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Amica Insurance: Where Customer Service Is No Laughing Matter

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My guest today is Vince Burks, Senior Assistant Vice President and Communications Director at Amica Mutual Insurance Company, whose headquarters are in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Welcome to OpEdNews, Vince.

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Joan Brunwasser: I understand that you have been with the company just shy of 30 years. That's more and more of a rarity these days. What attracted you to Amica in the first place?

Vince Burks: Hello, Joan. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to tell Amica's story.

Regarding what attracted me to Amica: To be very candid, it was close to 30 years ago, and I was simply looking for a job. I was on my way to an interview with a different company, and I walked by a head hunter's office. I asked him if it was OK if I stopped by after my interview to discuss other job opportunities.

So, later that afternoon when we met, he asked me three questions:

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1. Have you ever thought about working in the insurance industry?

2. Have you ever thought about being an adjuster?

3. Have you ever heard of Amica?

I politely responded that I had never thought about working in the insurance industry, being an adjuster did not particularly appeal to me, and I had never heard of this company called "Amica."

As we talked more, and he asked me more questions about myself, he told me that, regardless of my feelings, he felt that I would be a very good fit for this company. He said, "Trust me -- what do you have to lose? I will set up an interview for you at their local branch."

I went back home and attempted to do as much research as I could on Amica. I called the insurance agent that we used, and he told me he had never heard of them. I couldn't find anything in the library, either. Now, remember, this preceded the days of the Internet. Back in the 1980s, Amica did not do any advertising and was a very quiet company.

So, I went on the interview, still a little suspect. I interviewed with the branch manager of the Richmond office, who was very professional and a true gentleman. During the interview, I learned more about Amica, and my interest was sparked. My next step was to interview at the corporate office, located in Providence, Rhode Island.

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It was my trip to Rhode Island that really sold me. I interviewed with several executives, all of whom were very impressive. Everyone was extremely professional in demeanor and attire. I could tell it was an environment in which employees were happy and respected. I learned that my perception of the insurance industry not being an exciting place to work was untrue. There was much more to the adjuster position than what I realized. I also came to understand that this company I had never heard of was the best-kept secret in the industry.

JB: Thanks for setting the stage, Vince. The truth is that, 30 years later, Amica is still a well-kept secret. But it also has a very loyal customer base. How come? What sets it apart from other insurance companies?

VB: Amica is a well-kept secret in some parts of the country, but not all. We are well-known in New England and other parts of the country where we are targeting advertising dollars. Those who know us and have experienced our customer service tend to love us and stay with us. Our retention rate is well above 90 percent.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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