GoodWorks is making a name for itself in the Berkshires and beyond with a refreshing, new approach to insurance that powers an engine of generous donations to local charities. Moreover, customers say the firm has a winning formula for taking the pain out of the process by helping people navigate the daunting complexities of risk management with confidence and clarity.
“GoodWorks has provided our company outstanding service and consistent due diligence,” said Mark Bram, president of Eljen Corporation, a manufacturer of prefabricated drainage systems for foundation drainage and erosion control applications used by contractors nationwide. “They have worked closely with Eljen in cost containment, policies, and procedures and because of this I would highly recommend them as an independent insurance agency.”
GoodWorks has five locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut staffed by a team of seasoned, dedicated professionals with a wide-range of expertise in covering all kinds of risks facing businesses large and small - as well as individuals and families. And as one of the strongest independent agencies in the Northeast, its agents directly represent over 40 of the nation’s leading insurance companies, giving them a free hand to offer the best coverages available at extremely competitive prices.
According to Mike Clemens, owner of Mike's Auto Repair in Orange, Conn., his GoodWorks agent has gone above and beyond expectations in servicing his account.
“She made the transition very easy for me and continues to be prompt in servicing my account,” said Clemens. “I have had to call her quite a few times for various changes, etc. and she takes care of it immediately and if needed, drives down to my shop. At my renewal she is right here making sure that my insurance needs are the same.”
In addition to commercial lines, GoodWorks offers a full spectrum of personal insurance solutions as well for everyone from the new homeowner and car purchaser to high-net worth individuals with multiple vacation homes and extensive art collections.
As for the charitable donations, GoodWorks has set a new standard in the insurance and financial world by pledging to give back half its operating profits every year to local non-profit organizations that are tackling important issues like education, healthcare and public safety. In an era when many of the world's leading financial institutions have sullied their reputations by shirking their responsibility to serve the public interest, GoodWorks is shaking up the industry with a bold commitment that its competition has not been able to match.
“We understand that people in this economic environment are tired of watching the financial industry suck up outsized profits without really contributing to the betterment of society,” said GoodWorks Chairman Chad Yonker, a resident of Litchfield, Conn. “At GoodWorks, we believe that giving back is not only the right thing to do—it's also good business. Our business strategy is designed to create a common purpose between GoodWorks, members of the community, and the non-profits that serve the community. The model demonstrates how a business can achieve strong growth and profitability while also committing to the strengthening of society in a real and tangible way.”
The concept gives community members an added reason to do business with GoodWorks rather than the agency around the corner or the corporate behemoth from outside community.
“We're a fiercely competitive company when it comes to offering customers best-in-class service and competitive prices, but we're not interested in keeping all the fruits of our success to ourselves,” said Yonker. “When we grow, our communities win, and this gives our firm and its employees a larger sense of purpose and pride in their work. It's what drives us.”
In the last several years, GoodWorks has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to dozens of local charities and non-profits, including the likes of Berkshire Community College, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Community Health Programs, and first responder teams throughout the region such as the Otis Rescue Squad, Sheffield Fire Department and South Berkshire Ambulance. At the same time, sales volume at its office on Main Street in the center of Great Barrington has increased by 20% to 30% every year, which is much faster growth than most insurance agencies are able to enjoy. This has pushed its customer base to over 10,000 customers throughout the Northeast and beyond.
Yonker, who took over the reins at the company last year, is investing more capital with ambitions to accelerate that growth—possibly through acquisitions of other insurance agencies, but also by expanding the firm's roster of insurance and investment professionals and adding to its suite of products and its range of expertise.
“We're hiring people with a mix of unconventional backgrounds—everything from business strategy consulting to wealth management to journalism,” said Yonker. “We believe we already directly represent more insurance carriers than any other agency in the Berkshires, and we're continually expanding and broadening the suite of services available to our clients. At the end of the day, we're about helping businesses and individuals lower their costs and manage their risks, and that service includes insurance but it also can expand far beyond that as well.”
At a time when the U.S. is facing an employment crisis and a protracted economic malaise, GoodWorks has been hailed by officials in its various markets as being a much-needed engine of economic growth and community support. Yonker has been asked to sit on the board of such entities as the New Milford Economic Development Corporation, where he serves as its Vice Chairman.
Yonker left a high-powered career on Wall Street to seek an entrepreneurial path that would bring him closer to Main Street America and the everyday struggles of small and medium sized business owners and their workers. He first invested in GoodWorks in 2008 after being impressed by its innovative approach to serving communities, and he became so enamored with the business that he eventually became the sole owner of the company and its Chairman last year.
“I think we've figured out a new paradigm for insurance that could transform the industry nationwide and beyond,” he said. Visit www.goodworksinsurance.com for more information.