In This Issue

My Erie

Your house, your car, your life—it’s all personal. Your insurance should be, too.

March 30, 2009
By Scott Westcott

Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just a particular patron, one of the great things about a place like Starbucks is that you can get what you want how you want it. Sure, the lingo might be a little confusing. But if you’re a regular, the barista knows you’d like a ‘Grande skinny cinnamon dolce latte’ every time you walk through that door.

And if you’re not a regular, she can translate: “a large coffee with skim milk and a splash of cinnamon.”

Insurance isn’t all that different. State regulations make insurance lingo a little confusing (insurance policies are contracts, after all), but ERIE makes sure you have an Agent who can translate whenever you need it. Someone who can turn “comprehensive coverage” into “you’re protected from more than just accidents.”

That kind of familiarity from ERIE Agents helped us earn the award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Purchase Experience” from J.D. Power and Associates.*

As many of you who’ve been with us a long time know, that professional and personal service doesn’t stop after the sale. It remains customized to your needs, and it comes with a friendly face.

It’s the kind of service that’s saved busy Pennsylvania shop owner Madeline Jordan a lot of time. It’s kept Robin Bowling with ERIE for years, even as she’s moved around in North Carolina. And it’s what makes Virginian Victor Gravely hand out his Agent’s number like it was good news he couldn’t wait to tell.

He made it easy

Madeline Jordan, Aldan, Pa.

Busy is an understatement for Madeline Jordan.

Jordan, who lives in Aldan, Pa., works full-time running her recently opened coffee shop inside Taylor Hospital, Maddy’s Café. She’s raising five children ranging in age from 1 to 14. Her husband works two jobs to help the family make ends meet.

“I have no time for a whole lot of anything in my life,” says Jordan, 42. “The easier and more convenient someone makes something for me, the better off I am.”

So last summer when it came to finding the right insurance for her cars and business, Jordan didn’t have the time, energy or inclination to do a lot of the legwork. She wasn’t satisfied with her insurer at the time, saying the company lacked a personal touch and friendly customer service.

She had started looking around in April, right after she opened her coffee shop. A friend recommended ERIE and the Dunlap Insurance Agency. Jordon called Allen Dunlap for a quote on her auto insurance for three cars and her business. Allen said he’d be happy to meet her at her café.

“I like the fact that he made it very convenient for me,” Jordan says. “He came to me so I didn’t have to leave work. He suggested a couple different options to make sure I got the best deal. He was looking out for what I needed, not just his own pocket, and I appreciate that.”

Because of an increasingly wired world, Jordan did some preliminary online research before calling the Dunlap Insurance Agency, but she much prefers a more traditional way to doing business—person to person. That’s what she delivers to her customers at Maddy’s Café. And it’s what she expects as a consumer.

“To me, I want to have the human contact,” she says. “I like to be able to pick up the phone and talk to a human being instead of a computer.”

And Jordan has done that several times, including one instance when she was on vacation and needed to pay her auto insurance bill. She called Allen and he walked her through the steps for making a payment over the phone.

For convenience and additional savings, Jordan plans to soon switch her homeowner’s insurance coverage to ERIE as well.

“I like the idea of having my insurance all in one place,” Jordan says. “I’ve never been on a personal level with an insurance company before. Now I can call Allen any time I have a question and he always has an answer.”

You can’t beat ERIE

Robin Bowling, Charlotte, N.C.

Whenever Robin Bowling hears friends or neighbors complaining about the cost of insurance, she has one word for them—ERIE.

“In fact, my next-door neighbor just came back to me and said, ‘You were right, ERIE saved me about $300 a year,’” says Bowling, 47, of Charlotte, N.C. “Most people can’t believe they are that much different on price, but they usually are.”

Indeed, it was great rates that first brought Bowling to ERIE more than 15 years ago on a friend’s recommendation. And it’s the blend of price, service and “down home people who really care” that keeps her a satisfied customer.

“If I find a product with a good price and I’m satisfied, then I stick with it,” Bowling says. “I’ve checked out other companies out of curiosity, but I’ve found you can’t beat ERIE.”

Bowling has relocated a few times in recent years. Each time she has stayed with ERIE, finding that each new Agent is as responsive and knowledgeable as the last. Currently, her policies are with Ron and Toya Carey of Carey Insurance Agency in Harrisburg, N.C.

“They have always had time to answer any questions,” Bowling says. “It’s like walking into an office of friends rather than just someone who I have insurance with.”

Working in sales, Bowling typically logs quite a few miles each week in her 2000 Toyota Avalon. Fortunately, she’s only had a few fender benders over the years, and each claim was handled promptly and without problem.

Bowling says that just about all her family members are ERIE customers. And she estimates she has referred as many as 50 friends.

“I’ll probably be a customer for life,” Bowling said. “I’ve never had anyone else beat ERIE on price or service, so I have no reason to switch. It’s just a great company. Any time someone brings up insurance, I sell them on ERIE.”

Just a phone call away

Victor Gravely, Roanoke, Va.

Victor Gravely rattles off the phone number of his ERIE Agent with ease.

“It’s just one of those numbers I know by heart,” says Gravely, 44, of Roanoke, Va. “It’s like memorizing a number for a close friend or family member. I recommend ERIE all the time. I give them the number and say, ‘just tell ’em Victor sent you.’”

Gravely calls Erie Insurance one of the “best kept secrets” in the Roanoke area—and he does all he can to let family, friends and associates in on it. For the past 13 years, he’s been a customer of Agent Tamara Richards at Hayden Insurance.

Gravely likes being in regular contact with those he does business with and wants personalized service when he has a question or a problem. Four times each year, he walks through the door of the Hayden agency to pay his premium and chat with his Agent and the friendly staff.

“I like the fact that my Agent is local and, when you’re trying to figure something out or resolve a problem, that just makes things more comfortable and convenient,” Gravely says. “They do whatever they can to help you out.”

For instance, Gravely recently purchased two vehicles, bringing the total his family owns to four.

“When I added the vehicles, they were able to work with me because I’m a loyal customer and it was a win-win for me to have those cars insured with ERIE, too,” Gravely said.

With tough economic times hitting his region in Virginia hard, Gravely says from time to time he will surf the Internet checking out insurance rates. But he always finds ERIE is competitive. He also puts a high value on the personalized service he receives. He’s only filed one claim through the years, and that was when a fence was damaged during the aftermath of a hurricane that hit the East Coast. The claim was handled quickly, and the fence was repaired within days.

“Maybe I could find insurance that is a few dollars cheaper, but I have such a good rapport and they have treated me so well through the years, I have no desire to switch,” Gravely says. “I’ve really been satisfied since day one.”

Scott Westcott is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer, whose recent work has appeared in Parents, Inc., and Woman’s Day. He resides in Erie, Pa.

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