Mission Matters – Bill Bishop

About Bill Bishop

Bill Bishop, President and CEO of Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc., has advice for the insurance industry’s next generation, “You have to be involved, you have to be educated and be a part of the solutions… You can’t sit on the sidelines.” From the Alumni Board and Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Defiance College, to The Rotary Club, his local Chamber of Commerce, and multiple terms on OIA’s committees and boards, Bill Bishop’s career journey epitomizes the philosophy he advocates.

After graduating from Westerville South High School, Bill attended Defiance College, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 1993. He embarked on his professional journey in the banking sector, initially serving as a Loan Officer and Branch Manager at State Savings Bank. Subsequently, he transitioned to Nationwide Insurance Company, utilizing his banking expertise as a Loan Servicing Analyst in the Office of Real Estate Investments.

In 1996, a friend of Bill’s father, John Bishop, an insurance industry veteran himself, presented Bill with a remarkable opportunity to acquire Jennings-Meredith-Tullis Insurance Agency, even before he had obtained his license. Recognizing the potential to forge his own path, Bill took a leap of faith, believing that everything would fall into place. His gamble proved successful as he not only passed the licensing exam but also purchased the agency and merged it with Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc. during the same year. Bill assumed the role of Managing Partner in 2008 from his mentor Terry Kelso, who is also an OIA past president and a respected industry leader.  Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc. was originally established in 1923 as a small local independent insurance agency that specialized in providing automobile, homeowner, and business insurance to the residents of central Ohio. Today, Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc. comprises a team of 36 professionals across four office locations, serving as representatives for over 20 insurance companies.

Bill takes pride in his agency being one more support system in place for his clients, both commercial and personal. He finds great satisfaction “any time you can help in times of need and give back in tough situations, help people become whole again.” The speed with which things move within the industry is the most significant change Bill has noted since his career’s beginning. Independent agents possess greater agility and adaptability compared to carriers, enabling them to navigate and embrace change more effectively. He feels this is why the Independent Agency channel continues to expand.

Professionalism, integrity, and passion are Associated Insurance Agencies’ core values, and his team brings those values to life. He wants their clients to associate a certain expectation when looking at their logo. “Professionalism blankets a lot of components – we want everything we do to be handled with the utmost professionalism.” He continues, “Customer service should be outstanding, do what is right, and remember that every transaction involves someone else’s livelihood.”

Bill’s volunteer service is as impressive as his professional career, as he devotes his time to various community, political, and educational initiatives. In 1997, he became a member of The Rotary Club of Westerville and joined The Defiance College Alumni Board in 1998, a few years after graduating. He continued to serve until 2005, fulfilling the role of President during the final two years. Bill has actively participated in several committees for the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, including the Board of Trustees, and was recognized as the Westerville Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business Person of the Year. Presently, he contributes his time and expertise to the Executive Committee of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Council. Additionally, he holds the position of Chair for the Delaware County Finance Authority and serves as Vice Chair for the Safeco Insurance Advisory Council.

OIA has been fortunate to benefit from Bill’s involvement and leadership. He has served on several committees such as the Technology Committee, Agent Resource Committee, and Government Relations Committees. From 2010 to 2015, he served on OIA’s Board of Directors during the merger of PIA and OIA. Currently, Bill holds the position of OIA’s Big “I” National Director and recently participated in the Big “I” National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Throughout his tenure, Bill has consistently supported the association’s work and readily volunteered his services when called upon. When considering the role, Bill expressed his belief that he could make a significant contribution to the association on the legislative front and expressed enthusiasm about attending upcoming events. In 2022, OIA presented Bill with the Independence Bell Award, which honors an individual who has significantly contributed to the betterment of the independent agency system and OIA.

Of his work advocating for small businesses, Bill says, “I’m a strong proponent of small business owners being involved in the policymaking process. We need to make certain our voices are heard and that our elected officials are focused on making Ohio a business-friendly state and our rule-writers on making compliance as easy and cost-effective as possible.”

In addition to his professional pursuits and civic engagement, Bill reveals that he has developed a newfound interest in Formula 1 racing, largely sparked by the Netflix docuseries “Drive to Survive.” He had the opportunity to attend the Miami Grand Prix in May and has even participated in driving courses at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Bill and Jennifer, his wife of 27 years, are proud parents to two sons, Ryan (26) and Christopher (21), who have also caught the racing bug. The Bishop household has also enthusiastically joined the pickleball craze, fully embracing the trending sport.

Bill says his agency’s primary source of new business stems from referrals and networking. Through cultivating a client base that fosters referrals, he emphasizes the importance of community engagement extending beyond business transactions. He aspires to be a supportive partner to clients, actively involved in the community and their endeavors. He takes pleasure in listening to people’s stories and discovering shared experiences. “This industry provides opportunities to meet individuals one wouldn’t have encountered otherwise,” he remarks. Bill aspires to be primarily recognized as “a community guy” and “a family guy,” rather than solely an insurance professional. However, he hopes that when people think of insurance, he is the first person to come to mind.

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