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“HAVING A TRUE PARTNER RELATIONSHIP IS REALLY VALUABLE.”

Denise Quintanilla
Dallas, Texas
VP of Human Resources, Trintech

Trintech is a global tech company based in Dallas that offers record-to-report software to more than 700 clients across 100 countries, including half of the Fortune 50 companies and the FTSE 100. Its impressive roster of clients includes Google, Intel and Walmart.

The company’s VP of Human Resources, Denise Quintanilla, manages benefits for roughly 200 employees. A year into the job, she’s focused on offering compelling benefits that give employees peace of mind, while receiving good coverage at competitive rates. To this end, an immediate priority for Quintanilla after accepting the position was to transfer Trintech to IMA.

“I’ve always known that having a good insurance solutions partner was critical to being able to provide the best benefits to employees,” says Quintanilla. “IMA’s benefits far outweighed the traditional broker—IMA brought more to the table.”

Quintanilla was familiar with IMA. She brought to her new position an established relationship with two of its producers, Leisha and Robin, whom she’s continued to work closely with to create a competitive benefits package and establish valuable employee wellness programs. She says the pair is a strong team that makes Trintech look better to employees—an intangible that’s not always easy to achieve but pays off in spades.

The trio has worked together to implement a host of programs in the past year. One example occurred during open enrollment last year—when Trintech was renewing with vendors, Robin and Leisha worked diligently beginning in October to get a flex spending vendor that could be implemented by January 1.

With IMA’s help, Trintech also brought in Compass, an employee advocate program that allows employees to call for help with medical bill review, coordination of care, doctor referrals and to answer general medical benefits.

“By providing competitive benefits, employees can focus on day-to-day productivity rather than worrying. Compass has been especially helpful in creating employee peace of mind,” says Quintanilla.

Perhaps more importantly, IMA and its producers have helped equip Trintech with a solid employee benefits package. “If you don’t do benefits well, it creates a lot of issues in your company,” she says. “Having good coverage at a competitive rate helps attract and retain talent.”

Trintech utilizes various IMA products including ThinkHR, wellness program, medical, dental and vision, and a 401K plan through TrueNorth. When Quintanilla came on board, she had a few roadblocks to overcome: some high claims as well as a poor experience rating. She credits Leisha and Robin for working around these hurdles and getting the best benefits for employees.

“Having a true partner relationship is really valuable,” emphasizes Quintanilla. “IMA always has the employees and company’s best interest at heart.”

“WHEN THE IMA TEAM COMES BY THE OFFICE IT FEELS MORE LIKE A FAMILY MEMBER COMING TO VISIT.”

Jim Johnson
Colorado Springs, Colorado
President & CEO, GE Johnson Construction Company

Jim Johnson was raised to always give back. And as president and CEO of one of the most sought after commercial construction companies in the Rocky Mountains, he does just that. Jim runs GE Johnson, now entering its 48th year.

The company was founded in Colorado by his father, Gil Johnson, in 1967, and started expanding into neighboring states in the '70s. Jim took over the company in 1997, and today it’s become a regional and national force in the building industry.

GE Johnson’s approach is to provide the most innovative solutions to the complexities of the build environment. Bringing together a diverse pool of specialized project teams allows him to provide expedited construction services to some of the most challenging and remote locales in the United States, from -30 degree climates to “zero lot line” urban project sites.

But the path to success wasn’t always smooth. After his dad died in 2000, the firm had a lot going on, and the surety world was not an area he understood well. Jim’s IMA producer, Sarah, took the time to look at the long-term goals and strategies — “She was a tremendous coach” — and he doesn’t believe other brokers would have done that.

IMA doesn’t offer cookie cutter solutions. Every client is different, thus, every solution is different. Jim got to test that firsthand. “IMA helped us understand what we were paying for and how to have more control. IMA pushed us to look at our risk and how to manage it, versus operating in fear of what other people were claiming were our risks.”

For instance, when the market had its downturn, GE Johnson did not compromise to get by. In fact, they remained profitable and came through stronger. When all the advice was to become a military contractor, the company took a step back and didn’t rush into something that wasn’t comfortable for them. And while it was difficult at times, because they weren’t sure where they were headed, they focused on what they did well. They even committed to growing and fostering the culture of the company, sometimes at the expense of the bottom line.

