158: The NCEO, Scott Insurance, & the EO Community



Bret Keisling is joined by Chad Duke and Pim Jager of 100% employee-owned Scott Insurance who discuss Scott’s 150+ year history and how EO drives its culture and success. Loren Rodgers at the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) connects the dots between EO companies and the broader EO community, and the importance of collaborations such as NCEO’s new captive insurance programs.


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Episode 158 Transcript


Bitsy McCann: [00:00:00] Welcome to The EO Podcast, where we amplify and celebrate all forms of employee ownership.

Bret Keisling: [00:00:12] Hello, my friends. Thank you for listening. My name is Bret Keisling and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. Today I am joined by Loren Rodgers of the National Center for Employee Ownership and Pim Jager and Chad Duke of Scott Insurance. They appeared last week on Episode 142 of the ESOP Mini-cast, where they discussed the NCEO's new captive insurance programs. I really encourage you to check out the Mini-cast. But here is a brief summary.

OWN Risk is the name of the general liability auto and workers comp plan-- OWN Risk. If you have about $200,000 worth of claims, give or take, it's certainly worth investigating. And the further north of 200,000, the more you really want to take a look. OWN Health is the health benefits program. The threshold is about 50 employees. Maybe a little bit less works, but boy, the more employees you have, the more beneficial this is going to be to your company. You can get more information at nceo.org/insurance and we'll include a link in our show notes.


The insurance programs are up and running and already attracting members. They're only open to employee-owned companies and on the Mini-cast, you'll hear why that's so important, and you'll also hear a good explanation of captive insurance plans. It's certainly going to benefit the companies that participate. It's going to benefit NCEO. It's going to benefit the broader employee ownership community. So, I want to encourage everybody to take a look at that captive program.


Today's episode is an expanded conversation that we recorded after we finished the Mini-cast. You'll learn about Scott Insurance, which was established 150 years ago and has been an ESOP since 1975. You'll hear how employee ownership drives the culture at Scott Insurance. And Loren Rodgers will help connect the dots regarding EO/ESOP, culture, collaboration, and building a more vibrant EO community. And we'll also have the EO "A-ha Moments" from Pim and Chad.


We're also including bonus content in this episode. The Mini-cast episode was a little bit long and there's a conversation with Loren that didn't make it to the Mini-cast, but we're going to tack it on at the end because I think he shares some important and interesting thoughts. If that isn't enough, we'll conclude this episode by sharing a discount code that will save you $25 when you register for the NCEO's Fall Forum to be held this September.


With that, let's get this conversation started.

Bret Keisling: [00:03:03] Friends, recently we had a podcast where we announced NCEO's captive insurance program created in partnership with Scott Insurance. This is a further extension of that conversation. So first of all, I do want to welcome back Loren Rodgers of [the] NCEO. Hi, Loren.


Loren Rodgers: [00:03:18] Hi, Bret.


Bret Keisling: [00:03:19] Good to see you again. And Chad Duke vice-president of Scott Insurance. Chad, how are you?


Chad Duke: [00:03:24] I'm great, Bret, thank you again for having me.


Bret Keisling: [00:03:26] And Pim Yager, welcome back. Great to see you; also vice-president, you're the captive practice leader. Thank you for coming on.


Pim Jager: [00:03:32] Yeah. Glad to be here.


Bret Keisling: [00:03:33] So as a companion piece to the episode where we talked about the captive insurance, we do like to get a look under the hood at the employee-owned companies, and Loren's here for that as well. Pim, can you tell us, Scott Insurance became an ESOP as near as I can tell about a year after Congress authorized ESOPs. So, you folks are one of the grand pappies.


Tell us about Scott Insurance, please.


