Few agencies have had longer-lasting relationships with their communities than this one in Wheaton. Now, it’s teaming up with another long-serving agency to provide a broader selection of products.
The business world is filled with change, and no one knows that better than people in the insurance industry. Langan, Haeger, Vincent and Born Inc., at 290 S. County Farm Road, in Wheaton, has stayed the course, serving local clients for 84 years.
“The insurance industry is a relationship business. Strong relationships help retain existing clients and can lead them to refer new clients to the agency,” says Mike Leach, vice president of Langan, Haeger, Vincent & Born. “We look out for our clients’ interests by analyzing their insurance needs and putting in place the proper coverage with highly rated carriers at competitive rates. This, along with timely service and advice, helps us to maintain our client relationships.”
Langan, Haeger, Vincent & Born was incorporated in 1955 and has since grown into an organization that serves the insurance needs of about 2,000 families, businesses and organizations in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Business clients cross all industries with a high percentage being nonprofit organizations, construction and manufacturing companies.
“We work with a wide range of clients, from small employers to businesses with several thousand employees,” says Leach. “Our firm is an independent insurance agency; we represent several insurance companies and place coverage with the appropriate carrier based on the coverage that is required and the pricing for that coverage.”
He adds that the business is a full-line independent agency. “We write personal insurance such as homeowners, auto, life and health, and, for businesses, we write their commercial insurance coverages, such as property, general liability and workers compensation. We also take care of businesses’ employee benefit coverages. We work with firms ranging in size from one to several thousand employees. Everyone that works at our agency is either a producer who is responsible for writing and maintaining business, or a customer service representative.”
In 1930, Roy Langan started the insurance agency as a sideline business to what was then Wheaton Savings & Loan. About 19 years later, Bob Haeger joined the firm, followed by Russell Vincent and Ken Born.
“The agency was initially part of a local savings and loan which eventually broke away on its own,” says Leach. “The other partners came into play in the 1950s – the second generation, if you will – and ran the agency. Later, Bob Haeger Jr. came to work at the agency in 1971. Throughout the years, we’ve grown, added staff and the agency has continued to thrive.”
Langan, Haeger Vincent & Born spent 40 years in one location before moving to its current building, a location that better suites the agency’s needs. “We’ve always considered Wheaton home,” Leach says. “We conduct business throughout the area, but we continue to be committed to Wheaton. Leaving this town was never an option for our business.”
The agency’s 15 employees have vast experience in the insurance industry, most ranging from 24 to 43 years. That’s an impressive record, considering the volatility in today’s job market.
“It’s something we’re extremely proud of,” says Leach. “Not everyone stays with one company for that long. We’re pretty unique, here in our office. One part of our success is due to the commitment our employees make to the community. They give back by getting involved – whether it’s serving on local nonprofit boards or coaching little league baseball.”
Another key to success is the commitment made by employees to the insurance profession. Many have their Certified Insurance Counselors designation and are active in various professional insurance organizations.
Now, thanks to a recent merger, Langan, Haeger, Vincent & Born is prepared to offer clients even more programs and services. Last fall, the agency was acquired by Williams-Manny Insurance, a Rockford-based group that has been in business for 100 years and provides personal insurance, business insurance, employee benefits, financial planning and Medicare supplement products.
Given its reputation in the Wheaton community, Langan, Haeger Vincent & Born opted to keep its name during the transition. “The merger with Williams-Manny will assist us in offering quality services to existing and new clients,” says Leach, who recently became a partner with the Rockford group. “Williams-Manny is a much larger organization that brings more capabilities and expertise to the table. We’ve adapted to their culture and working systems. We’re partnering with people who have the same values, with respect to taking care of their customers. We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity for our clients and our team.”
The feeling is mutual among Williams-Manny officials. “The combination is good for both companies,” says Dan Ross, president of Williams-Manny. “It allows Williams-Manny to serve a broader marketplace and provide current Langan, Haeger, Vincent & Born clients with a broader array of products and services. We’re pleased to work with their employees and are looking forward to seeing the business grow.”
Leach has seen many changes over the years. One of the biggest is the use of social media in the sales recruiting process. The company’s website contains blogs that provide insight on recent industry trends, written by local experts. “It’s an opportunity to give consumers quicker and better access to finding agents,” Leach says. “When I started out in this business, we were just starting to computerize everything. The industry itself is always evolving. Having tools like blogs and Facebook have really helped people to communicate and research their insurance needs. It’s an effective way to reach out and keep in touch with current and new customers.”
Rules and regulations are also in constant flux. Leach and his staff monitor industry trends for potential impact on their business. “Between progress in technology and dealing with new laws and regulations, it seems we’ve seen plenty of change, over the years,” he says. “Things are more complex these days, due mostly to state and federal regulations. And of course, it’s a competitive business, which keeps everyone on their toes.”
The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, has greatly impacted the insurance industry. “It continues to evolve and bring new elements into the marketplace,” Leach says. “We’re constantly advising our clients, keeping them abreast of the changes, and dealing with the ramifications of the law. The Affordable Care Act has generated more activity for us in terms of placing coverage, and knowing where you can place that coverage.”
When looking for an insurance agency, Leach says, it’s important to ask trusted friends and business associates to share their personal experiences. The insurance industry, after all, is all about relationships. “Ask your neighbors and other business contacts who they work with,” he says. “Look for agencies with longevity and excellent reputations. And always make sure to ask for references when talking to any potential agency.”
Leach has spent three decades in the insurance business. Without question, he says, developing client relationships has been his greatest reward. “My biggest satisfaction is working with new and existing clients on a day-to-day basis, and knowing that I’ve done the best possible job for them,” he says. “I enjoy educating our clients and helping them to make informed decisions. It’s a true partnership that we’ve developed with our clients over the years.”