The future is bright when investing in young professionals
Cravens Warren president, Mike Schneider, believes investing in young professionals is key for the future of his agency
As a business owner in Houston, one of the largest markets in the country, Mike Schneider understands that in order to truly lead a progressive agency, it takes relationship building, understanding the Value of Trust, and investing in young professionals — who are the future of the of the largest markets in the country, business.
With an undergraduate degree in Business Development from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Schneider began his career in insurance by sending a letter. “We had some on-campus interviews, and I did not get hired for any of the jobs,” Schneider said. “So I wrote a letter to one of my interviewers saying ‘your offer must have gotten lost in the mail’ and they must have liked it because they hired me!” After graduation, he spent 13 years working for insurance companies before joining Cravens Warren Insurance in Houston.
“I saw Cravens Warren as an opportunity to change gears and start working on the brokerage side,” Schneider said. “A year after I started, I was offered to buy in as a partner. So I bought in with a few other producers, merged with another firm, and kept growing.” He has been with the company for over 30 years and is now the president. When asked how he became the sole owner, he jokingly said, “I was the last one standing.”
Today, the agency has served clients for over 65 years and has over $30 million in premiums and $4 million in revenue. Although they offer a full spectrum of insurance lines, 85 percent of their work is in commercial insurance. Schneider believes what sets them apart is their relationship-driven personality and robust risk management services. “We don’t want to be the agency that just gives you a quote. We want to come in and get to know you and your business, find gaps in your coverage, and come back to you with an evaluation in terms of your risk,” Schneider said. “We believe it provides more value to our clients than just putting a quote on the table.”
Cravens Warren has over 26 employees in the Houston office, and has many more remote employees across the nation. “We have a great staff of experienced and credentialed professionals that are committed to carefully serving our customers’ needs — and sometimes that starts with first helping them discover what their needs are.” It’s that level of expertise, quality service, and attention to identifying the risk that sets Cravens Warren apart. “We want to see how businesses operate to recommend changes here and there so they can have lower premiums. We truly want to partner with our clients to give them the best coverage.”
Mike Schneider with Cravens Warren Insurance’s COO, Ashley Mike SchneideWarreInsurance’s COO, Ashley Western.
Schneider’s belief in valuable partnerships is echoed by Cravens Warren’s Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Western. “Our motto is ‘The Value of Trust,’ and by that, we believe that in order to have a good relationship with our clients, we should be a trusted adviser to them,” Western said. “We are entrusted with providing our client with protection of their assets, which is incredibly valuable to their viability.”
When asked about their partnership with LUBA Workers’ Comp, Western said she believes LUBA has helped expand the company’s capabilities to allow Cravens Warren to write in multiple states. “What we find in a good partner is their ability to think outside the box and do ‘real’ underwriting,” Western said. “Every company is unique, and when you have an underwriter that will consider risks that may not fit into a specific category, review details, and make a decision based on the facts of the individual case to provide the appropriate coverage, that is fair.”
In addition to caring for their clients, Cravens Warren encourages its employees to give back to the community. “All of our employees have paid time off to volunteer in a community project or a nonprofit organization,” Schneider said. “A couple of times a year we volunteer as a group for nonprofits such as the Houston Food Bank; Lung Force, which raises awareness about lung cancer; local women’s shelters; and more.