Derek Sprouse, president of Sprouse Insurance joined the OIA board on January 1, 2021, and we are thrilled to have his experience and innovative mindset for our association and industry. Derek has an interesting background, and lucky for us he ended up following in the footsteps of the family business and joined the agency in 2006 to become the agency’s president in 2017.
Always the entrepreneur, Derek started his career in his pre-teen years mowing lawns and built that business around his dad’s business, literally, by mowing all the lawns up and down State Street where the family agency was situated. A family friend hired him to do more lawn service, and that same family friend gave Derek a very early start into learning how to frame houses during the housing boom when one of his employees did not show up for work. We will not disclose the age Derek was when he had this career lesson, as we’re pretty sure it broke all child labor laws! However, what he learned over 4 years of contractor work, really set him up for success because now he understands the solutions that are necessary for one of the agency’s niche markets, construction. Additionally, spending one too many hot days on a roof made him realize contracting work was not in his future.
Derek graduated from Ferris State University, Cum Laude, and obtained a dual degree in Selling Skills and Sales Operations and Marketing. He started at Sprouse Agency in 2006, nearly 50 years after his grandfather opened the business. Derek entered as the third generation of the family business, which included his dad, his grandfather; and even his grandmother who worked at the agency answering phones and handling administrative issues.
Sprouse Agency, a small-town agency, is deeply rooted in their community helping several initiatives that are important to their community’s thriving. They are very active in the 4-H Club, in fact, every year Derek and his two toddler sons attend the fair and ensure that every child can feel pride in their livestock project through the bidding process. No child leaves without a bid, because Derek is there to raise his hand to make a bid and more importantly, make that child feel a boost of pride. Derek just needs to keep his other hand on his sons’ hands because a little boy’s excitement can get carried away at an auction!
The other initiative that has a special place in Derek’s heart is Heartbeat Hope Medical Pregnancy Center. Derek’s mom was the executive director there until she passed, now Derek keeps her memory and her important work alive through donations to help serve their mission. In partnership with Hastings Insurance, they recently made a foundation donation to help assist those facing unplanned pregnancy find resources, information, and provide assistance for the mom to make a confident, life-affirming choice.
In addition to serving on the board of directors for the OIA, Derek is active in professional organizations that help enrich his connection in the community. He proudly serves as the third generation on the Board of Directors for Genoa Bank. He also is the president-elect for the Rotary Club of Fremont, and the Grange Young Agents Advisory board.
From all his volunteer opportunities, he feels a great connection to the Rotary Club because of its deep connection to the community. He does a lot of work with its Strive Program, that helps connects mentor to students that do not have a strong support system. One of the students that Derek mentored a few years ago, continues to stay in contact with him. Derek is so proud of his accomplishments and his updates whenever they connect.
All these connections and contributions that Derek has within the community expand into the agency, in fact, his team of 12 value these connections and take time to connect and volunteer in the community. It is through this process that made it easy for Derek and the team to shape out their agency’s values which are:
- Help our staff grow, develop, and have a great career. They all help inform younger people, from various industries to understand insurance and share what a great career it can be.
- Serve our customers first. They stay educated, attuned to changes, and stay connected to their clients to continue to build trust.
- Support and serve the community.
Serving their customer first is really their time to shine. If there is a claim that a client faces, this is the agency’s opportunity to step in and turn the client’s worst day, into one that can at least allow the client to sleep comfortably at night while Sprouse Agency handles everything else. That is the team’s goal, to ensure the client can be made whole again and can have a good night’s sleep.
Client experiences are a great way for the team at Sprouse Insurance to accelerate their knowledge and gain a better understanding of the claims experience. It is an opportunity that Derek takes seriously, ensuring his team is always set up for success, whether that is through education, direct experience with the client, and/or designation programs. He encourages his staff to explore these opportunities to improve upon their knowledge. As a result, the team is passionate about what they do and finds it easy to share their experiences and successes with others to change the mindset of insurance as a career.
Derek has done a lot to help change the mindset of our industry for the next generation of leaders. Prior to coming onto the OIA board, he has been extremely supportive and served as a mentor for youth and next-gen leaders. Derek leaves the next generation of leaders with this advice – Knowledge Is Power – it is what will provide you with the confidence you desire as you progress in your career. He encourages the pursuit of the CIC designation that really provided him with that next level of professionalism and knowledge.