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English sees insurance as more than coverage

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By John Wolcott
HBJ Freelance Writer
Published: Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 3:52 p.m.
  • Kristie English heads one of Snohomish County’s leading independent insurance agencies, English Insurance Group in Lynnwood.

    John Wolcott / For HBJ

    Kristie English heads one of Snohomish County’s leading independent insurance agencies, English Insurance Group in Lynnwood.

LYNNWOOD — From her offices at English Insurance Group LLC, Kristie English continues to prove the value of her independent insurance agency by providing business and personal insurance coverage from a variety of companies, customized to meet each client’s individual needs at competitive prices.
Being a self-described “people person,” English prides herself on top-of-the-line customer service, working with such companies as Mutual of Enumclaw, Liberty Northwest, Oregon Mutual, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive.
“The value of being an independent agency is that we can offer clients exactly the insurance they need, from a variety of sources, and find the best pricing for them,” she said. “Most of our services focus on coverage for businesses of all sizes, including in-home businesses, adult family homes and nonprofit organizations. But we also deal in personal insurance for homes, vehicles, boats, classic cars and collectibles, condos, long-term care, medical needs, motorcycles, renters, recreational vehicles and offer an ‘umbrella’ liability coverage that offers a variety of protections.”
Business policies include protection for business owners, directors and officers liability coverage, inland marine, professional liability, earthquakes, floods, employment practices and group medical insurance.
Her mother, Marcia, founded the company and operated from downtown Edmonds for more than 20 years before moving the business to Lynnwood in 2005, when Kristie English joined the firm. Today, English is president and owner of the family business, which includes an all-woman staff, including her mother, who remains involved in the business.
English Insurance Group is one of Snohomish County’s leading independent insurance agencies, with clients throughout the Puget Sound area, from Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett, as well as in Oregon, Idaho, California and Nevada.
Many people don’t realize the advantages an independent insurance agent offers, English said. People may be paying more for insurance than necessary or getting inadequate protection. Insurance, she believes, is an important safety net for families, vehicle, businesses and other assets people have worked hard to accumulate, but it can also be a complicated realm to understand.
Agents writing insurance only for a particular company offer limited choices, and Internet insurance sources only offer quotes in response to online applications that are submitted without assistance from qualified professionals.
“Independent agents are licensed professionals with strong client relationships and local community involvement,” English says on her agency’s website, noting that on average they represent eight insurance companies to cover an array of client needs.
With a strong background in business and education, she draws on experiences in health care, banking, technology and teaching to understand the needs of people in those and related fields. Running a small business herself, English understands the needs of small businesses as well as those of larger ones with more employees and responsibilities.
“Counting both individual clients and businesses, we are involved with insuring generations of families, including their children, and that’s exciting to me because we know our clients so well. We focus on maintaining working relationships and understanding their businesses, families and changing needs,” she said.
English’s roster of out-of-state clients has grown, too, as families mature, businesses change hands, clients’ adult children start their own businesses or need to cover their own family needs. Often that involves serving families as they move out of state or jobs change. Some franchise business owners she works with need coverage in other states as their businesses grow and expand.
Much of the value English brings to her business, she believes, comes from her community involvement in Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and other groups. She’s vice president of the Washington State International Dyslexia Association board of directors and an active member of the board of the Little Red School House in Lynnwood, a nonprofit organization that supports children through age 3 who have developmental disabilities.
“I also have a private practice educational therapy business where I work one-on-one with students who struggle with reading and other academic challenges,” she said. In her spare time she enjoys teaching kids, reading and spending time with her family and friends.
She holds a master’s degree in special education. She’s certified as a management liability insurance specialist and is close to completing her construction risk and insurance specialist designation and is earning a certified insurance counselor designation.
English participates in Washington Business Week, an annual program held on college campuses to teach high school students how businesses function and how to build teamwork, all in a college environment that helps students explore post-graduation life options.
“We really try to help students understand what the business world is about and what opportunities could be there for them,” she said.
In her own business field, English realizes that people don’t usually know all of the insurance choices they have or which ones are right for them.
“That’s why, as an independent insurance adviser, I can offer them options they might not even know about,” she said. “That’s what sets us apart in the insurance industry. We are dedicated to serving all of our clients’ insurance needs, not just selling policies. A lot of businesses, as well as families, can’t take the time individually to learn about all the options I can offer them as an adviser on insurance.”
For more information, go to www.englishinsurancegroup.com, call 425-673-7948 or visit the English Insurance Group offices at 20016 Cedar Valley Road, Suite 203, Lynnwood.

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