Company Updates

Latest Update

May Leadership Update

ASSUREX UPDATE Lynn Pettis and Tony Larson provided an update from the Assurex Private Client conference they attended in April. Through the conference, they were able to find a partner agency to assist with Florida placements, and resources available for difficult markets in California and Colorado.

Lynn & Tony will be sharing more specific and relevant information to the Personal Lines department.

This conference checked off two 2024 Initiatives! *Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Market & Customers category: Find new markets in hard-to-place locations (FL, CA, CO, WY, TX). *Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Products & Service category: _Assurex: Engage and utilize benchmarking groups, attend segment/department conferences to learn and build relationships with insurance agency thought leaders. _

Read more
Recent Company Updates
All Company Updates

May Leadership Update

ASSUREX UPDATE Lynn Pettis and Tony Larson provided an update from the Assurex Private Client conference they attended in April. Through the conference, they were able to find a partner agency to assist with Florida placements, and resources available for difficult markets in California and Colorado.

Lynn & Tony will be sharing more specific and relevant information to the Personal Lines department.

This conference checked off two 2024 Initiatives! *Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Market & Customers category: Find new markets in hard-to-place locations (FL, CA, CO, WY, TX). *Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Products & Service category: _Assurex: Engage and utilize benchmarking groups, attend segment/department conferences to learn and build relationships with insurance agency thought leaders. _

Read more

How to Read Your ESOP Statement

MOCK STATEMENT Are you going to receive your first statement on Wednesday or need a refresher on how to read it? Check out this knowledge center article: ESOP Mock Statement

Read more

April Leadership Update

Our goal is to recruit 6 or more producers a year. We reviewed the 3 producer hires this year. We have a few more producer candidates in the pipeline. We’re confident we’ll reach our 2024 goal by June. We are excited to have already welcomed these producers and apprentices in 2024: David Steenstra, Ralph Solis, and Mark Alt.


We’ll continue to explore candidates and remain opportunistic. As with every producer hire, we are carefully reviewing each candidate to ensure they fit with our service model and CG values.


*Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within People & Culture category:


We spent most of the Leadership Council meeting discussing the single-system project. We received an update on the Applied Epic exploration from our project leaders, Kyle Simmons, Sarina Khariwala and Linda Jackson.


*Spotlight on a 2024 Initiative within Operations category:


What we’re doing: Currently completing our due diligence before deciding. 

…If you’re still reading this, thank you. We’re open to feedback on these updates. Share your thoughts with anyone on Leadership Council. Are these hitting the mark? Are you wanting something else? Let us know. 

Read more

March Leadership Update

ASSUREX CONFERENCES Assurex hosted two conferences in March. Employee Benefits Leaders Conference was attended by Kelli Kaup and Eric Svobodny. The North America Leaders Conference was attended by Charlie Christensen.

Kelli, Eric and Charlie provided a recap of their learnings and a-ha moments from the conferences. Our biggest takeaways included:

  • Assurex is a network of talented individuals and agencies that are growth-focused and willing to share their expertise.
  • The conferences are limited to a small group of attendees, mostly from brokers. Conferences are focused on building connections and fostering relationships to call on when you need thought partners. Each person walked away with a few folks they’ll call on to talk about Operations, Sales, Technology, etc.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a continued hot topic. Some brokers shared how AI is creating workflow efficiencies and automating the manual work. A key point for us “AI won’t eliminate the broker. But brokers who don’t use AI will become eliminated.”

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within Products & Service category: Assurex: Engage and utilize benchmarking groups, attend segment/department conferences to learn and build relationships with insurance agency thought leaders.

What we’re doing: We will send 1-3 people to each Assurex conference. People are chosen based on their role and expertise. These folks will make connections with other Assurex leaders and identify opportunities for CG.

After each conference, they will report out their learning to the Leadership Council. This information will allow us to understand the best ways to engage with Assurex and ensure we’re reaping the benefits of this network.

10 YEAR VISION DOCUMENT & 2024 INITIATIVES We discussed our cadence to review the 2024 Initiatives progress, and Leadership Team owners for each initiative. You can expect to hear updates on department-specific initiatives during your all-department meetings (i.e. State of P&C, State of PLD, EB Department Meeting). In July, we’ll share overall updates at the State of CG.

RECOGNITION We mentioned at February’s State of CG that we were working on a Recognition program for all non-sales employees. We continued our work on this project and decided on a program that we’re excited about. There are a few details to coordinate before we can announce and launch. Expect news in April!

