In 1983, hurricane Alicia had just ravaged the Houston area, and Tom Stinson was on his way to Katy, TX. Amidst all of the chaos of cleaning up after the storm, Stinson’s family was trying to close on a home that they were set to move into days before the school year began. But, with the bank without power and the bank employees unable to verify his account, it looked like the family were out of luck.
“But then the banker came out and it turned out that my father knew him,” Stinson said. “He said, ‘oh yeah, I know him. We’re going to be neighbors.’ In that funny way of being in the dark I learned that the value of that relationship was everything. If pop hadn’t known that guy, we wouldn’t have been able to move into that house.”
It was this focus on the relationship aspect of business that inspired Stinson in his own business practices, first in the field of technology and now as an All State agent.
“Your insurance agent should be someone that you have a one-on-one relationship with,” he said. “You should be able to call up your agent and say, hey Tom, why is my premium more this year than it was last year? They should be there to tell you how it works.”
Even though it’s important to be able to talk with your insurance agent and build a relationship with that person, Stinson said the industry is headed the other direction.
“It used to be that insurance salesmen would make phone calls into their local neighborhoods. They’d go into grocery stores and stand around shaking hands,” Stinson said. “But those days are long gone. Now, it’s all about internet searches and trying to get people to call us. I want to turn that around.”
The insurance agent sees his customers as more than just numbers and statistics on Google Analytics. He sees them as neighbors. He even likens being an insurance agent to being a Good Samaritan.
“We have come along when a life event has completely overtaken them,” he said. “We may have talked to them in the beginning, we might have tried to get to know them, but until you’ve been there to save somebody from absolute disaster, you don’t have a solidified relationship.”
He said that All State has something called the promise that means they are going to be there when you need them.
“It’s that Good Samaritan principle. How many people walk by the guy on the road beaten and bloody and keep walking? We’re the ones who are going to make sure you’re indemnified and placed back in the position you were before this terrible thing happened.”
Along with getting customers back on their feet after they’ve endured bumps in the road, Stinson also wants to support his local community.
“A lot of insurance agencies will give a small dollar amount if you refer one of your friends. They say, here’s $10 for referring us. We’re going to take your $10 and donate it to a cause and put your name on it.”
Some of these causes include charities that benefit children and families living in the Katy area.
“We’re also going to be at community events like the Rice Festival and visible at school functions,” Stinson said. “My son plays high school football, so we’ll be at the games giving out little All State footballs.”
Stinson wants his fellow community members to know that he’s not there to sell them things they don’t need. He wants to be the person they trust.
“We want to be more like a guardian angel and less like a 1-800 number voice on the phone,” he said. “For 30 years this place has taken care of me. The next 30, I’m going to take care of it. That’s what being an All State agent is all about. This is my neighborhood. These are my folks.”
Contact the Tom Stinson Agency at:
440 Cobia Dr, Ste 104
Katy, TX 77494
Phone: (832) 913-3888