Insurance is a relationship business, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an agency better at relationship building than Montana’s First West Insurance.
“When I first joined this agency I was amazed to see the longstanding relationships we had with insureds—customers who had been with us for years or even decades. I’m proud we have continued that tradition and still have many of those customers with us today,” says Bryan Hall, agency President.
First West was founded in Bozeman, Montana, in 1972. Bryan attributes the agency’s strong growth and retention over the past five decades to the agency’s highly educated staff and an ongoing commitment to being responsive to clients’ needs.
“We strive to work hard for our customers, to be known as knowledgeable in our field, and to help our customers when they need us most by offering honest, common-sense solutions,” he says.
“The technical side of insurance is very important to us. We want to make sure that our customers are comfortable knowing that we know our craft,” Bryan says, adding that carrier partnerships have also played a key role in the agency’s success story.
“Without carrier partnerships with companies like Acuity, we would not have been able to grow like we have,” he says. “Those relationships have allowed us to grow and provide great service to our clients.”
First West’s mix of business runs about 20 percent personal lines, 80 percent commercial. “Bozeman is ‘Mainstreet America,’ so we write restaurants to retail and everything in between,” Bryan says.
Additionally, with the Bozeman area being one of the fastest growing in America, First West has capitalized on a boom in the construction and technology sectors. The agency has also leveraged technology itself to help staff serve clients.
“Keeping up with the cutting edge in agency technology is essential, and it’s not a one-person job—it takes all of us,” says Bryan, adding that the agency’s technology platform and preparations were important in navigating business during the pandemic.
“The pandemic forced us to take a new look at all our processes, tools, and schedules. And we’re proud of the fact that because of our resiliency, we were able to call an audible and in just one day have our staff working from home to keep up service to our clients. It’s amazing to be part of a team where people showed such grit and determination to keep things going,” he says.
As First West approaches its 50th anniversary, the agency is well positioned for the future.
“We’ve already transitioned several times in leadership over the years because of the strong perpetuation plans in place, as well as the help of a strong team of account managers, producers, and service staff. I see a lot of growth opportunity in our community and state, and that will afford us opportunities,” Bryan says.
“I’m proud to be part of an agency that has a positive outlook, not just on our own business but the industry as a whole, an agency that treats each other like family, and an agency that enjoys the connections that can be made between the client, us, and our company partners,” he adds. “If we stay focused on those things, our future success will take care of itself.”