GE Johnson is employee owned. And while Jim is the majority shareholder, there are 60 other active employees who are also shareholders. They are all committed to building trusting relationships with their project partners. Eighty-five percent of their work program is for existing client partners, a testament to their relationship-based culture.

Jim makes it a point to invest in the communities in which GE Johnson works. Through the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, GE Johnson works to balance employee needs, sustainability issues and community concerns, all while providing a work environment that allows employees to meet both their personal and professional goals.

Today, GE Johnson boasts $6 billion in completed projects ranging from $10,000 to more than $240 million, 90%+ of which comes from repeat clients. As for the future, Jim sees GE Johnson expanding into a few more states growing and diversifying with purpose. And he plans to consult with IMA every step of the way: “IMA has been a resource for us in introducing us to and helping us understand the new insurance risks in different markets.”

“YOU WALK INTO A COMPANY THAT HAS A GREAT CULTURE, AND YOU CAN FEEL IT. IT’S JUST DIFFERENT.”

Kurt Watson
Wichita, Kansas
IMA President & Chief Operating Officer

Kurt Watson was intrigued by IMA’s business model. “I wanted to be part of a company where I could sit at a table with people and have a part in strategic direction and performance outcome,” says Watson. So he joined IMA in July of 1996, after a 23-year career in banking.

When it comes to the communities in which IMA does business, Kurt is clear: “The greatest gift that any of us can give is the gift of our time and resources to those who are not as fortunate. I’m proud to say that we stand for that at IMA. We’ve been blessed individually and collectively, and it’s of critical importance that we give back to those who haven’t been as fortunate as we have.”

Kurt credits IMA’s success to its employees. “You walk into a company that has a great culture, and you can feel it. It’s just different. The people seem more committed. They smile more. They walk a little faster.” Kurt says these are the kinds of things that IMA creates. “I’ve not experienced it anywhere else to this magnitude. It’s alive and well in this company, and I’m very proud of that.”

Watson says the challenge for IMA is how to adapt to an industry that has roots in the concept of price-based coverage while utilizing a more sophisticated model in which service is as important as the product itself. “Our clients have become more sophisticated—they want more,” he says. “They want advice, counsel. They are willing to engage people who can provide those critical relationship services.”

Watson is proud of IMA’s ability to attract and retain outstanding insurance professionals who are making a difference with their clients. “We’ve separated ourselves from our competitors with our people, and the additional services we provide. That resonates with clients, and they feel something different with IMA.” Kurt maintains that clients need the business acumen IMA provides, adding a different spin and depth to the relationship. “That is the single biggest reason for IMA’s growth. Our services are valued, and we take great pride in the delivery of those services.”

“WE’VE GONE FROM A FEW GUYS LAYING ASPHALT TO ABOUT 1,500 EMPLOYEES.”

Mandy Thompson
St. Joseph, Missouri
Director of Employee Development & Benefits, Herzog Contracting Corporation

Herzog might have started as an asphalt company in the ‘60s, but it has grown into a diverse company that builds superhighways, lays railroad tracks and, in some cases, even runs transit systems on those tracks. Today it employs 1,500 people in a diverse range of positions, including project managers, field engineers and thermite welders.

Mandy has worked with IMA since she started just over a year ago. “Having an insurance partner is very valuable,” she emphasizes. “When we went self insured, we knew that we would need someone else to assist with the management of components of the program.”

Herzog employees feel better knowing they have information when they need it. “It’s so good to have IMA to do the difficult work and come to our employees with our professional recommendations.”

While Herzog is a complex organization and issues often arise, healthcare reform has been an ongoing topic. IMA has worked hard to provide various tools and resources to explain all the options, including conducting an in-house briefing.

Staff have weekly calls with the IMA team. “It’s been great to have another set of eyes,” says Mandy, who went on to praise her IMA account rep, Cheyenne Mackin. “She’s talked to people when they don’t have the time or the right knowledge. She’s been really helpful.”

“THERE IS VERY LITTLE THAT WE CAN’T GET DONE FOR OUR CLIENTS.”

Rob Cohen
Denver, Colorado
IMA Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

When you graduate from college with two bachelor’s degrees, one in finance and the other in risk management, you’re clearly destined for a career in insurance. And Rob Cohen did not disappoint. In 1986, after working at other companies, he joined IMA’s Wichita office and, a few years later, relocated to Denver to establish IMA of Colorado.

