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18Jan 2021

Broker Spotlight— Byron Johnston and Ernie Torgeson for Teague Insurance

Since 1954, Teague Insurance has cultivated a community of excellence dedicated to customer service in the San Diego region. The team behind this privately-owned business fosters each of their relationships with a foundation of trust, integrity, and protection. State Fund had the pleasure of speaking with Byron Johnston, President, and Ernie Torgeson, Vice President, about the ways they’ve been adaptable and successful during this pandemic.

Left – Byron Johnston; right – Ernie Torgeson

State Fund: How has the insurance industry responded to the recent changes due to COVID-19?

 Johnston: State Fund reacted really well at the onset of this. You came right out and provided relief for policyholders that other carriers eventually followed. The industry has exerted great effort communicating with policyholders and the broker community, doing an excellent job overall adjusting to these unique circumstances.

State Fund: What are some of the personal challenges you faced while navigating business in this new virtual environment?

Johnston: Continuing the semblance of culture has been a challenge. We had to pivot in short order, and accept this as the new normal. We had to let go of our past ways of doing things overnight. I think not having people in the office each day really changes the team dynamic. It’s difficult to have that feeling of togetherness.

State Fund: How did you adjust? 

Johnston:  One has to make a point to “connect,” with both our employees and customers.

Torgeson: When we pivoted away from the office it was a big shift, and we really started to see what matters. It’s not just in the work-world but in our personal lives as well. It really makes you take stock of what is important – our families and colleagues.

State Fund: How have you been able to nurture your client relationships?

Johnston: One of the things we are proud of is upping our community service. For example, we take meals over to a local hospital’s ICU every Wednesday night.

Torgeson: We go to a restaurant client for the hospital meals, and are at our 40th consecutive week of doing that. We are not only supporting the community, but also our clients. We typically provide 30+ meals for the nurses in the ICU. They really appreciate it.

State Fund: What has been your biggest takeaway from the pandemic?

Johnston: Collaboration–really working together in a team environment, there’s an embracing of trying to help each other out. I really do believe we enjoy seeing our teammates, as well as ourselves, get the ball across the goal line. There’s not a lot of self-interest here. It’s all about teamwork.

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