With many independent agents, it is more than an agency. It is a family tradition, a legacy, and a landmark in their local communities. This couldn’t be truer than for Brent Phelan of Phelan Insurance Agency, Inc.
Founded by his grandfather, Bernard W. Phelan in 1949 in Versailles, Ohio, who led it for over a decade.
Brent’s father, James “Jim” Phelan attended Kent State University and had the opportunity to play in the NFL or attend law school. Instead, when he came home for Thanksgiving, Bernard asked him to come into the family business and had plans to send him to Lloyds of London to learn the intricacies of insurance. Sadly, by Christmas time, Bernard died suddenly, and Jim quickly became an insurance agent.
To say Jim hustled for his first trucking client, would be an understatement. He literally begged a friend to give him a chance. With a myriad of demands to get his business, he was able to build the foundation of his trucking client. Because of Jim’s hustle, the trucking business is about a third of their P&C business.
Brent and brother, Todd Phelan were literally raised with insurance. Living on a circle drive property, their house was on one side and their family insurance business on the other side of the property, with one phone between the two. Brent recalls always needing to be on his best behavior when the phone rang, because it was likely a client in need.
Phelan Insurance Agency remains to be a family tradition with both Brent and his brother, Todd Phelan leading the family agency. Now with two locations one in their birth city, Versailles and the other in Brent’s hometown with his family, West Chester, Ohio. The locations are very different with varying demands of what clients need but what binds them together is Phelan.
They operate under an important rule, not the golden rule, but the platinum rule – treat everyone the way they want to be treated. It is vitally important to their business to know their clients and allow their client to focus on what’s important to them, their family and business.
What’s unique about Phelan Insurance is they go beyond what an Independent Insurance Agency can offer. Both Brent and Todd, with unique backgrounds, can offer a comprehensive business operations plan that is integrated with the policy. Brent, a licensed attorney, and a former VP of Corporate Government & Compliance can offer assistance on business regulatory policies that allows the business owner to simply focus on making their business more successful.
And at the end of the day, all they want to ensure is this – Does the client feel they made the right decision by placing their business with Phelan Insurance.
Phelan Insurance, having a long legacy in Versailles, Ohio and now in West Chester, being integrated into the community has allowed them to have a deeper connection to the community.
They donate their time and efforts to what is important to their community. Being involved and leading programs including: Adopt-A-Highway, Community Meals, helping children and families with things like Adopt-A-Family and a Scholarship & Internship program, and every year being a big part of the Poultry Festival.
Phelan Insurance identifies what is important to their community and finds a way to further help. Including most recently with the COVID crisis. Phelan Insurance was able to donate the necessary protection of masks and other PPE to daycares and first responders, so they could focus on providing services to the community.
Finally, a very unique way Phelan Insurance gives back to the community is through their Mobile Driving Training Simulator. This virtual experience allows Phelan Insurance to help their clients test and train in a safe environment so they can properly prepare in various situations, like highway and city driving, weather elements, and practical driving tips for businesses and schools that have a fleet of vehicles.
We ask all OIA’s volunteer leaders, what advice can they offer to our Next Generation of insurance leaders and this is what Brent offers:
“Get in there and work early and smart for your first 3 years of professional experience. It is going to work much like compound interest where the return will continue to deliver greater returns in your future”.