Surging Ahead with Teamwork | Kent Shantz | Rockford Mutual Insurance Company

Kent Shantz

President & CEO

" As someone who has spent forty-plus years in this industry, I enjoy sharing experiences and lessons I have learned that may help others persevere just as I have."

Kent Shantz is approachable, amiable, and appreciative. These are some of the most important qualities of a steadfast leader in today’s age of cut-throat competition. Kent is introducing pioneering ways to lead the company and ensuring that every member of Rockford Mutual Insurance utilizes their skills and creativity. Rockford Mutual Insurance has been hailed as a quality insurer that goes the extra mile in service.

For Kent, communication is important to the overall culture that he develops. These qualities allow for an open, communicative workplace where associates desire to be a part of the success being fostered by senior leadership. Kent also has an open-door policy which has led to many great ideas, improvements, and projects within the organization. Teamwork is the key to driving success in any organization, and Kent supports that.

According to the brilliant leader, it is important to take every opportunity to have in-depth conversations with partnered agents representing Rockford Mutual on how they can optimize their book of business to achieve success. “As someone who has spent forty-plus years in this industry, I enjoy sharing experiences and lessons I have learned that may help others persevere just as I have. I am also active in industry organizations such as the Illinois Insurance Association and National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies to utilize my experience and knowledge to better the industry.”

Kent appreciates and takes care of his associates as the most valuable asset. “If you treat your employees well, they will take excellent care of your customers. I have been in positions throughout my career where associates were not valued. I committed to be different,” explains Kent. “My approach to treating all with respect and courtesy has developed an open, team approach culture at Rockford Mutual Insurance.”

A Productive Company

Rockford Mutual Insurance Company is based out of Rockford, Illinois, and operates in the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Since 1896, the organization has provided dependable insurance coverage for homes, autos, farms, and businesses. Their policies are written through independent agents who place your needs at the forefront of insurance coverage options.

“I am delighted to have been a part of Rockford Mutual’s technological leap onto Rockford Express, our state-of-the-art, cloud-based rating, underwriting and issuance system that we launched in 2017,” elucidates Kent. “We have also implemented straight-through processing on several lines that has allowed the organization to nearly double its annual sales without adding full-time equivalents. This system and its capabilities have improved our efficiency and the ease of doing business with independent agents and launched us into a profitable growth pattern over the past 5 years.”

In addition, Rockford Mutual Insurance recently implemented a user-friendly mobile application for policyholders. This application currently offers a wide range of functionalities, but it is capable of being scaled to do even more. In time, this application will integrate with their claims process allowing policyholders more freedom and flexibility in the event of a claim. They have also implemented third-party plug-ins to their system to underwrite risks more efficiently.

“I worked my way to senior management in the industry after approximately 10 years. Words of advice I would share with people is, believe in yourself. Do not be afraid to take chances,” says Kent. “Put the work in to achieve results. Good things come to people who drive results. In addition, never stop learning. Become a student of your industry and gain as much knowledge as possible. Last, be kind and professional to all.”

Towards the Future

Rockford Mutual Insurance has historically provided insurance through independent agents. Under Kent’s leadership, they developed a state-of-the-art, web-based rating, underwriting, and policy issuance system to create significant ease of doing business. In addition, Kent led an initiative to expand RMIC’s product offering available within commercial lines packages. The plan changed the organizations ratio from 80% personal lines, 20% commercial and farm, to 50/50 between the lines of business. They are now 55/45 personal to commercial. “Much of the additional products, enhancements and services related to commercial lines provide agents more products to market to customers and this is driving the profitability of our organization.”

The leadership policy of empowering, communicating, and treating all employees with respect has led Rockford Mutual to be named “A Best Place to Work in Illinois” for 2020, 2021, and 2022. In addition, they were named one of “The Best Places to Work in Insurance” nationally in 2021. This type of culture attracts the best and the brightest to Rockford Mutual Insurance. “The culture and the team we have developed at our organization is the greatest asset we have and allows us to set ourselves apart from many competitors,” adds Kent. “I hear over and over from our customers that we have the best people. This culture has also led to consistent customer satisfaction on our insurance claims process. We consistently meet or exceed customer expectations in the 97% to 98% range.”

Rockford Mutual is developing various products to broaden their appetite and provide partnered agents with access to a larger clientele. Their agents are their customers, so constantly improving the product offering is one of the ways Rockford Mutual Insurance strives to benefit independent insurance agents in their own business. Some projects in the works include the RPAC, a combination policy for home, auto and personal umbrella, and a variety of commercial line products, including a Golf Course Pac, Contractors Pac, General Liability Pac, and a Winery, Distillery, and Brewery Pac. In addition, they are having conversations regarding various InsurTechs to provide more avenues of products to the agents that represent them.



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