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within People & Culture category: Launch a Service Recognition Incentive (to align with Sales Growth/Recognition Incentives).

What we’re doing: Making something happen!

SYSTEM UPDATE We discussed general thoughts from the Applied Epic demos conducted earlier this month. We paused the conversation and review on the system until April. This allows our project leaders, Kyle Simmons, Sarina Khariwala and Linda Jackson time to roll-up all department feedback into a final proposal. We’ll discuss in April’s Leadership Meeting.

*The above topic aligns to a 2024 Initiative within Operations category: Go/No Go on single-system - 5/1. If "Go," select and begin implementation.

What we’re doing: Currently completing our due diligence before deciding.    

…If you’re still reading this, thank you. We’re open to feedback on these updates. Share your thoughts with anyone on Leadership Council. Are these hitting the mark? Are you wanting something else? Let us know. 

Read more

February Leadership Update


We discussed the kick off to the "Single System" project. Our goal is to have every department, save QP, all working from one system (CL, PL, EB, Producers, Accounting, Life). Qualified Plans (401k) will remain outside of the system to ensure their client data, which is highly regulated by the SEC, is outside of our system and domain. That said, we do plan to track which clients are 401(k) clients, so we can run better reporting and find cross-sell opportunities from this single system.

This initiative marks a significant step in our long term commitment to enhancing our operational efficiency and ensuring we have the best tools in place to support our work.

Over the next two months, we will be conducting an in-depth comparison of the systems offered by two leading companies in our industry: Vertafore and Applied. Our aim is to perform an "apples to apples" comparison of these platforms. This is a comprehensive evaluation to determine which system best meets the needs of our entire company.

The outcome of this project will play a crucial role in shaping our long-term operational capabilities and, ultimately, our success.


We reviewed a draft of our 10-year vision and the 2024 initiatives that were provided by managers and teams. Thanks for everyone who has shared ideas! We will be sharing the final copy of the document at our February 29 State of CG meeting.


We believe recognition is important to motivating individuals and rewarding our team for work well done. We talked about ways we could increase recognition across the company. We brainstormed ideas and decided to continue the conversation in the next month. 

Read more

January Leadership Update

PERSONAL LINES As a follow up to our December meeting, we discussed our approach with Personal Lines. As a reminder, Personal Lines clients are facing challenging times. There is less of an appetite from carriers to write new business. Carriers renewing business are giving major increases, if they decide to renew at all. Our Personal Lines team is staffed with amazingly talented folks. We have an opportunity to win business or plant seeds to win business in the future.   At a recent Sales Meeting, Tony Larson (Personal Lines Practice Leader) reiterated the market conditions and talked to producers about how they might set expectations with Personal Lines referrals. We are open to consulting and advising clients, however we need to understand most clients won’t have options to move now. We believe having consulting and advising conversations with prospective clients now, and then consistently following up when the market softens, is a smart long-term growth opportunity.

2024 STRATEGY PLANNING SESSION We hosted a session on January 22 with all managers (leaders of people) to discuss our 10-year vision for Christensen Group. It was an energizing day to hear ideas and what obstacles we may have to grow our business. On January 23, the Leadership Council met to refine and finalize the 10-year vision and 3-year goals.   Over the next 2 weeks, your manager will be connecting with your team to recap what we talked about and gather your ideas on 2024 initiatives/projects to tackle to assist in achieving the 10-year vision and 3-year goals.   We will host a State of CG in February or March and share the finalized 10-year vision, 3-year goals and 2024 Initiatives. We look forward to hearing from the team what ideas you have!

Read more

December Leadership Update

MN SAFE & SICK TIME We reviewed the additions to our PTO policy with the new MN law going into effect on January 1. We decided that all employees will receive the Safe & Sick time, even those who live in another state. Watch for an email from Alicia Williams in the coming weeks with what this means for you. 

PERSONAL LINES This is no surprise to the team – Personal Lines clients are facing challenging times. There is less of an appetite from carriers to write new business. Carriers renewing business are giving major increases, if they decide to renew at all. Our Personal Lines team is staffed with amazingly talented folks. We started discussing, what if we were to open our doors for more business. Ultimately, we decided this would be a better-suited conversation for the Personal Lines leadership group. The PLD leadership team (Lynn Pettis, Laura Falconer, Tony Larson, Charlie Christensen and Sam Olinger) will be discussing and coming back with a strategy and game plan.

