Minnesota-based Truck Writers started in 1983 and has since become one of the largest truck insurance agencies in the Midwest. But what sets the agency apart is not its size, but its connection with customers.
“Our goal is always to partner with our transportation insurance customers and to learn as much about their business as we know about our own,” says Mackenzie Thompson, Vice President Operations. “It’s more than simply providing a quote—we want to be true advisors to our clients.”
Some of those clients have been with the agency since day one. “We have customers who started with one or two trucks that have grown their fleet into the hundreds. It’s nice to see that growth while still knowing those customers on a personal level,” Mackenzie says.
In an era of agency mergers and acquisitions, Truck Writers has also remained a family-owned business, which helps it connect with customers. “The majority of our trucking clients are also family owned. We can relate to them and we understand the hard work it takes to keep a trucking business going.”
The agency was founded by Donald and Bonnie Sullivan in Roseville, Minnesota. “We opened our doors right around the time trucking became deregulated,” Mackenzie says. “We saw an opportunity to get into a market that was a bit unknown at the time and build relationships.”
Donald and Bonnie’s son, Shawn, joined the agency in 1984 and is today CEO. Their nephew, Michael O’Neil, later joined and is today agency President. Michael’s sons, Patrick and Kevin, came on board in 2007 and 2016, respectively. Mackenzie, Shawn’s daughter, joined in 2015.
Currently Truck Writers has about 30 employees, some of whom have been with the agency for over 20 years. “Experience is a huge part of what we bring to the table,” Mackenzie says. “Our people are dedicated to the trucking industry and gaining knowledge they can share with both clients and colleagues.”
The ongoing pandemic has had a significant impact on the trucking industry and, as a trucking specialist, Truck Writers has felt that impact as well. “Some clients, such as refrigerated haulers, have been putting on more miles than before. Other clients have seen miles go down. So, we’ve been very busy, whether it’s monitoring equipment lists or making changes to driver lists. If clients are struggling at this time, we can help them.”
Today Truck Writers has three locations in Minnesota, Illinois, and Utah. It plans to expand its service reach from those locations and add staff to accommodate future growth.
“Right now, we’re looking to hire on more producers—that’s a big focus,” Mackenzie says.
The agency also plans to carry on the tradition of family ownership that has been so important to its growth and success. “We believe that really sets us apart in the trucking community,” Mackenzie says. “The third generation is taking over leadership now, and we know what customers have come to expect from us. We’re an agency they can depend on.”