Brooker Insurance understands that in a time of crisis, providing peace of mind to customers is of the utmost importance. “In times like this, you prove yourself to your clients. They are seeing you in a different light than in other times, and it really puts the importance of what we do for clients front and center,” says Malcom “Mal” Brooker Jr., agency President.
The agency’s commitment to clients is built on the skills of its staff. “Our people are self-starters who want to serve our customers,” Mal says. “They understand that when someone has a billing issue, claims issue, or any insurance issue, they want answers and they want them quickly. They work hard to be sure our customers know we’re here for them.”
The agency was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1938 by Mal’s grandfather, William M. Brooker. Brooker Insurance relocated to Strongsville, Ohio, in 1970, and Mal joined the agency in 1984
“I always wanted to work for my grandfather. He and I had a special relationship—I always could talk to him,” Mal says. “I had the privilege of working with him and my father probably for close to 10 years.”
Mal succeeded his father, Malcom Brooker Sr., as president in 2002. Mal’s son, Bill Brooker, is currently serving in the agency as a Commercial Lines Account Executive and the fourth generation of the Brooker family to work at the agency.
In addition to maintaining its family ownership over time, the agency has also stayed focused on building relationships. “We don’t focus on writing every account that comes in the door,” Mal says. “We look to do business with clients who are looking for the value-added services we provide and who value relationships that last. That’s one of the reasons our retention is in the upper 90s.”
Organic growth and acquisitions have both played a role in the agency’s growth over time. In 2010, Brooker Insurance purchased the Homer Yost agency in Wooster, Ohio. That book has grown substantially since then under the leadership of Anne Wolf, Manager. Brooker Transportation, created in 2012, has also grown profitably under the direction of division President Michael Gahan and today serves both the motor coach and trucking industries in 17 states.
“We continue to look for acquisitions, but they have to be right fight fit,” Mal says. “We don’t want to do anything that would negatively impact our culture. We have a family atmosphere where people know they are cared for, and we want to keep it that way.”
Despite the current challenges facing the industry, Brooker Insurance is optimistic about what the future has in store. By combining its long history of relationship-building with new technological capability, the agency will further elevate the value it brings to both personal and commercial customers.
“Studies consistently show that clients prefer to do business with an agent that has and uses emerging technology. That’s one of the reasons we’re excited to partner with Neon (from insurtech b atomic),” Mal says. “That partnership can bring in the emerging technology and sales capabilities an agency like ours will need for generations to come."