Father, son run their separate insurance agencies as one business
Jerad Groth owns Pasco Allstate agency, his dad owns one in Richland
Jerad Groth didn’t plan to follow his father’s footsteps into the insurance business.
But he’s glad he did.
The young entrepreneur bought an established Allstate agency in Pasco in 2011 at age 25.
“Since 2011, we’ve nearly doubled our clientele and grown twice the size,” said the 31-year-old.
But it wasn’t the career he envisioned.
[blockquote quote=”On our end, it’s family owned. We really do run them together.” source=”Jerad Groth, Allstate Insurance” align=”right” max_width=”300px”]
“To be 100 percent honest when I first started, I didn’t like it. But as you meet more families and help protect and help take care of them when times are tough and when things aren’t going good, it changed. I love the business. It’s been good,” he said.
He’s recently moved his Groth Family Insurance office to 4021 W. Court St., just down the road from his previous location.
He wasn’t intending to buy a building but the former chiropractor’s clinic was ideal.
“It’s tough to find commercial property that fits your size. But this has been awesome. The other office had parking issues and we wanted our own space and awareness and to invest in Pasco and in the Tri-Cities,” Jerad said.
Jerad had to “gut the whole thing,” spending $80,000 on the remodel. He’s changed the entryway, added windows and better signs.
His father Duane Groth, 61, recently relocated his Allstate office from Torbett Street to the Uptown Shopping Center and improved the storefront there.
“We wanted professional buildings for our clients and to create more of an identity,” Jerad said.
His father has been in the insurance business for 19 years and Jerad worked with him during the summers while attending to college.
Six years ago, Jerad bought the late Don Halvorsen’s Allstate agency in Pasco.
“Jerad came to work for me a year or two prior to opening his office. Then we groomed him and wanted him to buy an agency in Pasco and placed him with Halvorsen for six months,” Duane said.
After Jerad bought the business, Halvorsen worked for Jerad as part of their agreement, staying on as an advisor, Jerad said.
“Don had a great client base and retention. For him, he could do things on his own terms. It was a pretty highly sought-after book of clients. It just worked out well, him wanting to stay on.
“He introduced me to clients over time and we still have good retention of those people,” Jerad said.
It was a great mentoring experience for Jerad, according to his father. Customers loved Halvorsen, a longtime Allstate agent, because he was customer-service oriented, Duane said.
“Don was a big part of Jerad’s success. Don worked at Jerad’s for three years until he got ill and passed away. Jerad, he’s a hard worker and smart kid but one thing is he was fortunate because he had Don. There were two successful agents to mentor him,” Duane said.
Though the Groths operate two separate agencies, they operate as one.
“On our end, it’s family owned. We really do run them together,” Jerad said. If customers call the Pasco office and can’t reach an agent because they are on the phone, Duane can pick up the call from his Richland office.
They also share an electronic customer management system.
“I do all the payroll for both offices; Jerad does payables,” Duane said.
Since Jerad bought the Pasco agency, it has been named a premier service agency by Allstate for outstanding customer service. He also earned Circle of Champions award in 2013 for finishing in the top one percent of Allstate agents nationwide and was recognized in 2016 for finishing in the top five percent.
His father said one of the reasons his son is so successful is because Jerad is continually looking for ideas on how to grow his business by investigating successful techniques other agents have used and modifying it for his business.
“He doesn’t sit back. He’s communicating with agents all across the U.S.,” Duane said.
Jerad said the Tri-City insurance market is competitive.
“But the advantage of Allstate is that it’s a brand and the trust that people put in a company,” Jerad said.
Jerad and his father manage a four-plex in Pasco.
Jerad said his dad taught him a great work ethic. “We treat our customers like we want to be treated and handle their insurance as if it was ours,” he said.
His father also taught him to think creatively.
Buying his own agency was “the longest process ever,” because the challenges of his age and work history weren’t appealing to lenders, Jerad said, who lives in Kennewick with his wife, a teacher at Kennewick High School, and their 2-year-old daughter.
Jerad said his father taught me about “taking an opportunity and making it very successful. He taught me to take risks.”
Duane said giving Jerad the space to do his own thing is what he’s done best and “knowing when it’s better to keep your distance and keep your hands off.”
“We work closely together. It’s interesting to work with your kid. But it’s work. It’s nice to have that young energy and that motivation and competitiveness come in and take over,” Duane said.
Jerad said he and his father “always talk about how the Tri-Cities has been great to our family.”
Duane said he knows the future of their business is in good hands.
“It’s comforting to know I could step away and Jerad can handle everything,” he said.