Pim Jager: [00:03:55] Yeah, we'd love to. You're right. Scott was one of the first ESOPs in the country, certainly one of the first in Virginia. We became an ESOP in 1975. But our heritage as an agency actually goes all the way back to 1864. So, we consider ourselves to have two birthdays at Scott. One being 1864 which was as far back as our original business charter goes. And then 1975, when we became an ESOP. And that really, I think, defines the modern-day Scott Insurance, because of what the ESOP has meant to us from a cultural perspective and from a business growth perspective for all of us as owners.


We're a large, independent brokerage and consulting firm focused in the insurance industry. I work in the employee benefit side, Chad on the property casualty side. But we also are a full-service agency: personal lines, insurance, bonds. And then certainly, as is probably relevant to some of the conversations we've been having in regards to the NCEO, we were also experts in the captive insurance world as well, too.


We have nine offices that cover the mid-Atlantic and into the Southeast. That's where our physical brick and mortar locations are. But important to note that obviously we have clients across all 50 states, serve really a national footprint. And that's a little bit about us.


Bret Keisling: [00:05:07] So Pim, let me ask, and then I want to talk about you personally in your experience as an employee owner, but I came to realize that as you were speaking, I've got all of my various insurance carriers and that sort of thing, but I don't, I'm 10 years past where I've ever met my agent, like in terms of looking and finding someone to provide services if Scott Insurance is a good fit for somebody anywhere in the country, there's no reason not to do business with Scott Insurance. Am I right?


Pim Jager: [00:05:36] That's correct. And we're licensed to work in all 50 states and so can certainly serve the broader ESOP community, wherever they reside and yeah, when we're talking about B2B kind of the commercial insurance aspects that Chad and I really work in, obviously there's a lot of in face or face to face personal right meetings and contact, but we can certainly also virtually serve groups on their individual insurance needs as well, too.


Bret Keisling: [00:06:01] Excellent. So Pim, let's stick with you for a minute or two, and then we'll bring Chad in. How long have you been in Scott Insurance? And just tell us a little bit about your role there.


Pim Jager: [00:06:11] Yeah. So, I joined Scott over 15 years ago. And my story is one that I didn't really intend to get into the insurance business. I was working for a large multinational company in the HR and benefits administration space and really got introduced to Scott Insurance through mutual clients. And I fell in love with the company. I got to meet a lot of the employee owners. I loved what they represented. I loved how they serve their clients. And it intrigued me enough to say how can I get to work for a company like Scott Insurance? And that's what really led me down the path of becoming an insurance professional, insurance consultant. It was never the idea to really get into insurance, but it was what I saw exhibited by the other employee owners of Scott Insurance that really intrigued me and led me to wanting to be part of Scott.


Bret Keisling: [00:07:03] And you, obviously, are in a field that you could work anywhere geographically. If you can sell, we're probably the same philosophy that if you can sell, you can sell anything. So not just are you in that field and not just you’re at Scott but being an employee owner has become very important to you as well.


Pim Jager: [00:07:21] Yeah, I would say that it's huge. It's huge in two ways. It's huge for me personally. Obviously in the fact that what I do day to day is try to solve problems for my clients in regards to health insurance. No surprise to anybody listening that and probably something that they feel, right? That costs are going up. People are getting less. It's a frustrating world, right? There's not a lot of understanding about what drives cost increases. And it's programs that oftentimes employees don't understand very well.

So, my challenge is how do I serve those businesses to help manage their expenses, bring better benefit value to their employees, and create an environment in which we can better educate employees on what their insurance programs are and how to maximize the insurance that they have. And the only way that I feel like I can effectively do that is if I'm able to innovate, if I'm able to be nimble and really address each client uniquely and say, what is best for that client? In trying to serve in that way, employee ownership is really key. Because I have a structure around me as an employee-owned company, where I'm given the license to go explore innovative new ideas. I'm not told how to serve my clients. I'm asked on a daily basis, what do you need to better serve your clients?


And that, to me, is the key to how employee ownership helps me better serve my clients. So that's one piece.