P&C CARRIER APPRECIATION We discussed the P&C Carrier Appreciation event. It was a great success with high turnout from carriers and CG employees. We see the benefit from doing this event every year, because it strengthens our relationships with carriers and it’s a way to differentiate ourselves from other agencies. We explored if we should expand the event to Employee Benefits and 401k. Our initial thought was to host department specific events every year and come together for an All-Carrier event, once every 5 years. We decided to revisit this in the coming months.

2024 STRATEGY SESSION PLANNING & APPROACH Every 3-5 years we’ve done a deeper dive on our long-term vision. In 2024, its time for our leaders to gather to focus on the long-term view of our organization. It’s an exciting opportunity to pause and envision the future state of CG. One thing is for certain – protecting our team and culture will remain a priority for us.   This January we will bring together all managers and Leadership Council members to an offsite to discuss what’s ahead. As an outcome of this strategy session, all employees will receive updates on our long term vision and shorter term goals (2024 initiatives). This offsite will be held in late January and our launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan will be delayed. You can expect to hear more information at the State of CG in February or March. If you have any questions, please ask your manager, department leader or anyone on the Leadership Council.   Currently, leaders are filling out a pre-session survey to help us collect everyone’s input and insight to today’s realities and our future goals. 

Read more

December Leadership Update

MN Safe & Sick Time We reviewed the additions to our PTO policy with the new MN law going into effect on January 1. We decided that all employees will receive the Safe & Sick time, even those who live in another state. Watch for an email from Alicia Williams in the coming weeks with what this means for you.  

Personal Lines This is no surprise to the team – Personal Lines clients are facing challenging times. There is less of an appetite from carriers to write new business in MN. Carriers renewing business are giving major increases, if they decide to renew at all. Our Personal Lines team is staffed with amazingly talented folks. We started discussing, what if we were to open our doors for more business? Ultimately, we decided this would be a better-suited conversation for the Personal Lines leadership group. The PLD leadership team (Lynn Pettis, Laura Falconer, Tony Larson, Charlie Christensen and Sam Olinger) will be discussing and coming back with a strategy and game plan.   P&C Carrier Appreciation We discussed the P&C Carrier Appreciation event. It was a great success with high turnout from carriers and CG employees. We see the benefit from doing this event every year, because it strengthens our relationships with carriers and it’s a way to differentiate ourselves from other agencies. We explored if we should expand the event to Employee Benefits and 401k. Our initial thought was to host department specific events every year and come together for an All-Carrier event, once every 5 years. We decided to revisit this in the coming months.   2024 Strategy planning session & approach Every 3-5 years we’ve done a deeper dive on our long-term vision. In 2024, its time for our leaders to gather to focus on the long-term view of our organization. It’s an exciting opportunity to pause and envision the future state of CG. One thing is for certain – protecting our team and culture will remain a priority for us.   This January we will bring together all managers and Leadership Council members to an offsite to discuss what’s ahead. As an outcome of this strategy session, all employees will receive updates on our long term vision and shorter term goals (2024 initiatives). This offsite will be held in late January and our launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan will be delayed. You can expect to hear more information at the State of CG in February or March. If you have any questions, please ask your manager, department leader or anyone on the Leadership Council.   Currently, leaders are filling out a pre-session survey to help us collect everyone’s input and insight to today’s realities and our future goals. 

Read more

October Leadership Update

2024 STRATEGY SESSION AND APPROACH Every 3-5 years we’ve done a deeper dive on our long-term vision. In 2024, its time for our leaders to gather to focus on the long-term view of our organization. It’s an exciting opportunity to pause and envision the future state of CG. One thing is for certain – protecting our team and culture will remain a priority for us.   This January we will bring together all managers and Leadership Council members to an offsite to discuss what’s ahead. As an outcome of this strategy session, all employees will receive updates on our long term vision and shorter term goals (2024 initiatives). This offsite will be held in late January and our launch of the 2024 Strategic Plan will be delayed. You can expect to hear more information at the State of CG in February or March. If you have any questions, please ask your manager, department leader or anyone on the Leadership Council.   BEST PLACES TO WORK IN INSURANCE SURVEY RESULTS We reviewed the trends on our latest Best Places to Work in Insurance Survey. We reviewed the upward momentum in some places and discussed some areas where we strive to improve upon. We look forward to share some key points with you during the Fall Business Meeting.  

