NEW LEXINGTON — Thompson’s Insurance is seeing its 90 year anniversary in 2020. From its original establishment, the business has seen the evolution of society while still staying loyal to local customers.
“We have been in business for 90 years,” Steve Thompson stated.
Thompson’s grandfather, L.L. Bob Thompson, started a vision of his local insurance business in 1930 and established it in the same year. During that time in the United States, the Great Depression was occurring, putting major roadblocks for those who still wanted to become business owners of that time.
“We were always proud of his courage to just reach out and try it,” Thompson said.
Ford was becoming more popular in America at the time. Thompson’s grandfather knew little about insurance and other services but told his local community members to reach out to him if they had damage to their vehicles. After helping and assisting with the clients who had damages, he knew his insurance business would succeed.
Seeing how well his grandfather’s business was doing, Thompson saw an opportunity for him to get involved. Around the year 1974, when Thompson was enrolled at Ohio State University, he started working for the family business during the summer months.
Thompson attended OSU to pursue education in the area of business administration. After finishing up at OSU, he knew the family business was the career path for him.
“After going to Ohio State, I came in and knew that I wanted to do this as a career to keep the family business going,” Thompson commented.
In the second generation of family members, Jimmy D. Thompson, Thompson’s father, took over the family business after L.L.. He explained that his father was eager for his son to join the insurance business after college.
“He said, we need you, when are you coming back,” Thompson recalled.
Thompson learned many things when he was brought onboard to Thompson’s Insurance. Almost immediately, he understood the meaning behind good service and how it matters in a small community such as New Lexington.
“Service is everything,” Thompson commented. “It has kept us in business through all the hard times and the good times. We are blessed with many loyal customers.”
In the turn of the century, technology became a major factor in the day to day operations of the business. The use of physical paper material became somewhat obsolete bringing services to a more consolidated model.
“Policies were actually issued by typists,” Thompson explained.
Making things easier, yet harder at the same time, some jobs in the business became unnecessary. Changes in the technological evolution and the creation of the internet streamlined work making the family business able to operate at a high capacity.
Thompson stated that throughout the good years and tough times, customers continue to walk in to take advantage of the services Thompson and his staff offer. In a rough estimation, currently, the insurance business helps around 2,100 people in the area. He added that some of those customers go back to generations of others who used Thompson’s Insurance.
What has set Thompson’s Insurance apart from other big brand companies is the ability to be accessible at a moments notice. Thompson stated that it is not unusual for a customer to contact him via cellphone emphasizing the local aspect of business operations.
The office in New Lexington is also open on Saturdays offering services during the weekend. Thompson stated that weekend hours of operation is typically “unusual” and unique given today’s standards in the industry.
Insurance can be a tough thing for new customers to understand. Thompson’s Insurance helps customers go through the claims process when they have questions. If it’s a first time visit, Thompson and his staff make it a point to help assist customers.
Part of what has made Thompson Insurance such a staple in the community is the work staff does outside the office. Thompson stated that highlights of the past 10 years has been the involvement in community events and offices has made Thompson’s Insurance a local staple. Trent Thompson, his son, currently serves as the Village Mayor making his face noticeable when he works at the office.
“I think some of the highlights have been a strong interest in each of our leaders here in our office being so involved in the community,” Thompson said. “Whether it’s government, whether it’s chamber of commerce, whether it’s coaching softball and little league teams — that was instilled in us.”
He added that several employees serve on boards focussing on public projects and other programs in the Village.
Ever since the Great Depression, Thompson’s insurance has seen many challenges over the past decade alone. Thompson stated that competition in the area has become “keen” as some locals go with big name insurance companies.
“More people forget about the urgency of having someone local to handle their needs at times,” Thompson commented.
Communication has also become somewhat of an issue even with the advancement of technology. Thompson stated that fairly recently, getting in contact and locating customers has become a roadblock. This is due to locals preferring cellular devices rather than landlines. Basic broadband is also an issue as some areas in the county are known to be digital deserts.
“Unfortunately, not all of Perry County has internet so we can’t just rely on that element as well,” Thompson explained.
In order to contact customers, Thompson’s Insurance has generated strategies to help with the communication difficulty. Thompson stated that his staff has been contacting customers via cell phone along with writing letters. The staff also practices face-to-face services to help customers better understand the process.
Thompson’s Insurance has also ventured into the medical service aspect of insurance. The service helps customers gain the ability to purchase medical supplements.
In the Buckeye Lake region, Thompson Insurance opened its second office in Thornport. Thompson said that the projects and development in the area presents an exciting opportunity for locals to take advantage of the local business’ services.
The branch office was established in 2003 becoming fully staffed in 2010. The opening of the branch office created two new jobs in the county adding the development of job growth in the region.
Thompson Insurance has been a main staple in the community surviving for 90 years. From its establishment, the office and staff has been committed to serving the community in any way, shape, or form in and out of the office setting.
Thompson stated that for the next decade, his business will do its best to not stray from the local aspect of its model.
In the next year, Thompson stated that his business will undergo renovations in the office around the time the New Lexington street scape will occur. The building is rather old and the staff is excited to see what the new office space will look like after the streetscape project is all done. The project that will improve the street infrastructure is set to take place this summer.