The second piece to me that I think is really important is that I don't serve my clients singularly. When I engage with a client, it's not just, hey, this is the Pim Jager show, and I know everything that you need to know about solving your problems from a health insurance or an employee benefits perspective. It's about the team that I'm able to surround myself with that are highly motivated to serve, they're highly educated, right? And they, too, feel like they've been given license to be innovative and serve the client in unique and creative ways.


An ESOP structure allows us to attract that talent that I want to be there with me, side-by-side with me, to solve those client's problems. And so that helps my client get better outcomes. And boy, then it's also really a lot of fun because we're doing business, right, together with other owners who are all pulling in the same direction and all benefiting from it when we do it well,


Bret Keisling: [00:09:47] And it is really cool that you have that internally at Scott, but then, and you don't deal exclusively with employee-owned companies but I imagine when you're dealing with an employee-owned client -- and let us be clear, you would love to have non-employee-owned companies, hire you and buy your products -- but it's got to be especially cool if you and your team coming from the employee ownership background are looking or working with a potential client who's also employee ownership because your shared values transcend so much more beyond insurance.


Pim Jager: [00:10:19] Yeah, there's no doubt about that, right? That when we have clients that are also, ESOPs, there's a natural synergy there that they see and they understand that hey, we're all here to serve our shareholders. We are all here to make life better both for our shareholders in the capacity of serving them and then our focus is how do we make life better for that company's shareholders and their families. And so, it becomes a very personal task that we take on. Sometimes insurance is focused on the numbers and the transactions. But when I think about what we do day to day, it very much is about how do we improve the lives and the quality of life of those employee owners and their families. And when we do our work, I really do feel like we are able to make that impact. And yes, it's easier, I think, for other ESOP companies to understand how our ESOP values will help them achieve those goals. But certainly not unique to an ESOP relationship.


Bret Keisling: [00:11:19] Pim, last question for you and you've talked about the importance of employee ownership to you. We characterize them on the podcast as the EO "A-ha Moment," that moment where we heard something, not where it was good, not where it was hey this could work, but a transformative, holy moly, this is changing everything. Have you had what you consider to be an EO A-ha moment?


Pim Jager: [00:11:41] Yeah, my EO A-ha Moment probably takes me back to six months into my employee ownership journey at Scott. One of the things that frustrated me tremendously about working in a large publicly held business prior to coming to Scott was this idea that when I needed resources or I needed something to serve my clients oftentimes along that search, that journey, I would get a lot of, yeah, I get what you need, but that's not my job. And that statement was probably the most frustrating statement that I would hear over and over again working for a large, publicly held company.


When I got to Scott, one of the things that I made a note of that I was going to really pay attention to was: did I ever hear that phrase? Did that come across my desk at Scott? And about six months into my tenure I was having dinner with my wife, and she asked me, she said, how do you feel about your decision to go work for Scott Insurance now that you've been there for six months. And I told her, I said, I feel great about it. And the benchmark that I used is, honey, I've been working at Scott for six months and I have yet to hear anybody in the entire company say out loud, that's not my job. Because as employee owners, it's always our job. Serving the client is our job and so to me, that was that A-ha Moment that was something that has never resurfaced in my business language since and that's a pretty good 15-year run, I think.


Bret Keisling: [00:13:14] I love that! And what it really was when your wife asked you about your decision, your A-ha Moment was actually summarizing the entire vibe of the company. That is really cool. Thank you for that Pim.


Chad let's switch over to you and let's maybe do it in reverse. Let's get to how you came to Scott and what you're doing there, but let's start have you had an EO A-ha Moment?

Chad Duke: [00:13:38] Absolutely. And I think mine was pretty early in my career, same as Pim, and a lot of it has to do with kind of my journey to finding Scott Insurance. My wife is a physician and at the time when I started my career in the insurance industry, I worked for a large publicly traded global insurance brokerage firm that trained me well and really started me out on the right path. But it became very apparent they were not very flexible in how they wanted me to do my job. My wife at the time was in medical school and then in surgical residency and we're working 80 hours a week and we had two young boys at the time, and I just knew I didn't have the flexibility and freedom to really have the family life that I wanted to have to be able to support my wife's career as well.