Rob wants his clients to know one thing about IMA — it’s a company that can deliver and actually do what it says. As Rob puts it, “We’re problem solvers and there’s no problem we can’t tackle. If you hire really talented people, you give them resources and tools to do their job, treat them like adults and let them make decisions, they will blow you away with their capabilities.”

It’s IMA’s people that set it apart, insists Rob. “When you look at the industry, most all of us have the same access to carriers. We offer many of the same products and services, but when you peel back the onion to find out what truly differentiates companies, it’s about their culture, their people, their processes. I think we’re authentic to who we are.”

He also credits the employee/ownership model as a big part of IMA’s success. “Our associates all own this company, and therefore they treat it differently. There is benefit to that. It ensures our ability to remain independent.”

Rob is excited on many fronts as he looks to the future. “This company is positioned in a way that there are no limits—the organizational structure, the talent here, our reputation in the industry. There is very little that we can’t get done for our clients.”

But as dedicated as Rob is to IMA, he is equally dedicated to the community in which he lives and does business. He serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the I Have a Dream Foundation, VISIT Denver, and the Metro Denver Sports Commission. “If you want to be a part of the community, and if you’re willing to give, you’ll get so much more back in return.”

Rob insists IMA doesn’t give to get, but out of the desire to make the community better. “I think the reason some of the people are at IMA is because of the IMA Foundation and community involvement. We’re part of something that is bigger than each one of us and that will still be here after we’re gone.”

“IT USED TO BE EASY, NOW EVERYONE IS CHASING NEW MARKETS AND SERVICES.”

Rod Young
Wichita, Kansas
President & Chief Executive Officer, Professional Engineering Consultants

Rod Young knows a little about hard work paying off. The K State graduate with a degree in civil engineering joined Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) 19 years ago and worked his way from project engineer/manager to municipal division manager to board member and, finally, to president. PEC is a multiple discipline engineering firm specializing in…well… just about everything. You need a highway? They can build that. Airport hanger? Coming right up. Wastewater treatment facility? No problem.

When Rod became president in 2008, he was looking at becoming more efficient and was not satisfied with PEC’s current broker. After looking around, he landed on IMA. “They brought in a whole team, and it was a different level of service,” he says. “There were more specialists on their team, they were easy to communicate with, I trusted them.”

IMA came in and identified things that PEC should have been doing for decades. IMA was able to reduce the price of PEC’s professional liability, provide more effective risk management, and offer better, and more prompt, service in general. According to Rod, “It’s been a blessing.”

Rod is still proudest of how PEC was prepared for the recession. Upper management implemented business development training, sending 55 leaders through a five-month course. According to Rod, the majority of them ate it up, and it’s paid off big dividends for the company ever since. “For a company to be successful, Business Development has to be done by everybody,” Rod says. “It used to be easy, now everyone is chasing new markets and services.” As for the future, PEC has a corporate strategic plan in place and is always looking at new services, markets and trends.

PEC uses IMA a lot. “It’s great to have a one-stop shop,” says Rod. “Our producer, Pete, makes sure we pull in the resources we need.” IMA provides specialists for every aspect of PEC’s business, including safety plans, general liability and auto insurance. And Rod says there are no regrets with the move to IMA. “When you make a change, you’re always concerned, but we had nothing to worry about.”

“IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO WHAT MAKES SENSE FOR THE CLIENT. IS IT THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY? IS THE RISK WORTH THE REWARD?”

Sarah Finn
Denver, Colorado
IMA Surety Practice Leader

Sarah Finn has never met a surety problem she didn’t welcome. The tougher, the better. And when you have a mind that’s built to dissect the most complex of problems, why not?

When Sarah arrived at IMA in 2000, she didn’t just become part of the team, she became part of the family.  And, it wasn’t long before some of her former clients followed. In fact, people seek Sarah out everywhere she goes. Like the parent at her daughter’s school who asked for advice on a bond issue his company was having. After he explained the problem, Sarah’s response was short: “Well, I can't make it any worse.” She went on to create a unique product for him and solved the company’s problem. That company later became an IMA client.

