This time each year is usually my favorite, where we look back at the past year and forward to the next. This year however, it doesn’t seem quite as much fun. We have seen many of our clients this past year, suffer from the affects of our economic slowdown and all the turmoil being generated out of Washington. We have even witnessed some closing their businesses, which is heartbreaking. Many others have had production cutbacks, employee layoffs, and still more fearing the future. After over 20 years in business, our firm had it’s first stagnant year. Our challenges, like those of our clients were and remain, difficult until the economy begins a recovery and Washington’s politics and decisions begin to support small businesses and stimulate some real growth. It’s been a difficult year for many, us included.
That being said however, we did have a number of highlights in 2009. First, we are pleased to announce that Andy Atwood of AGA Consulting, Inc. joined our firm as a sales consultant. Andy comes to us with extensive experience with Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) and other related businesses. He also has been working for a large regional insurance brokerage for the past three years adding to his extensive knowledge of insurance products. We look forward to working with Andy and his new clients going forward. Our company also teamed up with an online benefits administrator which allows our clients and prospects the ability to utilize universal health and ancillary applications, as well as employer specific human resource services. We have found it to be a very useful tools for all. Finally, through our direct market relationships, and also through our partner relationships, the Bates Insurance Group continues to add valuable commercial and personal lines insurance markets. We proudly added Indiana Insurance Company as well as Travelers Insurance Company. A growing variety of insurance company options allows us to better serve our commercial clientele. Both have been very aggressive this past year in writing business and we look forward to working with them in 2010.
Like many small business owners we too wish we had answers to the many questions that face our great nation. We will stay the course and continue to have faith that centuries of hard work and perseverance will continue to bless all Americans. On behalf of the Bates Insurance Group I wish you well and hope that 2010 is one of your very best.