And so it was a path that just took me to find Scott Insurance. I wasn't looking to join an employee-owned company. It really found me because I started telling recruiters and people that were helping me on my path that I want to go work for a company that allows me to put my family first. I want to work for a company that also is innovative and allows me to compete with the big global brokers of the world. I quickly found my way to Scott and ultimately, they spent more time in the interview process asking me about my wife and my kids and what I wanted out of a good family life. And it was just so important to me.


And so, really my A-ha Moment was in during the interview process with Scott, where I knew they were going to give me the ability to, one, serve my clients at a really high level. Compete with the biggest and baddest brokerage firms in the world. But at the same time, I had the ability to put my family first when my wife really needed me because she was working so hard in her journey to becoming a surgeon.


And that was really my A-ha Moment. And it's interesting Pim's on this call with me and Pim's wife, Robin and my wife Meredith are good friends and they've met each other at different company functions. And it's something that is really important, not just to Pim and I, but the leadership across our organization. That it's more than just about you. It's about your employee owners, but also your families at home because they want us to all be successful because if the company grows, it allows everyone that feel and just create, it just creates that culture of family and accountability and success, which is a great place to be.


Bret Keisling: [00:15:50] I love that. Chad or Pim, anything else you would like to share about your own experience? Because I do have a couple of questions for Loren, but anything about your own experience or paths that you'd like to add?


Chad Duke: [00:16:02] Pim did such a good job speaking to who we are at Scott. And one of the things that we've seen in our industry from an insurance perspective is there's just been a tremendous amount of consolidation that has taken place, where you have private equity and larger organizations coming in and buying firms like Scott, right? Regional, strong regional firms and that's something that we have just never been interested in. And our leadership team has been very vocal about our desire to remain independent. And I say that because we just believe the stability we have at Scott allows us to serve our clients at such a high level. I've been in presentations with prospective clients where I've said guys we're not client first, we're colleague first. Because if we put our colleagues first, if I put my employee owners first and make sure that they have a great place to work every day, that they've got a great sense of community and family in the office, and they just enjoy coming to work every day, they're going to provide client service above and beyond anything that our competitors are providing. And so that’s one of themes that I try to say and remind my clients of, hey we provide such good service because we're colleagues first, we're not clients first.


Outside of that, it's just, Scott's a great place to work and we've got such a tremendous culture of employee ownership and it's something I'm really proud of.


Bret Keisling: [00:17:20] Loren, if I can ask you a couple of questions and they're themes that we've had on the podcast with other guests that you can tie together. One of the things that I've been looking at on different podcasts is the conversation about legacy. We often use as a selling point to selling shareholders, that you can preserve your legacy by selling to the employees, that you are not purchased by a major competitor, you're not stripped for parts and jobs moved away. You preserve your legacy. But what came to mind when we were talking about Scott Insurance that started in 1860s and converted in 1975, we didn't even get to whether there actually was somebody named Scott it was so long ago. So, for a company Loren, that's converting to an ESOP, at what point it's about preserving the founder's legacy. And I think it came up on a podcast with our friends at Davey Tree. At some point you're actually working to create your own legacy as employee owners. It's that next phase. Do you agree with that? Or do you have any thoughts on that?


Loren Rodgers: [00:18:25] That's a great question, Bret, and I'm pretty sure that 109 years is enough time to get there. My take on that is that it's a little bit like what do you call that legacy? It might be the same set of values and maybe the same approach that the founder brought there. And maybe it's just who feels ownership over it? Are we talking about the same values that the owner had, but now they feel like our collective values or does being employee-owned change those values in some ways?


