November 1, 2022

As Oakbridge begins its third year of serving the businesses, families and communities where we live, work and play, we thought it would be a good time to check in with our Chief Executive Officer Robbie Smith and get his perspective on how business is going and what the future holds.

Oakbridge: Hi Robbie. Thanks for your time this morning and early congratulations on hitting the two-year mark! Can you share with us how things are going?

Robbie Smith: Thank you! It’s been a fantastic couple of years. We started by incorporating the standards of excellence from the founding agencies of Oakbridge, and then we set out with a definite vision and a solid business plan. The execution of that plan has gone really well – it’s been the best possible process one could ask for. It’s not been a completely linear journey, but they never are. And that’s what allowed us to be more opportunistic and to adjust course along the way.

Oakbridge: Would you point out some specific highlights for us?

Smith: Sure. First off, the overall performance of the company has been extraordinary. We have gained partners who are industry leaders in their respective categories. For the second year in a row, we’ve been named a Best Practices agency by the Independent Agents & Brokers of America (The Big I) and a Top 100 Property/Casualty Agency by Insurance Journal. We were also recognized by Business Insurance this year as the 68th largest U.S. Broker. We have been very successful in growing our business organically which is a testimony to our highly driven trusted advisor team.

Our marketing messaging is on-point. We’re starting to get interest from partners outside our traditional geographic footprint and lines of business. One very crucial highlight is that we continue to attract the best and brightest colleagues in the industry. All of these things create the momentum we need to truly elevate our placement in the industry.

Oakbridge: Can you talk more about the partner process?

Smith: It’s a critical part of our business strategy. We want to grow this business with partners who are as committed to best-in-class service as we are. We want to enable them to better serve their clients and their communities. We’re not interested in just acquiring firms or simply buying people out. We seek passionate partners who have built solid agencies and books of business and can put our resources and best practices to work in expanding their own lines and sharpening their focus on their clients. That’s the foundation of the partner process.

Oakbridge:  How important is cultural fit to your growth strategy?

Smith:  It’s essential. The independent agency mindset is based on putting the client first. That drives everything we do. Community, collaboration, customization, excellence, opportunity – they’re common denominators. Our values as individuals and as an organization give us a great advantage over nameless, faceless, corporate behemoths. Our collective resources and our level of sophistication are delivering exceptional results for our clients. We don’t want to partner with an agency principal that doesn’t share these same commitments.

Oakbridge:  What’s your focus going into 2023?

Smith: I anticipate that we’ll be in some sort of economic slowdown which gives us a great opportunity to focus on continued operational excellence and to continue to concentrate on driving organic growth. So, in no particular order, here are some key areas:

  1. We want to exceed the highest levels of organic growth. That kind of growth reflects and feeds our operational priorities. We’ll meet and exceed industry standards.
  2. We want to be regionally dominant by continuing to offer customized, best-in-class products and services. Our clients expect and deserve industry-leading, expert-level risk management and proactive services – we’ll continue to deliver those and more.
  3. We’ll be opportunistic in filling the gaps in our business plan – both geographic gaps and expertise gaps.
  4. It’s really necessary for us to continue to collaborate internally to fine tune and refine how we do business. We’ll keep pushing to be better than best-in-class and to keep raising the bar for each other and our clients.

I couldn’t be more proud of what our nearly 300 team members have achieved in such short time. It’s a lot of fun to witness our collective successes and we’re far from being done!

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