by Sue Miklovic, www.theNBXpress.com
Last week I had a chance to visit with the “New Kids in Town” at Hitchings Insurance Agency. They have purchased the Don H. Miller Insurance Agency from Dennis Miller, after 6-7 years of conversations that led up to the transition. They are operating the full-service agency, under the Don H. Miller Insurance name , but it is technically a division of Hitchings Insurance Agency.
Who is Hitchings Insurance?
- We can be reached by phone 419-423-9145 or 419-257-3523 M-F 8-5, [email protected] 24/7. Our physical office hours are 8-5 M-R and 8-4 F in Findlay, and NB is Mon Tues 9-5 and Wed Thurs 8-4, closed Fridays (Findlay is always operational Friday). Ryan Pessell is the President. Kari Colman is the Vice President. Brock Colman is the Director of Health Insurance.
- Company was founded in 1968 by James L Hitchings. He was a school teacher and basketball coach. He started selling life insurance out of his home as he needed a second income to support his growing family. He got to a point where he was making more money selling insurance, so decided to open a brick-and-mortar agency in 1976 and resign from teaching. He retired in 2003 and James L Hitchings II (his son) & Robert K Pessell (son in law, married to oldest daughter Anna) bought his shares of the corporation. Present owner Ryan N. Pessell joined the agency in 2008 as a commercial & farm insurance salesman and had a successful start in the business. Ryan bought out Robert’s shares in 2016 as Robert retired, and then bought James L Hitchings II remaining shares in 2022 as he retired.
What types of insurance are your specializations?
- Commercial Lines- Everything from mom & pop business to multi-state complex operations
- Personal Lines- Auto/Home/Umbrella/Recreational Vehicles Benefits
- Health – Employee Group Health Plans, Medicare Plans, Life Insurance, and Individual health plans.
Why did you decide to expand your business into the North Baltimore area?
- Multiple Reasons
- geographical location – It’s only a 12- minute drive from our main office location in Findlay.
- customer base- a majority of the customers are located in Findlay & NB.
- carrier relationships – We already had partnerships formed with the same insurance carriers as the Don H Miller Agency.
- the people- we had a strong relationship with Dennis Miller before we ever decided to join forces. We both have a strong belief in taking care of our customers and operating with integrity.
What sets you apart from the competition in this business? We’re advisors in the insurance marketplace. We’re not going to add any fluff to our conversations, and we are going to educate everyone with real data and market trends so our clients can turn around and make the best buying decisions when it comes to insurance. We’re also an advocate during the claims process. We’re not afraid to jump in and negotiate with claims adjustors if we don’t feel they’re being reasonable with our clients. We also only represent very strong mutual and regional carriers. If they don’t maintain an “A” rating with A.M. Best, we part ways and terminate the contracts. We also take a team approach to the customer experience. While working with one individual has been commonplace, we know what happens when that individual person becomes ill, takes a vacation, retires, or leaves the industry. With a team approach, you never have to worry about getting ahold of someone who can help answer your questions.
How will you gain the trust of the community as the “new kids in town”? While the office location is new, we’ve had customers in NB for over 50 years. We will continue to operate our business with integrity, transparency, and will always act in a professional manner. We will also continue to support local charity initiatives, the NB chamber, and of course North Baltimore local schools. While we’re a bigger organization, we’re still a small business with roots in Northwest Ohio, and we’ve planted roots in North Baltimore. We’ve purchased the real-estate at 124 E. Broadway and plan to operate that location as long as the community continues to support us in return.
What’s something about yourself and/or the agency you would like to share that’s not on your resume? Ryan is married to Jaclyn Pessell. She is a learning specialist at BGSU and loves to run ½ marathons. They have 2 boys- Ages 10-8, who both love to hunt & fish, play golf, football, and basketball. We enjoy spending time with our family and friends, having campfires, fishing, hunting, and being outdoors in general. We have one dog named Dash, who has quite the personality.
Kari and her husband, Eric live in rural Hancock County with their 4 kids (ages 10, 8, 6 and 4). The family farms row crops and raises cattle for freezer beef. The Colmans enjoy all things outdoors, relaxing with family and friends, playing soccer, basketball and baseball/softball and being part of 4-H.
I encourage residents to stop in and welcome these friendly, helpful people to the community.