2024 HEALTH PLAN We discussed our plan for 2024 CG Medical Plan. We will share updates at the Fall Business Meeting. Heads up: Open Enrollment is mid-November for the 1/1/24 plan.   **2024 SALES GOALS ** Tyler Simmons, leader of Producer Council, provided an update on the 2024 Sales goals process. Going forward the sales team will have a larger focus on our CG sales velocity and how each individual contributes to this number. Sales velocity will be used as a common term in sales meetings and check-ins with producers on their personal goals.   Sales Velocity is a metric used by Reagan Consulting to compare an agency's new business against other firms and report it in the Best Practices Study. Expressed as a percentage, sales velocity is calculated by dividing the new business written in the current year by the prior year's commissions and fees. A strong sales velocity metric is 15%.

Read more

September Leadership Update

Assurex

Now, we can share more updates about this secret networking group we’ve been discussing over the summer. We’ve officially joined Assurex. We’re excited to continue our onboarding processes with the Assurex team.

We have been partnered with a Mentoring agency, DeFendis, to introduce our team to the resources now available. Our department leaders are currently learning and understanding the benefits. Each department leader will be sharing information in the coming months. Specifically in P&C, we’re thrilled to introduce our Segment leaders to practice groups (focused groups of sales/leaders in that industry) in the next few months.

We are still early in the process. We will share more as we know more.  

Personal Lines Update

We previewed the email message Bruce will be sending to all Personal Lines clients. All employees received a preview of the message on September 22. This is anticipated to be sent the first week of October.

2024 Health Plan

We discussed our initial plans for 2024 CG Medical Plan. Our final decisions will be made in the next 6-8 weeks. Heads up: Open Enrollment is mid-November for the 1/1/24 plan.

Read more

August Leadership Update

NETWORKING GROUPS
We continue to discuss how we are leveraging the knowledge and network of other large privately-owned independent agencies. Connecting with other strong privately-owned players can support us as we strive to win new business or retain business against the larger insurance brokers (like Marsh, Aon, Gallagher, etc.) We discussed what topics would be most beneficial for us to brainstorm and discuss with other key players. The topics included building out a Segment strategy, Systems, International Placement, AI, and automation.
 
Expect more updates in the coming months on this topic. 

Read more

June Leadership Meeting

Segmentation
As we continue to grow our segments, we are reviewing ways to network and learn from other agencies. We meet with a partner group that offers segmentation benchmarking and networking groups. We’re currently evaluating if we’d like to join this group.

Training & Development
Each department discussed how we support our team and individuals in their continued growth and development. We believe an employee should own, or drive, their own development. Meaning they should talk with their manager and discuss what’s important to them and what skills they’d like to grow in. We as leaders are here to support, guide and coach. Our Leadership Council conversation was intended to ensure we’re all accountable to creating this developmental-focused culture in all departments.  
 
What does this mean for you? If you haven’t talked with your manager recently about what you are learning or what you want to learn next, speak up. It’s mid-year time and a great time to revisit your 2023 Goals. You can always modify your goals to meet where you’re at now.

2024 Strategic Planning
We are starting to plan for 2024 and beyond. Every 3-5 years, we do a bigger refresh on our long-term vision. In early 2024, after we get through our busy fourth quarter, we’ll spend 1-2 days offsite focused on our long-term plans. This work comes together in our Annual Strategic Plan.

Read more

ESOP MOCK STATEMENT

It’s time for one of the best meetings of the year! On Wednesday night, following the meeting, all ESOP participants will electronically receive their 2022 ESOP statement. Expect this around 6pm.
 
Based on past ESOP Meeting Surveys, we noticed there’s an opportunity to better educate you on how to read your ESOP statement. You can find a mock statement here, and it outlines key parts of the statement.
 
Remember the ESOP Statements being delivered are for the 2022 ESOP Plan year.
 
Some of you won’t receive a statement. Here’s common reasons why:

  1. You entered the ESOP on January 1, 2023. You are an ESOP participant; however your first ESOP contribution will occur as of 12/31/2023. Your first account statement will arrive during the next ESOP Annual Meeting (in May 2024).
  2. You started at CG between January 1 2022- June 30, 2022. You aren’t yet in the ESOP plan. You will enter on July 1, 2023. We will host a “New Member Welcome Meeting” in July to share more information then. Your first ESOP contribution will occur as of 12/31/2023. Your first account statement will arrive during the next ESOP Annual Meeting (in May 2024).

 

Read more

DEI Resource - OVERCOME Anxiety, Stress & Negativity with Indigenous Knowledge

Tuesday, April 25th at 7pm EST. FREE workshop to help you feel more confident CONNECTING, HEALING, and GROWING with Indigenous culture.