And I guess I'd be really hesitant to say any number of years in any way. I think there's some good markers about that change, and Pim and Chad have both talked about some of what that looks like inside Scott Insurance. But it seems to me some of what makes people feel ownership over the values, the legacy of the business. One is seeing a connection between what they do and the fate of the company, the fate of all their co-employee owners. A sense that I make a difference that I'm part of the whole that's determining the fate of this company, this collective. That makes it feel like it's "our" legacy where I'm part of the we that owns the legacy. So, I think the connection, the sense of efficacy and agency is one piece.


Another piece that I think feeds into people owning the legacy is understanding the business. So many businesses are black box, opaque, nobody knows what goes on, how we're even doing in a year. But employee-owned businesses are more likely to be really transparent, to have people understand how decisions are made, what the state of the company is. Maybe they practice open-book management. There's really good psychological research that you don't really care about something in a deep, meaningful way unless you understand. It's even a Buddhist principle, that love and understanding are the same thing. So, I think that to the extent that employee-owned companies give deeper understanding to the broad workforce feels more identity, more ownership over the business and therefore over the business's legacy.


I thought one thing that you mentioned, Pim, was right on, which is you mentioned fun and how much fun you all have at Scott Insurance and I think that sense of just joy can also be one thing that makes the company feel like our own and the legacy as well. And I guess the other thing is something that we've brought up several times, the sense of community. The sense that we are all a group of people serving a common purpose with a common interest.


Bret Keisling: [00:20:52] So Loren, for NCEO, you provide services to employee-owned companies. You provide, for example, the insurance program that we're talking about on the podcast, you have a variety of services for your client members. You do tremendous amount of research and put that out there on an ongoing basis. You collaborate, as I've said, to get other organizations going, but when you talk about community, I'll be honest and sometimes I get in a little trouble with some of the other folks for saying this, although I'm not the only one that says it. I think community sums up NCEO the best in terms of your conferences, there is such -- and folks have heard me say a million times on the podcast, participate with all of the organizations I am neutral, and we all understand that we all need each other, and frankly, the NCEO participating sponsors and businesses are the same ones generally sponsoring the other orgs as well. So, there's a reality that we all support whoever we can, but community ties up very closely the broad mission of NCEO. Would you agree?


Loren Rodgers: [00:22:01] I would, yeah, I think that we're in a situation where we've got lots of organizations, they all contribute in their own way. And I think we're all stronger if we all support each other. I think it's in the best interest of employee ownership. And my primary loyalty as a member of staff at the NCEO is to our mission, it's not to the NCEO as an organization. My loyalty is to make employee ownership thrive. And I think the best way I can do that is by doing what you said, Bret, and my colleagues on staff see at the same way, we love collaborating with other organizations. And I think there's so much potential for employee ownership. There's no shortage of things to do. And I think that we can all contribute to that.


One of the joys of having this community is that I am really proud of what we create on staff -- the research, the content, the other things we do. But in a lot of ways, some of the most valuable things we do is connect to other people, connect one part of the community to the other.


In this case, it's connecting Chad and Pim through this captive insurance to other employee-owned businesses. In other cases, it's working with Certified EO or the lobbying organizations like ESCA and The ESOP Association to make sure the right research is available to make the case for employee ownership. Working with a state centers so they can make a coherent case to their, to people in their states. Working with academic institutions. We've got the wonderful folks at Rutgers who are doing the work in peer reviewed research that makes employee ownership strong. We've got the people at UC San Diego the Rady School's Beyster Institute who are taking the stamp of the university and giving it to all sorts of professionals within the employee ownership community.


That's good for all of us.


Bret Keisling: [00:23:43] Wow. And you, and I'm going to show discipline, Loren, because again, you could have just teed up a whole hour-long conversation. I love the fact that you do community and not to be presumptuous and not to try and toot myself up a little bit. But when you said that NCEO is probably primary mission is to connect different aspects of the employee ownership community, that actually is what I tried to do on the podcast. I talk about everybody. I don't have a specific agenda except "to amplify and celebrate" is the tag word that we use. And then that brings me to various ideas that we then explore. But I love the connection to community.


Pim, do you have any thoughts on community as it relates to Scott Insurance?


