For as long as he can remember, Garry Wilson has wanted to own an insurance agency. Particularly one he refers to as a “main street” agency.
Wilson remembers visiting one such agency in the early 1980s. “[It] had desks from 50 years previous to my visit and dark wood paneling on the walls,” he recalls. But most memorable was the agency’s reputation within the community. “Everyone in the agency was known in town, for doing excellent work, and for being very conservative in their approach to providing their services. They were a trusted part of our community,” Wilson says.
Garry L. Wilson, CIC, RHU,
He entered the insurance world at age 23, when he became the youngest Correspondent Named Underwriter for Lloyd’s of London. From there, he spent the better part of a decade working for wholesale and retail insurance agencies throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland.
In 1998, he launched a sole proprietorship. Over time, he became a Certified Insurance Counselor, Registered Health Underwriter and Certified PPACA Professional, and added human resources and employee benefits to his toolbox. He founded AmCareBenefits, LLC in 2004, to match clients with the best employee group health, dental, life and ancillary insurance plans to fit their organization’s needs.
AmCareBenefits has staunchly survived the Great Recession to become every bit the main street agency Wilson had hoped for (minus the wood paneling and the half-century-old desks). The company boasts strong community ties and long term, personal relationships with its clients and their employees. “Cultivating long, trusting relationships with our clients and their employees is a passion and life mission for me,” Wilson says.
Wilson reckons that AmCareBenefits is probably best known for its affinity for going above and beyond. “For instance, one of the things we do for all our clients is create an employee benefit packet,” says Wilson. Whether the company has two employees or 300, AmCareBenefits provides employee materials and conducts employee meetings, essentially acting as an extension of the client’s human resources department. “We make sure our clients and their employees have the best benefit information available,” Wilson says.
“We cover the entire market,” he continues. “There’s no company that we don’t represent, there’s no plan or coverage that we can’t offer.” Farms, builders, retail shops, CPA firms, technology companies, fitness clubs, printing companies, manufacturers, attorneys, local churches and auto dealerships all number among AmCareBenefits clients.
AmCareBenefits’ client roster continues to grow. “Quite a bit of the new business we receive is through referrals,” Wilson says, as well as the company’s community involvement. And in May of this year, AmCareBenefits acquired another insurance agency.
“We have relationships with every prominent insurance company within the region,” Wilson says. He takes pride in AmCareBenefits’ accessibility and advanced computer and security systems. “Things that 30 years ago would’ve taken us two or three weeks to do, we can literally do in about five minutes,” he says. Through its partnership with Zywave, AmCareBenefits is also able to provide the compliance, employee benefits and HR support and information found at the largest insurance agencies in the country.
Don’t expect the ability to keep up with the big boys to go to Wilson’s head though. “My desire [when starting AmCareBenefits] was to move away from national programs,” he says, “because although you’re known well nationally, you’re really not known for growing something in your local community, which is what I wanted to do.”
With experience in the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, on the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity Board, and filling in numerous roles within his church, Wilson knows a thing or two about contributing to the local community. AmCareBenefits is affiliated with numerous business associations and charity functions. “It’s our community relationships that really matter to me,” Wilson says.
That sense of community support drove Wilson to sit down with AmCareBenefits clients going out of business in the throes of the 2008 recession, to work through health insurance options for their employees going forward. “We couldn’t let the employees just be left out in the cold, so we partnered with the owners to be sure their employees had all of the information and help we could offer,” explains Wilson. “If you love people, this is a great business for you. Because you have lots of opportunities to help people.” I95 Content Marketing