Insurance can be breathtaking.
Just ask Glenn E. “Jack” Martin Jr., president of Glenn E. Martin Insurance, about the policy he wrote in 1981 for an Old Louisville building that was being rehabbed.
“The owner had no insurance on it for the previous 60 days because he was putting the financing together,” he said. “Within hours after he signed the insurance contract, there were manhole covers flying through his windows. He called me before dawn – ‘The sewers just blew up! You’ve got to come down here!’ ”
Jack arrived before city officials closed off the area. They discovered that hexane, a solvent used to process soybeans, had been released into the sewers and accidentally ignited, rupturing two miles of pipes.
Fortunately, the client was covered, although the agency hadn’t had time to send the paperwork to the company that issued the policy.
Jack first learned about insurance from his father, Glenn Martin Sr., who owned an earlier agency. In May 1976, Jack joined the business, along with his friend, Judd M. Norris, who married Jack’s sister, Mary, and is the agency’s vice president.
“We were Dad’s employees for years, then we bought the agency and he became our employee for a while,” Jack said. “He was a hard worker, a good insurance person, and he had a great reputation. We’ve always wanted to carry that tradition forward, and we think we have.”
The agency’s bread-and-butter is home, business, life and health insurance. As independent agents, they represent more than 50 insurance companies, including The Hartford, Safeco, Auto-Owners Insurance, Ohio Casualty and Progressive.
“We’re pretty much a one-stop shop. We aren’t locked into one company, so we can compare them for the best rate,” Judd said. “GEICO spends millions on advertising; I enjoy their commercials, but we beat them all the time. It’s smarter to work with someone local who can give a better price and better service.”
The agency, which has ranked high among its state and national peers, has six full-time agents. Many of their clients bought policies from Jack’s father decades ago, and have remained with the agency ever since. Thirty-five years of experience have enabled Judd and Jack to build an extensive network of roofers, plumbers and other service businesses that can help their clients.
“An insurance policy is just a piece of paper until you need to file a claim,” Judd said. “Our industry is full of ‘four-letter words’ such as fire, rain, wind and hail. A woman just called to check on her flood policy because water was two feet from her door. We’re on call, in effect, 24 hours a day. That’s service you can’t get from someone a thousand miles away who answers an 800 number.”
The agency expects “Obamacare” to present many challenges to insurance carriers and agents, as well as the public, in the coming months and years.
“Some people think that they will be able to call a number or go on the Internet and everything will be solved, but that’s a misconception,” Jack said. “We’ll be working with our clients and our companies to make sure that our standards of service are upheld. Judd and I were rookies back in the 1970s, following on Dad’s coattails. But now, we’re seasoned veterans, so we’ll be ready for whatever is next.”
Glenn E. Martin Insurance is located at 10226 Shelbyville Road. For information, visit www.gemins.net or call 502.245.8870.
Category: Business Profile