Pim Jager: [00:24:28] Yeah, I do. As I listened to Loren and I listened to you summarize, the thing that I think is really key. It is that not only is community a hallmark of being an ESOP, but I think being an ESOP allows you to better serve your community. And let me be very specific about what I mean by that.


Chad mentioned earlier that one of the things about Scott Insurance is that we are fiercely independent. And we actually believe that our ESOP structure, the fact that we're a hundred percent employee-owned, allows us to maintain that independence because all of our owners fully appreciate what it means to work for an ESOP, as opposed to working for a large publicly held or PE owned insurance organization and we don't want to move in that direction. So, the fact that we that the ESOP allows us to maintain our independence means also that I think we are better and continue to be better positioned to serve our communities where we have our brick and mortar and where our clients reside.


That this idea that we say it oftentimes that the comparative is, look, when you do business with Scott, you're doing with, you're doing business with an organization that's focused on Main Street. When you do business with a large publicly held brokerage firm, you're doing business with somebody who's focused on Wall Street. And that is distinct. And it's not always something that people can understand until they feel it. And that’s, you’ve probably heard that from other ESOP companies, it's hard to describe what an ESOP culture is verbally, but boy, can you feel it! And I think this is very similar, right? That, that being active in your community and really serving your community and the fact that your employee owners make up the fiber of that community, I think is just really a strength of being an ESOP. And community can mean so many different things, in this case I think it really means serving the people at a very grassroots level.


Bret Keisling: [00:26:21] Well, and I love that, and we can certainly broaden the definition of community as we go, our local community where the brick and mortars are, but Scott Insurance, certainly you folks have taken a huge leap in the EO community with the insurance program through NCEO.


Chad, as we wrap up anything that you would like to add for the good of the order?


Chad Duke: [00:26:41] No, I just, I appreciate the platform and the opportunity to just connect with other employee-owned companies. That's -- I have a tremendous amount of pride and I enjoy partnering with ESOPs across the United States, because I feel like when I sit down with them as clients, we're all rowing in the same direction. And it's just a great feeling when mutual interests align and you feel like you've got a little bit of, and I know Pim would agree, but when we serve ESOPs and we feel like we can help them be more successful while at the same time helping our own employee-owned company it just it's a great, it's a great thing.


That all being said, I just appreciate the opportunity to participate today and continue our partnership with the NCEO and employee-owned companies across the country.


Bret Keisling: [00:27:21] I appreciate that. Loren we'll go to you for my final comment, and you can respond if you'd like, but, and I shared this when Ivette Torres of NCEO was on the podcast in the spring of 2021. I shared this anecdote. It was probably 2017, Loren, that I went to an NCEO conference. I believe it was in Denver. But I went out and as I entered the conference floor, probably at the pre-registration stage, there's this guy sitting in the middle of the floor, standing in the middle of the floor and as I walked by, he said, hey, can I give you directions? And I said, no, I'm good. I've been here before. And he said something else that was just welcoming. And I looked down and his name badge said Loren Rodgers. Loren, you and I had never met before. And I don't know if you remember meeting me there because quite frankly, I didn't really have a presence as a podcaster at that point. I was, I don't want to say just a trustee, my partner, my former partner would kick my butt. But I went out and it really was, Loren, you were welcoming me to your event, to your place. And what blew my mind -- and, as a trustee my clients were the CEOs, my clients were the board of directors and that sort of thing -- and not just were you there greeting people, but I had the sense that's where you wanted to be. You know, that it's your choice. You could have had somebody else out there or hired ten people. But that, to me, is the hands-on. Does that reflect the sense of community that you and your colleagues try to establish?


