The philosophy of CM Brown has always been that if you’re going to do something, do it well. To that end, the Missouri-based agency has been specializing in trucking insurance since its founding over 30 years ago. “We’re not a jack-of-all-trades agency. We believe that our specialization allows us to bring a depth of experience to clients that not every agency can,” says Dan Hotop, agency President.
Building expertise in trucking has been key to the agency’s growth. “In the trucking business, new business often starts with referrals, and referrals are based on your reputation,” says Gabriel (Gabe) Hotop, Dan’s son and agency Vice President. “Truckers talk to each other a lot and spread the word about who treats them right.”
Dan has been on staff since CM Brown opened its doors in Perrysville, Missouri, in 1984. Gabe joined the agency in 2004.
The staff at CM Brown have seen a lot of changes in the trucking industry over the years. New technology, new regulations, and an increasing amount of available data are all challenges trucking companies face. With a focus on mid-sized accounts, CM Brown believes that a key part of its mission is helping customers overcome those challenges.
“We work with a number of smaller fleets that don’t have full-time safety directors on staff and don’t have the resources larger companies have. We are able to consult with those firms and help them map out a safety program and strategy,” says Dan.
“The trucking industry is becoming increasingly datadriven, and part of our job is to help our customers get the right information, so they can make decisions that positively impact their CSA scores and improve loss experience,” Gabe says. “We work closely in conjunction with our carriers’ loss control staff as well so that we are bringing a true team approach to the client.”
CM Brown is also helping clients contend with the growing shortage of drivers. “We identify recruitment and retention strategies that are effective, but it is an increasingly difficult situation,” Dan says. “Companies are sitting with empty trucks, but it’s important to help them understand it’s better to not have a truck run than it is to put a poor driver in the cab.”
The staff of CM Brown are known for not just trucking expertise, but superior customer service. “Our people care about the success of our customers. When customers call, they know they will be working with somebody who is knowledgeable, takes pride in what they do, and will take the time to figure out what they need,” says Gabe. Dan adds that Acuity is a good fit for CM Brown. “Not only does Acuity have a strong focus on trucking, but they’ve worked with us to form a true partnership,” he says. “Acuity is very good at providing a personal touch with all accounts, including smaller fleets.”
CM Brown plans for steady growth, focusing on accounts in Missouri and Illinois. The agency intends to achieve its goals by continuing to build its expertise in trucking and doing what’s right for the customer.
“In our conference room, we have a sign that reads, ‘People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care,’” says Dan. “We care about helping our customers thrive in the trucking industry, and that commitment will continue to be at the heart of all we do.”