This workshop is a MUST attend if
You often suffer from imposter syndrome with your Indigenous heritage, feeling detached, and misrepresented of who you really are.
You’re an ally of Indigenous peoples, seeking to listen, learn, and build connections in a respectful way that values and honors the all
You want to connect with others who are on the same journey as you to build supportive relationships based on positivity, inclusion, and like-minded values.

Sign up here: https://malloryrose.mykajabi.com/workshop
malloryrose.mykajabi.com

Read more

DEI Resources

Thank you all who attended the Power of Awareness Based Leadership & Decision Making sessions this week. Ramon Pastrano did a great job facilitating the event.
 
There is still time for anyone to join the April 10th virtual session. Encourage others who are on the fence to join for the last session.
 
I’d like to hear your feedback and suggestions for future topics. Please fill out this feedback survey. Your input will help shape future leadership and DEI courses we bring to the team.
 
Unconscious Bias Workshop resources and references:
 
Six Photographers
https://youtu.be/F-TyPfYMDK8
 
Blind Spots
https://youtu.be/BFcjfqmVah8
 
**IAT – Why/how it was created. **
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWa09tUzqf4
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr9xAcWv790
 
**IAT Assessment: **https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
 
Peanut Butter, Jelly & Racism
https://youtu.be/1JVN2qWSJF4
 
Google: Making the Unconscious Conscious
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW5s_-Nl3JE
 
**Trusted 10 Exercise: How diverse is your trusted network of people?: **https://tomorrowtodayglobal.com/2019/03/05/whose-in-your-top-ten/

Read more

DEI Progress Update

An update on our progress towards the 3 focus areas outlined in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) roadmap. As you may recall, these three focus areas were created through hearing employees’ ideas during Listening Sessions in 2020. The roadmap was developed to guide our efforts towards creating a move diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

Over the past few months, our Diversity Task Force has been hard at work defining next steps and implementing initiatives outlined in the roadmap. We have made significant strides in areas such as:

Have a more diverse candidate slate and hire the best, qualified candidates.

  • Designed a program for Women Interested in Sales. Hosted an overview session on International Women’s Day.
  • Created a Job Shadow Policy to host individuals interested in learning about a career in insurance. Why did we decide this was a good next step? You can read more on the DEI Page.
  • Reached out to 7 community colleges and universities career centers for a partnership.
  • Posting entry level jobs at 19 universities and community colleges, increasing our outreach by more than 50%.

Have an inclusive culture.

  • Hosted 5 CG Women’s Network events. Next event, April 5, Roundtable Event.
  • Added a cultural floating holiday to our company holidays.
  • Added pronouns (optional) to our signature templates.
  • Providing (optional) Unconscious Bias training for all employees, April 2023. Event Calendar.

** **
Next, we will focus on defining next steps in our third focus area: **Give back to organizations that support our diverse communities. **We encourage you to share ideas or suggestions directly with the Diversity Task Force or through this feedback channel.

Read more

Job Shadow Experience

During a recent Diversity Task Force Meeting, we discussed the hurdles to getting students interested in insurance.

We tried to partner with Career Centers at colleges to present at careers courses or to get in touch with the head of business departments, but quickly realized the career centers mostly limited us to posting our entry-level jobs on Handshake, a job posting site. We expanded where we posted jobs, but we wanted a better connection to students.

We wanted a way to create a more meaningful way to get someone excited about our career opportunities. We thought, a job shadow experience, could be a great way to expose individuals to the vast opportunities in insurance. Whether they pursue a role with us or at a carrier, it would be building the next-generation pipeline of insurance talent.

This is open to high school students, college students or any individual who is deciding to explore insurance roles.

We forged ahead to create a Job Shadow policy/best practice. We also added a simple application/interest form to weed out anyone not truly interested in exploring an insurance job. Such as students only interested in checking a box for a school requirement.

We then went a bit further and added a best practice for our current team to explore job shadows internally. Check that out too! Talk to your manager if you're interested.

So what? If you run into someone interested in a job shadow.
-Read up on the Job Shadow Policy to know what your role is in the progress. -Have them fill out the interest form.
-Get the job shadow experience approved by your manager.
-Don't forget to share names and information with HR if you think this person would be a good hire in the future.

Read more

March Leadership Update

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
We discussed an offsite for our Leadership Team. Every 3+ years we meet to discuss the long-term vision and strategy for our agency. The last exercise was in 2019, prior to the pandemic. One of the key decisions from that offsite was hiring a Digital Automation Director. With the hiring our Kyle Simmons, we’ve made huge strides in our internal automation and have ceased some outside partnerships that were a bottleneck to process and expensive to outsource the work. Our next Leadership Team offsite is tentatively scheduled for Summer 2023.
 
