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Delmonico turns to small, family businesses for growth

SYRACUSE  —  A focus on the family has helped Delmonico Insurance Agency grow — a focus on family-owned businesses that is.

“It’s client acquisition, picking up new clients,” says J.D. Delmonico, who owns the agency with his father, Joseph (Jed) Delmonico. “It really is just pounding the pavement. Family businesses have been our largest segment of growth, more so than any other segment or industry.”

The insurance agency anticipates 8 percent revenue growth in 2013, which would be consistent with its projections for 2012 and its performance in 2011. The Delmonicos declined to share any specific revenue totals, however.


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Recent economic conditions have challenged the agency’s ability to maintain growth, says Jed Delmonico. For example, people have tended to own older cars, driving down automobile insurance premiums. And businesses that lay off employees or have become hesitant to hire make things difficult for insurance agents, he adds.

“If employers have less employees, our premiums are going to be lower,” says Jed Delmonico. “So we ended up having to get more businesses and bring them in.”

Delmonico Insurance Agency is an independent agency representing about 30 national and regional insurance companies. It offers business insurance, family insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, and health insurance.

Its efforts to attract more small and family-owned firms align nicely with a renewed emphasis on doing business locally, Jed Delmonico says. That stress on local relationships has always been strong in Central New York, but it seems to have grown in the last five years, he adds.

He chalks it up in part to insurance companies merging, largely eliminating a personal feel in the industry.

“We’re offering that feel,” Jed Delmonico says. “If you want to talk to an owner of the business, we’re right there. You don’t have to go through layers and layers of managers and operations to get a decision made.”

Delmonico Insurance Agency has two offices: its headquarters at 901 Lodi St. in Syracuse and another office at 39 Jordan St. in Skaneateles. The agency leases about 4,000 square feet from Joseph Falcone in Syracuse and about 2,000 square feet from landlord Charles Richard in Skaneateles, Jed Delmonico says.

The Delmonicos wouldn’t say exactly how many people their agency employs. It has “under 40” workers, according to Jed Delmonico. More employees are based in Syracuse than in Skaneateles, he says.

The agency has hired three new employees in the past year to keep up with its growth. And it has plans to hire more employees in the future. But Jed Delmonico declined to share specific hiring projections, citing the competitiveness of the insurance business.

“We’re selling a product that everyone has,” he says. “It’s a very competitive business.”

Standing out in such an industry is about relationships and high-quality service, Jed Delmonico continues. He points to his agency’s preparation for Hurricane Sandy last week. Employees were ready to work from home to handle clients’ questions in the event one of Delmonico’s physical locations had to be closed, he says. He, J.D. Delmonico, and Director of Operations Ryan Trombino checked for emergency calls throughout the night the storm swept over Central New York, he adds.

“What are we selling?” Jed Delmonico says. “We’re selling great coverage with personal care.”

For proof of the agency’s growth, he cites a recent award from Travelers Insurance. The insurer gave Delmonico its Insurance Agent of the Year Award for New York State for 2011. That award is given out based on agencies’ growth and profitability, Jed Delmonico says.       


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