Huron Community Bank in East Tawas, Mich., opened its full-service insurance agency in late April. The bank hired Insuritas to build, launch and manage the insurance agency.
As a bank, the decision to add an insurance agency was made to “enhance shareholder value,” said Jeff Loomis, president and CEO of Huron Community Bank. It just makes sense to “look at other ways to generate non-interest income,” he said. “One hundred percent of our clients buy insurance every year, so why not be able to take care of some of those folks’ needs and save them some money?”
“The Insuritas digital agency platform will allow our customers to instantly get insurance quotes every time they get a loan, get their insurance policy bill in the mail, or are visiting our online banking storefront…it’s an additional chance to have conversations with customers,” Loomis said.
Hiring Insuritas to manage the insurance agency was a good one from a business standpoint, he added. “The insurance business is complicated like any other financial business, and we wanted to make sure it was done correctly and properly and in compliance with regulations,” he said. “Insuritas has already put all of that backroom expense in. All the stuff that goes along with a full service agency, we already have that with Insuritas.”
Customers can find the insurance on the bank’s new, updated website or by calling the bank. While the insurance agency will not have a physical presence in the bank’s buildings, the agency is on the bank’s phone system so they can easily dial Huron Community Insurance Agency’s extension.
The bank upgraded its website through First Data at the same time it launched the insurance agency while also converting to Mortgagebot from E3, which was being sunsetted. “All critical factors [were] happening simultaneously,” Loomis said.
Huron Community Bank has a rather fascinating history. Originally opened in 1927 as People State Bank, it was sold, and the office eventually ended up as part of Comerica. When Comerica was shedding the East Tawas branch in the late 1980s, however, 500 people in the community raised $3.6 million and borrowed $2.5 million to buy it back and re-open it as Huron Community Bank.
The bank currently has $195 million in assets and six branches, with its loan production office in West Branch, Mich., being converted to a full service banking office in August. With the insurance agency and the new branch, “we’re growing our footprint, and we’re growing our brand,” Loomis said.