We also discussed the ongoing development of our Manager Group. Did you know we have 16 managers across CG? These managers meet every few months to focus on their development and brainstorm issues together. They also meet 1-2x a year for a Leadership Book Club. The next book is Start with Why, by Simon Sinek, which discusses the importance of “sharing the why” in communications to inspire action.
 
Managers also receive 1:1 development experiences such as attending Hanover Business School, attending leadership training sessions locally or nationally, and connect with HR quarterly for support and leadership coaching. 

Read more

February Leadership Update

CHAT GPT
Kyle Simmons joined for a group discussion about ChatGPT and the future of AI. While we believe AI won’t impact our business for a while, it does lead us to think about:

  • What are low-hanging opportunities to automate or reduce the mindless activities in our workflow?
  • If this were to integrate with our Microsoft systems (email, outlook, SharePoint), are we storing data and information to be easily accessible to use this technology?

 
Overall, no decisions were made on this topic. We will continue to talk as a leadership team and with our department leaders about the questions above. Kyle Simmons will continue to be a key partner with business units in conceptualizing ideas and creating solutions to increase operational efficiency.

JUNETEENTH
We discussed how we can observe Juneteenth at CG. This discussion is in response to the recent recognition of Juneteenth as a state and federal holiday. As a company, we believe in celebrating and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our business, and we are thrilled to announce an additional floating cultural holiday to our list of paid holidays. Watch for more information from Alicia Williams regarding this new paid holiday.

Read more

State of CG

If you missed the State of CG Meeting on 1/24/2023 at 9:00am, you can watch it here.

Recorded State of CG Meeting

Read more

November Leadership Update

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION (DEI)

We discussed interest in the Diversity Task Force. We have 7 employees who will actively shape our Diversity focus areas and action items in 2023. The Diversity Task Force will first meet on December 7 and will share updates with the Leadership Council.

SALES TEAM

We discussed how we can review books of business on an on-going basis. How can we ensure we’re serving our clients, taking on the right types of work, placing it in the right markets and not overburdening the team with noisy accounts.  This was a brainstorming topic and there will be more follow up directly with producers this idea.

STRATEGIC INIATITIVES

We asked each department leader to start drafting 2023 Strategic Plans. 2022 was a year of transformation, an acquisition and huge growth. We challenge our teams to think about how they can settle into the growth from the year and start to normalize the workload and find process efficiencies.

Read more

Fall Meeting Recording

The recording of our Fall Business meeting is ready for viewing.
As a reminder, we meet as a full company four times a year to provide updates on our business.

  • January - State of CG. We share initiatives for the year
  • May - ESOP Meeting to reveal the last year's share price
  • July - State of CG. We update on progress towards our initiatives
  • October - Fall Business Meeting. We preview year end results and discuss the employee experience (Benefits, Annual Review, Compensation philosophy).

Rewatch the Fall Meeting

Read more

October Leadership Update

Market Trends – Finding markets

It continues to be difficult to find markets and coverages for some clients. Hurricanes and wildfires, for example, are making placing coverage extremely tough for our Personal Lines teams. We discussed how we can support the team through this period of time.

In Personal Lines, we are hosting a Client Webinar on November 9th to discuss risks and coverage issues in Florida, Colorado, California and Texas. This will be a resource we proactively send to clients to prepare for higher renewal rates. You can sign up to listen here: https://mailchi.mp/c44cade502cf/personal-lines-market-trends-webinar

For all departments, as we are entering a hard market, please be sharing with your manager and producers any struggles you are having. We want to know what things are difficult and how we can help. We’re a team. Let’s come together and solve problems as a team to serve our clients and carrier partners.

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI)

We discussed a few options to continue on our cultural education. We’ll be sharing more during our Fall Business Meeting in anticipation for 2023.

Read more

September Leadership Update

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI)
Ross Dahlof, Bruce Christensen and Sam Olinger met with a local hospital Inclusion Officer to learn more about their DEI journey. We found some community partnerships and resources to continue on our journey.

  • We committed to learning and growing the diversity and inclusion acumen with CG, starting with the Leadership Council first. In October, we’re going to discuss trainings and self-learning options for our education.
  • A reminder to please join as we launch Christensen Group Women’s Network. Our first event is October 12, 9am. We’re excited to create a community of women in insurance and look forward to more events in the future.

Austin Recruiting
We have a focused effort recruiting producers in Austin, Texas. We brainstormed candidates and ways to make warm connections to top talent in the area.  

