Member Spotlight: The Horton Group

Founded in 1971 in Orland Park, IL, the Horton Group began as a small, eight-person family-owned insurance agency specializing in auto and home insurance for individuals. Since then, it has expanded into commercial insurance, employee benefits, and consulting services. Today, the Horton Group is ranked as the country’s 37th largest insurance brokerage by Insurance Journal, with seven offices around the Midwest, nearly 400 employees, and over $75 million in annual revenue.

The Horton Group is an insurance, employee benefits, and risk advisory firm that leads clients with complex needs and limited resources to a higher performance level. This philosophy enables them to focus on specific practices and specializations, such as wood & lumber. Consequently, they help lower the actual cost of risk by focusing on risk management, supported by industry-leading claims advocacy, loss control, and risk advisory services.

Mike Kocourek, a Marketing Communications Specialist with the Horton Group, talks about how they cater to the hardwood industry, “We discovered the lumber industry’s needs through active involvement in the National Hardwood Lumber Association, as well as other associations. Then, we specifically designed our wood products program with the lumber industry’s needs in mind. We offer dedicated programs with comprehensive insurance coverage. It is with this focus and intent that we continue to advise our customers to plan and achieve a higher level of performance. We aim to help our clients improve their risks and become more attractive to the carriers through proactive loss control.  Improved property conservation programs and culture changes in housekeeping strategies are just a few of the ways they work to partner with their clients.”

Their outstanding services haven’t changed as COVID-19 upends businesses across the country. Kevin Mershimer, a sales executive with the Horton Group with over 20 years of experience insuring sawmills and wood product risks, explains that they began working from home in mid-March.  “We had been working on the technology to enable a work-from-home environment for some time, so the pivot was quite smooth.  We have learned to blend a virtual and physical environment, and in some ways, completely change the way we work.  There was no disruption to the way we serviced our clients.  And in some ways, it’s allowed us to broaden our geography – both with our pursuit of talent that shares our vision and values, as well as clients – and know that we can confidently serve them well and have a terrific client and employee experience. Many of our clients don’t want face-to-face interaction right now. Thus we have been doing renewals on Skype or over the phone.  We have all of our staff working remotely from home, and the response time to customer requests is actually better than when they were in the office.”

Kevin is also proud of the Horton Group’s work within the community.  The Horton Group hosts events like “Little Black Dress” benefiting Goodwill of Michiana, and food drives for the South Bend Foodbank.  They also support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, hold blood donation drives for local blood banks, and participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, donating Christmas gifts to children in need.  Kevin’s commitment to this industry is noted in his involvement in NHLA and other associations. He is the current president of IHLA and is on the board of the NAFF.

Horton Group employees working at the South Bend food bank, where they donate food twice a year.

The key to the Horton Group’s success can be boiled down to three words: People and Vision.  Dan Horton, CEO of the Horton Group, explains, “I feel that once we defined the traits of people who are best suited to work at our firm and everyone had clarity on where the firm is going, we had a better guide for our decision-making.

Dan also credits the success of the Horton Group to it being a family business, “Being owned by one man with a value system is important to us.  He invests any proceeds back into the company and is all about ensuring quality and doing the right thing.”

Dan says, “The Horton group has an exciting future ahead of us, even as we find ourselves in an environment where there is tremendous consolidation.  By one statistic, it’s estimated that 40% of agencies will be acquired by 2025.  To me, that means we have the opportunity to build a special company – that’s Successful, Good, and Passed to Future Generations (the three pillars of our vision) – one that defines our future on our terms. We are currently one of the top 50 largest brokers in the US, which is pretty impressive, considering we are a privately held company.  With my father helping me, we have a very bright future, one that will continue with the values it had at the very beginning.”

You can reach the Horton Group by calling (724) 699-4550, emailing [email protected], or visiting their website, www.thehortongroup.com.