My first job was tossing coal into the fire at a steel mill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I worked hard and thought that, by being the most productive on the floor, it would create an opportunity to advance in the company. I was soon called into the office with my union boss and was expecting good news. However, I was told to slow down because I was making the other employees look bad. I knew then that role was not the right one for me. I 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 was called the debit. I worked day and night to build a book of business. After building up a significant book, my boss said the company was going to lower 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). I 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 office opening in his hometown in New Jersey. We all 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 as paychecks. Our focus was the value you get when you do business with IOF, and I think that’s what got Lloyd’s attention. As time passed and people began to hear about IOA, we grew and were able to expand into Alabama, California, Georgia, South Carolina, and many other states as well as do business with international clients.
When we look at IOA today, it is something that Valli and I couldn’t have dreamed of when we began. The reason IOA has been so successful is the lasting relationships, incredible people (partners & employees), and the value we have created for our clients in our devotion to making a better tomorrow.
When IOF started, it was located in half of a one-story, 3,000 sq. ft. building in Apopka, Florida. Today, IOA has over 50 office locations within the United States and London. The dream is no longer just ours, however. It’s a vision shared with over 1,000 employees globally. Reach out and learn more about IOA. We are excited to welcome more partners and clients into the IOA family as the organization continues to grow in the years to come.