Miller Insurance recognized by State Auto

Miller Insurance recognized by State Auto

Loyal to her customers, companies

When Kim Shoff was looking for a summer job more than 30 years ago, little did she know it would turn into her lifelong career and passion.  A friend helped her secure a position as a receptionist at the Miller Insurance Agency in Carlisle, Pa., in 1982. She quickly learned the job and started branching out into other directions within the agency.

When the bookkeeper left a few years later, Shoff took over those functions. After eight years with the agency, she earned her agent’s license and starting selling personal insurance, becoming office manager. A few years later, the agency owner, Gene Miller, offered her an ownership opportunity in the agency, making her vice president. When he passed away in 2005, Shoff took over the agency.

Shoff credits her success to coming up “through the ranks,” and learning all aspects of the business and agency operations. She still likes having a “hands on” role in the agency, although she relies on her experienced staff of six – including her daughter, Allison Shoff — to keep the operation humming.

“I still most enjoy meeting people, our customers, and learning from them,” Shoff said. “I love what I do!”

Shoff has found the ever-changing independent insurance agency business challenging at times, but also exciting. “Technology is always changing; that’s one of the reasons I have my daughter here. She’s very ‘tech savvy.’ But overall, ours is still a relationship business, and I still like doing business with someone sitting across the desk from me.”

Shoff believes the independent agency system is extremely important in this age of online commerce, because insurance can simply be confusing to consumers.

“We find that people will buy insurance online, and have a bad experience with a claim or something like that. After that, they decide they need someone they can talk to about it, and will come to us,” she said.  “I think it’s our role to not only sell insurance, but educate people about it and why it’s important to them. I like explaining those things to my customers.” Shoff is also a big believer in insurance education, recently earning her Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC) designation.

She believes a presence on social media is important to agency marketing, and brought in her daughter, in part, to take on those duties. But customer, and company loyalty, is of utmost important to Shoff and the agency’s success.

“Our agency has been representing State Auto for more than 25 years. Gene Miller taught me to be loyal to my companies and vendors, and it has definitely paid off over the years,” Shoff said. “I’m a State Auto customer and it helps to use my personal situation when selling State Auto, for example. Personal experience always works.”
Located west of Harrisburg, Pa., the agency serves central Pennsylvania, and parts of Virginia and Maryland as well, predominantly in personal lines.  The area experienced a string of hailstorms in recent years, which was an education for agency associates, Shoff said.

“We had never experienced a claims event quite like this before, and had to work together to handle the volume of claims we received. Not only did we take care of all our customers, but we’re now all cross-trained in claims, which is a good thing.”

Shoff sees the agency growing in commercial lines in the future, and possibly adding a few more associates to serve their customers. The bottom line for Shoff is earning and keeping her customers’ business and loyalty for the long-term. “I love what I do, and I know that we’re selling a promise, not just an 800 number. As long as you remember that, you’ll be successful.”

This article appears with permission of the State Auto Insurance Companies; it originally appeared in the Personally Speaking newsletter.