The Buckner Company

Third-generation president and CEO Terry Buckner shares with IBA how integrity, honesty and knowledge have been the drivers of 80 years of success for his Utah-based agency

The Buckner Company



Third-generation president and CEO Terry Buckner shares with IBA how integrity, honesty and knowledge have been the drivers of 80 years of success for his Utah-based agency. 

IBA: Tell us about The Buckner Company.

Terry Buckner: The Buckner Company just celebrated its 80th birthday on December 1 of last year. My grandfather started it during the height of the Depression, which was an interesting time to start a new company. My father and my uncle joined the company shortly after World War II, and I joined the firm in 1979.

In 1988, I bought my father and uncle out, and then in 2001, we started a little growth spurt. Today, we have 162 employees across five different offices: two in Utah, two in Idaho and one in Colorado, and we write roughly $240 million in premium with $27 million in revenue.

IBA: What are you doing to attract new talent?

TB: I think the biggest challenge our industry faces today is attracting new and young talent to insurance. They think differently, they want different things, and we have to think more creatively on how to attract them. I think that as an industry, we have done a poor job in selling the benefits of the insurance business.

Some of the things we are doing to alleviate that is we are getting more involved with various universities. We are also using our younger employees to try to tell our story to their peers – we think they are better at telling the story than we are.

IBA: How has your agency been able to continually grow and remain successful for 80 years?

TB: Having somewhat of an entrepreneurial spirit is critical – not only for me, but also for our individual producers. They need to feel like it is their own business they can grow and generate. I think that’s been critical for us.

We try to put together a reputation of high integrity and high professionalism that attracts people. We are an industry that is easily misunderstood by a lot of buyers because it is a complex product. Yet we try to be involved in the community and be known for doing business with great integrity and insight, which in the end helps us attract the right people.

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IBA: How do you support the success of your employees?

TB: We have been very verbal about the fact that the checkbook is wide open when it comes to education. We want our people to be lifelong learners, but we don’t just encourage education, we pay for it – furthering education has become a part of our people’s career progression model.

With our salespeople, we support them with marketing dollars that become their own so they can market their own brand. We try to support them financially on that side, and then the other thing we try to do is really push out our brand to our various marketplaces so that when our producers go out to talk to someone about who we are, it’s not a real cold call. They’ve heard of us and know about us.

IBA: What are your agency’s goals and plans for 2017?

TB: For 2017, my biggest goal is to continue to attract young talent to our industry. We realize that 25% of the million-dollar producers in our industry will be retiring in the next three years. We need to be backfilling that void. This year alone, we are looking to hire between eight and 10 new sales professionals into our organization. We will also build our support sta­ to bring in new, great talent to this industry. That will be a big initiative for us.

Additionally, we fi nished last year with 15% growth over the year before, and we see ourselves continuing to aggressively pursue profitable growth for our fi rm.

IBA: What makes The Buckner Company unique?

TB: What makes us unique is that we are knowledgeable and ethical people. We preach and talk ethics and integrity all day long. We like to think we stand out when people say they do business with Buckner – not because we’re the cheapest, but because our people are professionals who are honest and who do the right thing for clients always. That is the reputation my grandfather built this firm on, and we strive to maintain that mission regardless of what we do, and that is what makes us stand out.


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