Ask Parker Beauchamp, CEO of Wabash, Indiana-based INGUARD, about the insurance business and he’ll tell you that it’s “old and cranky,” that it’s a dinosaur of a business dominated by aging, suit-clad men in dark offices selling Doomsday scenarios. It’s a concept, he says, that’s a particularly tough sell to today’s smartphone-wielding, all-important millennial generation.
Yet Beauchamp – the fifth generation owner of a family insurance and risk management firm started in the late 1800s – is also passionate about insurance. So much so that he’s wanted to do nothing else since the age of five. And that’s not just because he grew up in the milieu.
“I can’t really articulate my passion for insurance, but I have always liked taking care of people, protecting them and making them feel good about their lives,” he says. “It’s a part of my personality.”
Add to that the fact that Beauchamp is only 35 years-old and therefore one of the youngest CEOs in the insurance industry. Herein lies his forte, he says, his ability to see the world through the eyes of the new generation – his generation – and to bring them insurance and risk management solutions on their terms.
Planning for the Pay-It-Forward Generation
For INGUARD, millennials are an important and fast-growing demographic. “Insurance has to make sense to them, and like everything else, it has to compare with their other buying experiences,” Beauchamp says.
“Insurance has to make sense to Millenials. It has to compare with their other buying experiences.”
This means that insurance has to be part of a holistic plan, something that can enhance a millennial’s life and help to give that life a broader meaning. This generation is deeply engaged with the world, Beauchamp says. They have causes and issues that are important to them and they want to give back to their communities and beyond.
Millennials have interests, hobbies and passions (Beauchamp himself is a high-altitude mountain climber who has completed the summit of Alpamayo in Peru and scaled Forbidden Peak’s West Ridge in the North Cascades), so it’s important that insurance and risk management products enable the younger generation to do what they want to do.
“Millennials are extremely research driven – they have constant access points to peer groups and social channels, and they will only buy something where they feel there is value that will help them in their lives and in contributing toward something bigger and better,” Beauchamp says.
That’s why, for him, the insurance and risk management business is about much more than simply underwriting policies and selling products. To be successful in insurance, a business must be client centric and it needs to be driven by innovation and creativity.
“Sometimes, it’s about not selling an insurance product — it’s about telling people not to buy one kind of insurance product, but another,” Beauchamp says. “And when it comes to millennials, the key is staying constantly in touch and to realize that the answer isn’t here, that it’s constantly evolving and we have to continually figure out how to deliver the products and how they want the products delivered.”
Organic Growth, Global Expansion
Even in its previous avatar of Beauchamp McSpadden | Morrison Galliher, INGUARD – which does around $50 million in sales a year and was given that name in 2014 to create cohesiveness and clarity for clients — was never about peddling insurance products or maximizing commissions.
From the time when his forefathers and their colleagues would ride out on horseback to visit people in various parts of the state, the company has always engaged deeply with all its clients, Beauchamp says, and has been committed to helping them figure out exactly what they need and why.
“We’ve always been focused on holistic risk management and we’re creative and passionate about engaging with people,” he says. “We grew geographically in the early days, which set us up well for a 50-state expansion and an international platform.”
Most recently, INGUARD’s services have been sought out in India, where economic liberalization is creating great wealth for a number of different professionals, from Bollywood movie stars to doctors.
“These people have diversified income, they have endorsements, personal assets and so on, and each of these is a spoke in a wheel. We provide comprehensive insurance for their different businesses,” Beauchamp says.
INGUARD provides consulting services, insurance products and risk management strategies to individuals and families, businesses that specialize in niche markets, and portfolios with complex needs. The company strives to remain innovative, Beauchamp says, and to be accessible to a wide and diverse global audience.