Loren Rodgers: [00:28:48] Oh, Bret, I'm so touched. Yeah, it definitely does. I think that I like to be out there saying hi to people and what really thrills me is similar to what you said, Pim. I think everybody on staff has that same sense and it's partly because of who we are all working together, but it's also because this community is a self-reinforcing welcoming -- has a self-reinforcing kind of welcoming value around it. And I think that we're so fortunate to be in this community and have enough people come back to the conference year after year, meet each other in all sorts of different ways. And we get this sort of vibe that's a little bit like a family reunion and it, I think, people are -- people getting culturated to the conference and the employee ownership community pretty quickly because it is so welcoming and so many people make a point to say hi to people they've never met before.


Bret Keisling: [00:29:47] The cultural aspect at NCEO conferences is amazing. And one of the things, and this is me saying it, it's not Loren Rodgers saying it, there are great trainings, there are great seminars, there are great sessions at any conference, no matter who's presenting them. And quite frankly, oftentimes the same professionals, or the same employee owners who are presenting wherever they will be. But NCEO's conferences from start to finish just have that cultural community vibe that is present at the other conferences, but I think, whereas some of the other folks lobbying might come to mind or technical expertise might come to mind and those are really important, the first word that comes just as lobbying isn't strictly your focus, but technical support and all of that stuff clearly is, but it's that culture. I commend you. I just think it's really cool.

Bret Keisling: [00:30:41] That concludes the conversation with Chad Duke, Pim Jager and Loren Rodgers. I really appreciate all of them coming on the podcast and the previous Mini-cast. As I said at the top of the episode, there is a segment of a conversation between Loren and I that was edited out of the Mini-cast for time. So, I'm including it here because he makes some very interesting and important points.

Bret Keisling: [00:31:05] Let me switch over to you, Loren, and have you wrap up, but let me start by saying that when Pim said that one of the hallmarks of success is collaboration and best practices success for a captive. I said, oh my goodness, that's what employee ownership does the best: collaboration and best practices. It is about we, as we said earlier. So, am I on the right track, Loren? And then any other thoughts you'd like to say to bring us home today?


Loren Rodgers: [00:31:34] Absolutely. I think you're completely right about that, Bret. And that's one of the things I feel has been just blossoming in this field of ours recently is collaboration.


There's so much work going on between state centers and the NCEO and the worker cooperative world. You bring a lot of that together in your podcast, Bret, but there's also collaborations like this one with Scott Insurance and the NCEO. And I deeply appreciated it. I take my hat off to you, Chad, and to you Pim, because you've been working really hard in maybe the craziest economy that we've ever seen in our adult lifetimes. And it's really impressive to me how professional and thoughtful you've been.


We talk about the importance of having employee-owned companies work with each other, but the importance of working with you and Scott is also part of this whole package of making captive insurance work.


One thing that really struck me is, Pim and Chad, you both emphasize how important it is that employee-owned companies are the companies that are involved in these captives insurances. And what's struck me is that when we look at an employee-owned company, the ones that really do well, employees have a role in making the company stronger. They can contribute to the success of the company. They swap ideas with each other. They think long-term about what's in the best interest of the company. They get involved in decisions that they maybe wouldn't have otherwise. So, they get involved, they share in the rewards of that involvement, but one of the A-ha Moments that I've seen again and again, is that sometimes it's not my ESOP account statement going up. It's seeing my colleagues ESOP account statements going up that really gets people emotional. Knowing that when I make a smart decision, I contribute to the stock value. It helps everybody else at this company. It really feels like a community that we're all supporting each other.


And in a lot of ways, this captive insurance is a perfect analogy to an employee on company, right? Every ESOP company that's participating in captive insurance participates in the governance of that captive. They swap best ideas with each other. They share in the rewards when the captive insurance works well. So, in a lot of ways, captive insurance is just a perfect fit for employee ownership.


And I'm just deeply appreciative of you, Chad and Pim, for making this a reality for the NCEO's members.


Bret Keisling: [00:34:03] Loren, talk to us for just a moment, then I have one more final follow-up question for you, but talk to us for just a moment. NCEO -- boy, you guys are getting to be as known for your virtual education as much as you're, we're all looking forward very much to the in-person conferences. And by the way, I'll just mention you folks. I almost said "we."


