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WGBCO Origins: Starting as a Personal Insurance Agency

Written by: Stephen Bender, CEO/President

WGBCOSignIn 1938, with the world positioning for another war, it probably wasn’t the best time for Warren Bender, the only son of a small Hamilton City (south west of Chico) farmer, who was married with two small children, to take a leap of faith and go from his steady accounting position into the insurance business. But he liked people. Moreover, he liked helping people and he was raised to believe that hard work, doing good things, and believing in yourself would ultimately win the day.

You have to start somewhere, usually on the “ground floor”, right? And with insurance that would be working with families, one at a time, and their need to protect what they have worked hard to earn: a home, a farm, a car. Think about it; eminent war, post great depression – working families didn’t have much money, and certainly could not “afford” to lose what possessions they had.

So whether it was over a kitchen table, or while sharing a sandwich during their lunch break, Warren listened, felt the need of each person he met and carefully designed a personal insurance program that met their needs. Fire insurance (they didn’t have “Homeowner’s policies” back then), car insurance, maybe a small amount of life insurance. Whatever it ended up being, it was mutually agreed that it was what they needed, at that time, and yes, every year, Warren would personally meet with his customer, to make sure that their changing needs were met.

Today we regretfully commoditize personal lines insurance…and that is wrong. Quick, impersonal, one-size-fits all? Really? I don’t think so. Insurance is complicated and properly designed insurance takes time, discussion, education, evaluating the pluses and minuses of various insurance carriers, and serious reflection on a person’s needs, now and in the future. Those clients in Warren’s beginnings? Before the war, during the war, and for many years after the war, they worked hard and started businesses. Those businesses grew. After coming back from the war himself, Warren continued to meet with, take time with, and listen to his clients and yes, “do” good things, one client at a time. Some things don’t change and certainly Warren G. Bender Co.’s commitment to excellence and to serve our clients the way they deserve is one of them.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 8:12 pm June 27, 2016