John’s first job was tossing coal into the fire at a steel mill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked hard, and thought that by being the most productive on the floor it would create an opportunity for him to advance in the company. John was immediately called into the office with his union boss, and was expecting good news, however was told to slow down because he was making the other employees look bad. John knew that this role was not the job for him. He then started working for an insurance company selling life insurance door to door in the projects collecting a dollar a day on what, back then, they called the debit. John worked day and night to build his book of business. After building up a significant book, his boss said the company was going to lower his commissions. That’s when the idea came to us to start an agency where agents owned their book of business, commissions were unchanged and every client was valued the same.
Over 25 years ago, we turned our dream of opening a small insurance agency into a reality. In 1988, we called ourselves Insurance Office of Florida (IOF). John sought out new business and Valli made sure clients were serviced so that they did not have any desire to leave. We never imagined that Insurance Office of America (IOA) would grow into the organization it is today. Our people, fun, faith and family have been the core of our growth and success.
In 1997, we received a call from our good friend Lloyd Humphrey. We had a long discussion about a possible IOF opening in his hometown of New Jersey. Lloyd and us agreed on the new branch and opened not only our second branch, but also our first out of state branch. The ultimate outcome of our discussion was the formation of our new company name, Insurance Office of America (IOA).
We were and still are focused on our relationships with our clients. Getting to know them as people, not a paycheck. Our focus was the value you got when you did business with IOF, and I think that’s what got Lloyd’s attention. As time passed and people began to hear about IOA, we had the ability to expand into Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, California, and many other states as well as doing business with international clients. When we look at IOA today, it is something that Valli and I couldn’t have dreamed of 25 years ago. The reason IOA has been so successful the past 25 years is the lasting relationships, incredible people (partners & employees) and the value we have created for our clients in our devotion to making today a better tomorrow.
IOF started in half of a one story 3,000 sq. ft. building in Apopka, FL and today IOA has over fifty office locations within the United States and London, England. The dream is no longer just ours, however a vision shared with over 1,000 employees nationwide and in London. Reach out and learn more about IOA. We are excited to welcome more partners and clients to the IOA family as the organization continues to grow in the years to come.
John & Valli Ritenour
Co-Founders of Insurance Office of America