How one company president gave birth to a super agency

"I'm able to focus on the one thing I thought I was truly best at"

How one company president gave birth to a super agency

Insurance News

By Chris Davis

Three years ago, Tom Winter (pictured), president of TDW Risk Management Associates of Ladera Ranch, CA, embarked on a transformative journey, giving birth to Alkeme Insurance—a super insurance agency and aggregator.

Alongside six other agencies in Southern California, Winter and his associates, backed by private equity investor GCP Capital Partners, aimed to expand their footprint and capabilities – but it wasn’t merely about growth. In fact, it was a response to the challenges faced by smaller agencies in a competitive market.

Teaming up to create more

This collaborative approach has transformed competitors into partners, leveraging each other’s specialties. Winter, known for insuring contractors, now had access to partners specializing in life sciences, home healthcare, and more. This synergy enabled them to cater to a broader range of clients, such as referring a tow truck operation to a partner specializing in that area, or by offering group benefits and personal lines, through partners who specialized in those areas.

“As an independent agency, we need to have the resources to satisfy our customers and having new agency and carrier partnerships, is a crucial element of that,” Winter said. “Having this team of peers, who are no longer competitors but now partners, means we can lean on each other to build the success of a greater enterprise.” 

Beyond market access, the super agency structure brought significant operational benefits. Previously, as a small agency owner, Winter wore multiple hats—from account executive to HR and IT manager. Now, with departments dedicated to these functions, he has been able to shift his focus to what he does best: selling insurance and client care. This shift not only improved operational efficiency but also enhanced client service, enabling him to be more responsive than ever.

“I’m able to focus really on truly the one thing that I thought I was always the best at,” Winter said. “At the end of the day, clients really want Johnny-on-the-spot. And if they know that they can rely on you to answer their phone call when they call you, or answer their email and be responsive; that’s what really sets us apart.”

Encouraging the next generation

Another significant aspect of Alkeme Insurance’s strategy is mentoring and fostering young talent, with Winter currently mentoring two young producers. This mentorship is crucial for the industry’s future, ensuring the perpetuation of expertise and fostering new talent.

“We recognize that there has to be some perpetuation going on and fostering of the youth who are coming up in the insurance world,” Winter said. 

Marketing and lead generation have also seen a boost under the new structure. With more time and resources, Alkeme Insurance has implemented successful lead generation programs, benefiting the entire network of agencies. These programs have proven effective in attracting new clients, demonstrating the power of collaborative marketing efforts. 

“From a marketing outreach standpoint, the structure has also allowed me to have more time to mentor younger producers,” said Winter. “Right now, for instance, I have two young producers – one’s been in the business for a little over a year, the other for about three years. And they’ve kind of become our marketing.

“I know that many of my agency partners are all mentoring younger agents, and we have lead generation programs that we’re all working on together. As such, we have leads that come in through a few different sources, and then those leads are filtered out to these various agencies within our system. And it’s turning out to be very, very successful.”

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