Steve Brown, owner and president of Payne & Brown Insurance and Chairman of the Board of Directors for OIA, sat down with us, virtually of course, and shared his commitment to his clients, company partners, staff, community, and profession. It can all be summarized in three words, which also happen to be his agency’s core values – Professionalism, Integrity, and Loyalty.
Steve carefully selected these three values for his agency because his entire team values the industry and the importance of their clients’ needs and relationships with their company partners. Payne & Brown demonstrate professionalism every single day because they know this is the key to earning the respect of your clients, company partners,and peers. “The first thing you will notice when walking into Payne & Brown is it’s a bit like Cheers – where everyone knows your name”. Then, you will notice the professional appearance of the staff and the office because the entire team has immense pride for the Independent Agency System.
Furthermore, it is incredibly important to show integrity and always do the right thing for your clients. Inevitably there will be gray areas in insurance, but at the end of the day, you always must act with integrity and do the right thing.
Finally, the value of loyalty, starts with being loyal to yourself, then the client, and company partners. With 6 regional locations, it allows the team to stay connected and loyal within their community.
Steve is so committed to his profession, he will answer his phone 24/7/365, even holidays. It’s because Steve believes deeply in serving people beyond the initial signing of the policy and knows the needs of clients extend outside of the traditional business hours.
This is really what sets him apart, is his commitment and loyalty to the profession and showing integrity of being there at all hours of the day. These values come to life throughout the agency, daily, and it is these values that allows Payne & Brown and independent agents everywhere not to allow insurance to be a commodity.
When you initially meet Steve, the first thing you will find out about him is he is 100% a family man. With his wife and 4 stunning daughters, it is very likely if he is not at the office, he is doing something important with his family.
Loyalty is not only an agency value, but a personal value that shines through because Steve feels strongly that family comes first. Even though professionalism is important, family is more important and when you are hired into the Payne & Brown Family that is a value that is true to every staff member!
Being a family man, allows Steve to understand the importance of being an insurance professional because protecting client’s assets are vitally important. And there is no greater asset than your family and ensuring the ones you love are protected.
The current COVID crisis has really highlighted the importance of being an independent insurance agent for Steve as he has had many opportunities to check in with clients to see how they are doing. Furthermore, many of those phone calls have been coupled with the good news of a rate relief. With customers driving less, many carriers are offering discounts and rate reliefs.
For Steve, it has been incredibly rewarding to share with his tenured clients the news of him sending them a check! In fact, one client was so elated by the refund, she took her relief check, spent it at the grocery store and donated the groceries to her church’s food pantry – truly paying it forward!
Paying it forward is exactly what Steve does within his community for over a decade he has volunteered his time with WARM – Westerville Area Resource Ministry, an organization dedicated to helping people within the community to get back on their feet with everything from food to finding a job. What started out as a budding volunteer opportunity for his daughters has blossomed into a commitment to his community as a volunteer and a board leader, helping the direction of the organization. He loves the people, connecting with his community and forming life-long friendships.
Additionally, he is committed to the OIA as a volunteer leader. He has been involved with our association for 12 years, serving on several committees including the company relations, finance and budget, and internship committees. He has served on our board for 8 years and is currently the Board Chair. His proudest moment in volunteering with OIA was merging the Ohio PIA and the BIG I, benefiting all Independent Agents across the state of Ohio as a stronger organization. “Both organizations had fantastic and dedicated people, but the merger created a stronger, unified voice to better serve Independent Agents.”
When asked for words of wisdom to the Next Gen Agency force, he leaves you with this –
“Be proud of what you do, showing professionalism when protecting people’s assets and future.
Have integrity. There will always be gray areas in insurance, always choose to do the right thing.
Be loyal to your clients, your company partners, be loyal to your profession.”
About Payne & Brown
Payne & Brown Insurance Agency launched in 1965 in Jerry Payne’s Sunbury, Ohio home. After his retirement in 1992, Steve Brown took over the agency coming from an underwriting position of five years at a regional insurance carrier.
Today, Payne & Brown Insurance Agency has evolved into writing personal and business insurance coverages through six independent office locations throughout Ohio, including Sunbury, Danville, Marengo, Johnstown, Delaware and Upper Sandusky.