Joining IMA allowed Sarah the opportunity to do things differently. Using the creativity and experience she gained in the surety arena over 25 years, Sarah was able to bring a fresh approach to solving business and risk management challenges. “I knew I was coming to a company that encouraged associates to focus on what was best for the client. Coming to IMA made sense to me. Our values aligned very well.”

Sarah’s clients love her because she is relentless. She looks at the big picture from a business perspective. Sarah claims it’s actually rather simple. “It all boils down to what makes sense for the client. Is this the right opportunity? Is the risk worth the reward? Does it meet the client’s business objectives?” It’s all part of the process, and it’s something Sarah focuses on daily.

She believes in doing what is right for the client, every time. That mantra has served Sarah and the IMA team well over the years, and has earned many a client’s loyalty. “Going above and beyond…it’s what we’re about.”

Sarah believes there is a balance between success and how it’s achieved. “Success isn’t achieved by just one person. It takes a group of talented people working together, playing to each other’s strengths, and working towards the same goal. It’s about the people, and it’s about having fun along the way. We’re lucky, and we want everyone to appreciate what we have here at IMA. It’s pretty special.”

“IT’S VERY POSSIBLE WE’RE JUST SCRATCHING THE SURFACE OF WHAT WE CAN BE AT IMA.”

Bob Reiter
Denver, Colorado
President of IMA, Inc.

After starting his insurance career in the early eighties, Bob Reiter joined the IMA team in 1995 as Vice President of Commercial Lines. In 2000, he became president of IMA’s Colorado office and in 2008 was also named president of IMA, Inc. Bob refers to his ascent as the “Accidental President.” Instead of planning everything out with a timeline, he followed a few fundamental business ideas that he got from his dad and let them guide his career. Bob claims it was a philosophical journey. “Treat your customers well, work hard, have some aptitude and apply basic fundamentals — it will take you where you can distinguish yourself.”

Being a part of building IMA’s Colorado operation is a great source of pride to Bob. “It is so hard to build a company from scratch,” Bob reflects. “Rob [Cohen] got things started, and I got in at the ground level and was able to make real contributions to help change and grow it to where it is today. It’s hard to look back at those early days and relate it to where we are now, because it’s so different.”

“For all that we’ve done to this point, it’s very possible we’re just scratching the surface of what we can be at IMA,” says Bob. “It’s applying our unique industry model to see where it leads us. It will most likely lead somewhere very special. Our employee ownership structure is truly different, and we’ve done a nice job of creating who we are, what we are and how we act.”

Going above and beyond for clients is IMA’s mission. Even if that means finding coverage for customers by creating custom products to meet their specific needs. Bob insists, “It’s a people business. Being a service industry, nothing could be more important that the interface we have with our professionals and our customers. It’s number one.” Bob insists nothing happens without successful relationships. And it starts with IMA’s producers and account executives.

As former chairman of the board of Warren Village, a nonprofit organization serving single-parent families, Bob is drawn to investing time back into the community. So when IMA employees wanted to be involved in their community, Bob helped direct their request into action and started the Denver Community Action Committee, an employee-led volunteer team. The CAC has spearheaded such sustainable employee volunteer activities as weekly tutoring for more than seven years at Bryant-Webster Elementary School and delivery teams for Meals on Wheels. Similarly, Bob’s IMA family of employees in Kansas helped victims of the tornados that hit Joplin, Mo., and Moore, Okla., proving that the desire to lend a helping hand is company-wide at IMA.

Proactive. Innovative. Creative. Whether it’s a wildfire, flood or any other crisis, whatever needs to be done to take care of the client is IMA’s way.

“I’VE NEVER HAD TO SPEND TIME FIGHTING OR NEGOTIATING. SIGNATURE SELECT IS ALWAYS RIGHT THERE FOR US.”

Susie Grier
Wichita, Kansas
Mom & Matriarch

Throughout the decades, Susie Grier and her family have dealt with some common household disasters — flood damage, hail damage — as well as some uncommon ones, such as their homes being struck by lightning, twice. And when your home’s been struck by lightning twice, it’s kind of important to have a good insurance agent.

Susie has been working with Gracellen Donnelley, a private client executive with Signature Select, for years. “I never dreamed that when lightning strikes your chimney, you’d lose all your electronics,” says Susie. “But thanks to Gracellen, we had the right insurance to cover everything.”

