Rick Gerety & Associates, Inc.
In 1996, Rick Gerety, president, Rick Gerety & Associates, Inc., an affiliate of Nationwide Insurance, was faced with a professional dilemma: either relocate his family to Oklahoma or change careers.
Wanting to maintain his roots in Harford County, he opted for the latter and found himself in the insurance business. Two years later, Gerety went out on his own, and today he and his four associate agents, along with three staff members, represent some 4,000 policy holders, providing pretty much every kind of insurance, including insurance for rental properties, contractors, restaurants, workers compensation, along with auto, homeowners, farm and life insurance. They also work with high-end homeowners, small business owners and families with teenage drivers. Pretty much the only insurance he does not offer is health care.
|Rick Gerety & Associates Inc.
406 N. Hickory Ave.
Bel Air, MD 21014
100 Custis Street
Aberdeen, MD 21001
Gerety attributes his success to more than just competitive rates. “For us it is about the people who work here,” he says. “More than once I have heard customers say, ‘Rick Gerety and his staff treat all of their customers like they are family.’
“While people can go online and get a rate for car insurance, for instance, they may not be able to get a real person on the phone or be guaranteed of working with the same person all the time. When you call one of our offices, you will get a live person on the phone every time, and not some annoying phone tree. Sometimes it is the little things that really matter.”
He adds that with his company, there is access to an agent 24 hours a day. “If there is an emergency in the middle of the night, I’ll be paged by our answering service … I have been paged in the middle of the night to help with difficult situations.”
Gerety notes that while purchasing insurance online may be convenient, it is not without risk. If one is not in the insurance business it can be very difficult to know what is the best option for his or her needs. For instance, he queries, how many people really understand the difference between limited liability and term life insurance? He, and his agents, are perfectly happy to educate customers about the business, and furthermore, he says, they care, are friendly and reliable and get the job done.
Today Gerety & Associates has two offices: one in Aberdeen and another in Bel Air. The Aberdeen office is managed by Cindy Dotson, and both she and Gerety have the distinction of being Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC). To attain that certification, one is required to complete five 20-hour classes, pass five examinations and take part in 20 hours each and every year of continuing education. It is a goal one would expect all agents would strive for, but Gerety notes, “some agents just don’t have the motivation to be the very best as we do.”
In 2012, Gerety was awarded the Regional Community Service Award, which recognizes agents who give back to the community through volunteerism, monetary donations, and/or participation on non-profit boards. “I think it is important to support the local schools and local charities in Harford County,” he notes.
“Good insurance agents are primarily concerned about getting the best value and the best service for their clients and not about the commission check,” he says, noting that he has agents who have been with him for 15 or so years. “When I am looking to hire someone, I focus on whether they will really care about their clients, whether they are honest and have integrity and are individuals who can multi-task.
“This business can be very stressful, and it is the little things that in the long run that make for a good agent and customer relationship.” I95