Read more

August Leadership Council Update

Diversity, Equity, and inclusion (DEI)
We reviewed the feedback from the DEI survey in June and discussed what other insurance agencies or companies are doing in the DEI Space. As a result of the conversation, we were committed to two things.

  • Complete more research and meet with other local businesses to understand their DEI journey and ideas for our plans.
  • Launch the Christensen Group Women’s Network. Our first event is October 12, 9am. We’re excited to create a community of women in insurance and look forward to more events in the future.

Technology Strategy
We are making progress on the Technology journey. We have migrated to Office 365 and rolled out multi-factor authentication. Next up, will be moving to OneDrive and SharePoint.

Read more

CG IT Update, August 2022

We are continuing to focus on making technology changes to fundamentally improve our ability to work more efficiently and collaboratively with our customers, our carriers, and each other.
 
Email and Public Folders to Office 365 (Completed)
This was a key step to preparing for laptops.
 
Multi-Factor Authentication (Completed)
We are now more protected against cyber threats.
 
H:\ drive to OneDrive (Starting in August)
We will be migrating all personal files to OneDrive. This will allow us to access our personal files more easily. More to come…
 
Shared drives to SharePoint/Teams
We will be migrating our shared drives to SharePoint; moving away from traditional files shares to make our data more accessible while still maintaining security of our data.

Laptops
When will I get a laptop?
Good question. The laptop project is dependent on all the changes above, but we are working to make these changes happen quickly. Our goal is to deploy laptops in January 2023.
 
Support
We want to hear from you. We want to help you. We want to provide the technology to make your job better. If you have an issue, please submit a ticket to Back. As you can see, we are resolving issues effectively though Back.
 
We appreciate your patience as we work to create a better experience.

Read more

July Leadership Council Update

tough markets

Florida and California continue to be difficult markets to place business in. We discussed various ways we can help our clients mitigate risk due to climate change. While we can’t control the weather, we can control our touchpoints with our clients. Our goal is to educate our clients and maintain their trust as their insurance advisor.

We discussed different client communication methods(webinar, videos, email blast) to share risk mitigating strategies and help them understand what’s occurring in the market place.

TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

We are making progress on the Office 365 conversion. The first big step in moving closer to laptops. During State of CG on July 25, we’ll share more updates on the progress towards laptops.
Read more

June Leadership Council Update

TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

Hal Balfour joined and provided an update on technology initiatives. There are several phases before reaching laptops, and we are on the right path forward with our technology vendors. The IT department will be sharing a bigger update in the coming weeks. Including when we expect laptops in your hands!

Diversity, Equity& Inclusion

We discussed our DE&I plan and journey so far. As a result, we felt it was time to email employees sharing our DE&I plan and ask for their input on DE&I Focus areas and progress towards the goals. Watch the for email coming later in June.

Read more

Producer Council Update

As a reminder, the Producer Council exists to protect producer interests that we feel define us in comparison to other agencies/brokers. The council will continue to meet monthly and as needed with the additional purposes of:

  • Developing, maintaining and improving our Sales Culture
  • Sales Management including talent evaluation and development
  • Producer advocacy/representation to agency management
  • Planning of monthly sales meetings and annual sales summit
  • Review board in the event of an inter-producer dispute

 
While there are no “term limits” to a seat on the council, we will cycle on/off or add/remove seats as deemed appropriate and we do have some changes to announce. 
 
I’d like to thank Will Steinke for giving 10+ years of his time representing the Employee Benefits sales team. He’s played a primary role in the Salesforce integration, Accountability Groups and is everyone’s favorite organizer of the Producer Breakfast. He’s graciously volunteered to continue on with some of those responsibilities. Thank you, Will! 
 
Transitioning on to the Council in the Employee Benefits seat, I’d like to welcome Adam Wynia. Adam has demonstrated his ability to originate business at a high level and brings a fresh perspective to how we are building our culture.
 
In addition, we are adding a seat to the Council and welcome Ali Bowers. Ali has proven herself competent, successful and we are looking forward to her perspective moving forward. 
 
Our goal is to provide transparency into our discussion topics and we post the monthly meeting agenda to the CG Connect website. If anyone has any questions, please see me or anyone on the council.

Read more

May Leadership Council Update

Culture

We discussed our thoughts on a podcast/article on “How Toxic Cultures are Driving the Great Resignation.” It was based on data collected and quantified from Glassdoor reviews. It’s worth the listen, Full Podcast (1 hour, 9 min), or use the Quick Read Version (12 minutes). While we have a great culture, it comes from continuing to assess how we’re doing and how we can continue to make Christensen Group a great place to work.

