According to Dave Wittmann, the complex role of an independent agent can be summed up in one simple sentence.
“We are insurance problem solvers,” says Dave, President of Wittmann Insurance in Little Chute, Wisconsin. “People come to us with insurance problems, and we solve them in an honest way.”
Building a Business
Dave started in the insurance industry in 1978 as a captive agent. In 1998, with four young kids and a homemaker wife at home, he took the risk to transition his agency to become independent. As it turned out, it was the best decision he could have made—for both his clients and his family.
“Being independent means more opportunity, more companies, more products, and a greater ability to solve customers’ problems as a result,” he says. For the past 23 years, Wittmann Insurance has also been part of Couri Insurance Associates and thanks Jerry Couri and Steve Albinger for the opportunity and partnership.
The majority of the agency’s business is in personal lines, but the commercial side has been growing strongly in recent years, with an emphasis on trucking and contracting. Serving the agency’s clients is a staff of 12 professionals who are committed to exceeding expectations.
“We have amazing people on both the sales and service side of our business. They are able to anticipate customers’ needs and follow through to ensure they are well protected,” says Dave, adding that the agency emphasizes continuing education.
“We try to make it convenient and financially achievable for the people to continue their education and earn designations,” he says. “Continuing your education and learning new skills should be a part of everyone’s career journey—it’s how you grow.” Leading by example, Dave has earned the CPCU, CFP, LUTCF, and CIC designations.
Among the agency’s staff members are Dave’s daughters, Jodi Feick, CIC, and Cora Wittmann, CISR, both of whom earned bachelor’s degrees in insurance and risk management. Jodi also worked at Acuity as a commercial underwriter upon graduating college prior to joining the Wittmann Insurance team.
Family connections can be found among the agency’s business as well. “We have many instances where we have insured multiple generations of the same family. That is a credit to the relationships our people build with customers,” Dave says.
“Dad has always treated customers like family members and instilled that in our staff as well. Clients know that we genuinely care for them,” says Cora.
Strong customer retention is also a credit to the agency’s reputation as a business that people can trust.
“Integrity is a core value, and it starts from the top. It’s the epitome of who my dad is and how he is known in the community,” Jodi says. “If clients want us to bend the rules, they’re not a good fit for us.”
Community service is also a big part of the agency’s focus. Dave has served on school boards, was elected into the athletic association hall of fame, and ran the church golf outing for 27 consecutive years.
The agency’s reputation is a key part of the reason Wittmann Insurance was voted Best of the Valley for insurance agencies in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley region in both 2019 and 2020 and earned runner-up in 2021.
With Jodi and Cora on the team, Wittmann Insurance is well positioned for eventual perpetuation.
“I don’t have a set retirement date, but when I do, it’s good to know they are ready to take over. With so many agencies being bought and sold today, we’re fortunate that our employees and customers won’t have to worry about that and the disruption that comes with it,” Dave says. He is also grateful that the agency’s emphasis on solving problems, acting ethically, and delivering outstanding service will continue.
“We want our customers to tell people that we did what we promised we would,” says Dave. “We came through for them when claims happened, made sure they had the correct coverage, and always made them feel that their business is important to us.”