Loren Rodgers: [00:34:22] You can say we!


Bret Keisling: [00:34:23] We're all in San Diego. We are meeting in San Diego in September, and I'm very excited. I'm planning to be there and actually planning to be in California for three to four weeks and see who I can talk to while I'm out there.

But we are all coming together, but I imagine you have a pretty strong video training component on the insurance. Can you talk a little bit, if people are interested do they go to NCEO's website? Did they go to Scott Insurance? Where do people find the program?


Loren Rodgers: [00:34:47] They can get information in a bunch of different ways. I think the easiest place to point people verbally is nceo.org/insurance. We've got a standalone page there. That'll let people know when there's a webinar coming up. You can see recordings of webinars and some presentations by both Chad and Pim.

Bret Keisling: [00:35:08] And that is great. And we will include a link, that link, as well in the show notes for the podcast episode. So, if people check out our website for the podcast, we'll include some pointers on how to get to the right place.


Loren, I'm going to ask you to finish up with the answer to this question. And it's something that I've spoken on a lot of different podcasts. Wouldn't our environment be a lot stronger for employee ownership if we all were shopping from other employee-owned companies, either B2B or consumers? So generally speaking, if we need insurance, is it not better if they're in the service area to buy from a Scott Insurance and here's where I'm careful a lot of employee-owned companies, or there are other ESOPs or co-ops that might be insurance.


So, Scott, you guys are here and love you madly, but USA Mortgage another example, big company in Missouri with thousands of employee owners. I've been trying to just beat the drum of let's buy employee-owned. Am I on the right track? Is that something you'd agree with?


Loren Rodgers: [00:36:07] Yeah, I sure think so. The coffee I drink is from an employee-owned company. A lot of the other things in my own personal life are from employee-owned companies. And I think one thing I've appreciated about Scott Insurance's approach is that they have reached out to other agencies and especially ones that have ESOPs themselves. It's been a very collaborative effort on that front.


One thing we did, we try to buy as an organization from employee-owned businesses. Those of you who came to the virtual conference in April this year got a swag box, which was put together and delivered by an employee-owned company and included a bunch of products from other employee-owned companies.

So, I think buying employee-owned is great. We put out a holiday guide for where to find your greatest holiday gifts from employee-owned companies last year. We'll keep doing things like that because I think keeping these dollars spinning around and circulating inside the employee ownership community makes life a little bit better.


Bret Keisling: [00:36:57] Loren, real briefly, registration is open for your September conference, which is going to be a combination of virtual and in-person so people can look for that on your website.


Loren Rodgers: [00:37:07] That's right. It's called the Fall ESOP Forum, September 22nd to the 24th. You can join just virtually. If you come in person, you get all the virtual stuff too. So, you can get a taste online, show up in San Diego, and then follow up things virtually for quite a while after the conference wraps up.


Bret Keisling: [00:37:24] And I hope that I will be able to do an episode with you or someone from NCEO prior to the conference and talk about it.

Bret Keisling: [00:37:33] I am happy to share that I've already recorded both a Mini-cast episode and long form conversation with Tim Garbinsky, who's the communications director of the NCEO, who's going to be talking all about the Fall Forum. We'll air those episodes in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Fall Forum is in person and virtual. It's live in San Diego, September 22nd to the 24th, 2021. And once again, the NCEO has been kind enough to provide a discount code for listeners of the podcast. When you register, whether you're going live or virtually, enter the discount code EOPod25. Capital E capital O capital P small letters o, d, 25 and you'll save $25 off the cost of registration.


My thanks again to Pim Jager, Chad Duke, and Loren Rodgers. If you're doing something important or exciting and employee ownership, or you know anyone who is, I'd love to talk about them on the podcast. Reach out to us. You'll find out how in just a moment.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


Bitsy McCann: [00:38:45] We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email Bret@KEISOP.com, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling.


Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.


A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.