A few ideas came from our conversation including:

-   Sharing Top Producers of the Year at the end of each year. This recognizes our top producers and helps all employees know how we’re doing in sales goals.
-   Hosting ‘Idea Day’ type sessions across our organization. Stacy Bury hosts “Idea Days” in Commercial Lines and it’s a great way to spark new ways of thinking and improve our processes. We’ll be following up with Stacy on this idea (pun intended).

Let us know if you read the article or listen to the podcast. Share any ideas or inspiration with anyone on the Leadership Council or your direct manager.

TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

Discussed the current state of technology initiatives. Right now, we are partnering with our vendor to migrate to Office 365. This is the first step inmoving towards laptops. We do not have a set date for laptop deployments. We will share more as soon as we can.

Reagan Summit 2022

Charlie attended the Reagan Summit 2022 where insurance leaders from across the nation gathered. Charlie recapped the conference highlights including insurance trends and a forward look on the economy. We felt validated we are focusing on the right recruiting tactics, processes improvements and are forging ahead in new geographies with positive economic growth.

Read more

April Leadership Council Update

market conditions & regulatory changes

We had an open discussion around the changing environment and how it impacts our business and clients. From high-inflation to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, we were open about what pressures this puts on our business, client expectations and our staff. We will be staying close to these topics in support of our team and clients.



TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY

Provided an update the technology roadmap and what large initiatives are underway. We’ve listened to employee feedback, and believe our user and client experience will be enhanced by moving away from thin clients…and providing every employee with a laptop. In addition to modernizing our equipment and performance - this will enable more seamless communication with each other and clients - through cameras, microphones. Additionally, we will be moving to Office 365 with some file storage in the cloud.

These are foundational shifts in the way CG approaches technology - and a successful laptop deployment will require several major upgrades to our  existing infrastructure. While this will not be a quick thing, we are      targeting this upgrade later in 2022 — a tentative date will be shared as  soon as we are able. We’ll also be cognizant of workloads and seasonal  busy times.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY

Discussed the recent downtime at one of our carrier partners, West Bend. West Bend had a situation where they were unable to operate for days. Thankfully, West Bend did have a system to communicate with all their agent partners and clients. We discussed how we would handle a similar situation. What if we had a total downtime in a system and it impacted our ability to serve our clients?

We created a plan to make a master client contact list within one tool. Having a centralized list would enable us to quickly communicate with all clients or clients by department should Christensen Group experience a full outage.

Read more

March Leadership Council Update

AUSTIN MARKET

Provided an update on Hayden Fuchs joining CG on March 15. We now have 3 producers in Austin, Texas. Micha Salas & Nick Hartmann focused in Commercial Lines and Hayden focused on Private Client, Personal Lines.



PRODUCER ONBOARDING

Discussed the onboarding processes to train our new members to the Sales team. We have made progress on onboarding plans and adding in a mentor (Producer Spirit Guide) to help teach CG processes and culture. Currently we have 8 mentors helping producers who have started in the last 2 years.



FOSTER-WHITE ACQUISTION

Discussed the timing for acquiring the Foster-White business and adding 22 new employees to our CG team. We announced this exciting news to all employees on March 10.

Read more

February Leadership Council Update

TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES

Discussed the WebEx phone roll out and some outstanding issues. We shared a phone survey would go out soon, collecting users' preferences on a soft phone or physical phone. We discussed options for a Conference Now replacement, and we ultimately decided to upgrade to Microsoft Team conferencing.



2022 SALES GOALS

Tyler Simmons, Producer Council Leader, provided an update on our overall new business goals for 2022. In case you didn't know, all producers submit their personal new business goals through Salesforce. Each monthly sales meeting, the sales teams gets an update on new business growth and how we are trending towards the goal.



RETURN TO THE OFFICE

Discussed any outstanding questions the team had about returning to the office and how to maintain a level of flexibility in our culture. As a follow-up, Sam Olinger sent an all-company email with clarifying points in mid-February.
Read more

January Leadership Council Update

2022 INITIATIVES

We are excited to share updates on our 2022 Strategic Plan during the State of CG on February 3rd at 9:30am. We look forward to the Q&A portion of our discussion. Let us know via the webinar chat if you have any questions.



You must register and add this to your calendar. A recording of the meeting will be in the CG 360 on 2/7.



Register here:





Read more