Savannah to Albany. We know the employees, we know their families, we share their day-to-day struggles and celebrate their success stories,” Sandyn adds.
It’s not just service that distinguishes the Shaws. “We’ve been very proactive in updating our back-end systems over the years. We aim to provide the highest levels of customer service. Relationships are big part of that, but so too are things like claims efficiency, billing accuracy and comprehensive plan design,” says Wanda. “Those investments paid off when the pandemic hit. We didn’t miss a beat and were able to shift gears and maintain our excellent service despite widespread business disruption.”
Wanda and Sandyn see only upside in their relationship with Oakbridge. “This partnership is going to help us elevate our business. We like being with our clients, and this will give us the resources to further support our staff, add additional compliance measures and continue to build our coverage areas. We want to ensure that we deliver on our service promise to educate employees and business owners on their options. Benefits are so important, and we’re going to continue to be the face of the agency,” Sandyn said.
“I’m very excited. We have an outstanding team who needs very little oversight. This partnership allows us to continue to do great things for our clients,” Wanda says. It will also allow Wanda and Sandyn to continue to deliver in other ways, most notably their annual Christmas chocolate pound cake to clients. “When I was in grade school, I used to get to skip school for a day to help bake and deliver them,” Sandyn says with a laugh. “Every year, we still find time to deliver a handful to some of those 30+ year clients that still remember!”
It’s service with a heartfelt smile!