Gracellen has helped Susie insure two homes, cars and a recent move. “We sold our house of 30 years and moved into a hotel for six months until we finished building our new home,” Susie says. “We had our belongings spread out between storage space, our hotel and even in the basement of one of our businesses. Signature Select had to make sure that all these things were covered. We could have never done that on our own.”

Susie recalls one time in particular that Gracellen went above and beyond. “We found out that a refrigerator pipe burst, flooding our basement while we were out of state,” she says. “I made one call to Gracellen, and by the time we got home, she had arranged to get the basement dried out and all our stuff sorted to help us determine what to keep, replace or get rid of.”

Signature Select has always been an advocate for the Grier family, Susie says. “I’ve never had to spend time fighting or negotiating. Signature Select is always right there for us. I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated that over the years.” She continues, “Sure, you can call around and get the cheapest quotes, but I’ve always said that unless you have someone inside the industry who understands how insurance works, you can’t possibly know what all your choices are, and if what you are buying is what you really need.”

The bottom line, according to Susie, is that you need to use someone you trust. “When you’re in the middle of a catastrophic situation, it’s not the best time to have the discussion about why certain things aren’t covered. Thankfully, I’ve never had to do that with Gracellen — she is right there handling it. There’s no dawdling with Signature Select.”

“INDIVIDUALS ARE BUYING INSURANCE THAT THEY DON’T NEED.”

Luke Proctor
Wichita, Kansas
Chief Financial Officer, IMA Financial Group

Chief Financial Officer President Luke Proctor got his start within the walls of IMA, and soon identified a need people had when it came to insurance.

“So many people are buying directly from an insurance company, which typically only has one type of product,” Luke explained. “Individuals are buying insurance that they don’t need.”

Luke was so passionate about solving this problem, he led an exploratory team to find a solution, put together a plan, and then worked with IMA executives to launch a specific business to address these issues. Signature Select, LLC was born and Luke became its president.

“What we do uniquely well is offer a variety of insurance options that join better with someone’s specific assets,” Luke said. “Because of our relationships with insurance companies, we can provide greater selection and offer advice on which plan works best, based on their needs.”

That clients continue to work with Signature Select year after year is something Luke is proud of. “It’s a tribute to our service team’s knowledge and responsiveness, and our ability to find solutions for our clients.”

Luke’s passion for problem solving carries through to his team. “We have people that really take pride in protecting their client’s livelihood,” he emphasized. “It’s not about just getting the work done, it’s about making it better than before we touched it.”

Proctor insists that while Signature Select provides personal and small business insurance solutions, it’s “more of a place where we can help solve problems, because that’s really what we get excited about — getting to know our clients and discovering how to best give them peace of mind.”

“I DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT INSURANCE BECAUSE I KNOW IT’S TAKEN CARE OF.”

Mark Moore
Signature Select - Small Business lines

When Mark Moore started Edifice Builders in 2010, he was bravely taking the plunge by launching a company in a shaky economy. “It was time to do it now or stop thinking about it,” he said. “So I just decided to go for it.”

A new business owner has plenty to worry about, and Mark came across Signature Select when looking for someone to help with his specific needs as a commercial general contractor.

With insurance needs ranging from general liability to an umbrella policy to fleet coverage, Mark said working with Signature Select allows him to go home at night and not worry about how things are handled. “I don’t have to think about insurance,” he emphasized, “because I know it’s taken care of.”

Edifice’s bonding needs are provided by Signature Select’s sister company, IMA.

“It’s important to have the right coverage based on each building owner’s specific requirements,” Mark said. “Howard Koehler with Signature Select was able to do that for us.”

Edifice provides tenant finish in high-rise buildings, as well as restaurants, retail, medical, education, light industrial and secured facilities.

The growth of Edifice Builders has been exciting over the past few years, and Signature Select and IMA have been able to support the company’s expansion.

“We’ve grown so much,” Mark said. “We have been very fortunate, and Howard has been very helpful along the way. We feel comfortable knowing that Signature Select knows exactly what to do, and it helps Edifice run smoothly.”

All this gives Mark a little more time to golf and travel with his wife. “Which I’m now finally getting a chance to do, now that things have calmed down a little,” he laughs.