Meghan Griffith Ragozzino is Vice President at The Griffith Agency. Founded in 1910 by Issac “Ike” Griffith, the agency has had great success with internal, generational family perpetuation. The agency passed its 100th anniversary about 10 years ago and the agency remains one of the oldest Independent Insurance Agencies in the Trumbull-Mahoning County area.
Over 100 years, 4 generations, and Meghan is the first female agent and owner. We started to dig into what it’s like being a female and running an agency in the insurance industry. Meghan shared she has seen an evolution in the last 20 years. Certainly, when she started there was a different feel to the industry. She always remembered everyone being nice and welcoming but recalled being asked to make coffee during a meeting. However, the upside was there was never a line at the restroom! She even recalled her grandmother being confused that she was going to go work for the family business.
Since those earlier years, things have certainly evolved and there is a lot more diversity in the industry. Meghan has even noticed there are lines at the women’s restroom now.
With a strong family background in insurance, and her decades of experience, she understands the complexities of insurance and prides herself on educating her clients so they understand what they are purchasing and how it will pay after a claim. The education part of the process is really the most important part of Meghan’s job. That piece of paper their client is purchasing is very expensive so it’s important to Meghan to ensure her client understands and feels empowered if anything should happen where they need Meghan and their policy.
Educating those that purchase or even those that don’t purchase is certainly a passion point for Meghan. In fact, the proudest moment she recalls is about 2 years ago, when their small-town high school, which their agency insures, was vandalized. Her kids were noticeably upset by the destruction and were concerned the big game wouldn’t happen. And in a small-town, that’s a BIG deal! Meghan was able to reassure them the game would go on because their mom and uncles would be working hard to repair the school and the stadium before game time. It was the first time it clicked for them and they felt proud to go to school and share with their friends that everything was going to be ok because of their mom and uncles! It was a good lesson for the entire town on what The Griffith Agency does; rebuilding lives so life can go on.
As for community service, the agency shares the love across all important organizations within the community including the local schools, the rotary, and the local chamber of commerce. However, the one organization that really resonates with Meghan is the local library which makes complete sense since education is at the core of everything she does.
You could hear the passion in Meghan’s voice as she shared what a treasure the local library is for their community, it’s the heart of the town. She loves the space it provides for children that may need a safe place to go as well as the ability to use the resources available, especially for lower income families. There are plenty of computers to use and a great place to do homework. Meghan has served on their Board of Directors for 15 years and is so proud of the programs they have been able to provide. Her favorites include Santa Claus coming to the library, summer programs, and reading incentive programs that award children for the more they read. The library has served as a great backdrop for kids during COVID, especially those that didn’t have access to technology. The library has been able to fill the gaps for families in need.
Surprisingly, even with COVID, the traffic coming to their agency has slowed down very little. It’s a small town, so people love to stop by, drop off payments, and stay and chat. Even during the height of the pandemic, The Griffith Agency never shut down since insurance was deemed essential. They implemented all the safety precautions, so people continued to feel comfortable to stop by. Meghan said they usually average about 5-10 people that stop by daily, but now even more since people are wanting that connection with others.
Meghan recognizes with the current conditions, they offer a multitude of ways of connecting, whether that be on the phone, through email, and now the ever-so-popular Zoom. Meghan offers individualized services, so the vehicle of communication preference is individualized as well. The most important thing is making that connection and ensuring her customers feel they are well informed.
When asked what advice Meghan has for the Next Generation of leaders, it was simple for her – “never lose sight of the clients and communications with them.” It’s easy to get bogged down with company partners, data and technology, the day-to-day business matters, “but our clients just want to talk to us and not get a machine.” All her clients get her undivided attention, because that’s what is the most important. Meghan genuinely feels these people are an extension to her family, and it’s clear from how often people stop by to talk, they feel the same way about Meghan.