Galbraith Insurance offers a wide variety of insurance options – both personal and commercial. The company was founded by Carolyn Galbraith, who prides herself on offering clients custom packages based on their needs, not just filling quotas.
Insurance packages include include, but are not limited to:
Insurance for restaurants, bars and taverns
D & O policies
Her start in the business
Carolyn started out as just a hometown girl in Long Beach, California. She married a local boy and they started a family. It was a great life until tragedy struck and Carolyn found herself raising her daughters alone.
I needed to take care of my daughters. A friend of mine was a Farmers Insurance agent and he asked me to work for him part time.
She quickly learned the nuances of selling insurance, staying with that employer for the next six years. As she started to gain more knowledge and confidence, she decided to make insurance sales a full-time operation.
I opened Galbraith Insurance, my own agency in 1980. Two of my daughters were older so they helped take care of the two younger ones while I built the company. It was tough, but I knew that the long-term gains would outweigh these short-term pains.
Challenges in the business
Starting out with personal lines initially, she grew and expanded her base from there. Over the years, nurturing relationships with individuals was where she excelled. Her approach was never over the phone, like most agents. She realized right away that these individuals were also business owners, managers and employers. Transitioning into offering commercial insurance was an easy decision for Galbraith Insurance.
I’ve always been very social which helped jump start my business. I would sit at Lord Henry’s in Los Alamitos every night at 5pm and talk to everyone who came into the bar area. I would write their information on a cocktail napkin, give them my business card and come back with a quote within two days.
Men primarily dominated the commercial insurance business. Carolyn found that her personable approach along with her willingness to listen was what gave her an incredible edge. Of course there was competition, fierce competition, but Carolyn stuck to her method and it paid off. There were also great promotional incentives through Farmers Insurance that encouraged her to solicit commercial business, which helped propel her Galbraith Insurance to the top.
I became the only woman with Farmers Commercial lines in the top 10 producers, winning numerous awards. Honestly, it felt amazing to be able to provide the financial security I needed for my family.
From an insurance perspective, many companies preferred newer buildings compared to older properties. Providing commercial insurance for condos, apartment buildings and retail centers became even more challenging as a result. The city of Long Beach and surrounding cities typically had more older buildings. Fortunately for Carolyn, she had a diverse portfolio of markets and didn’t have to rely on any one specific type to grow her book of clients.
Galbraith Insurance – Selling insurance for 40 years
Carolyn is not only the proud mother of four daughters, but grandmother to six children and great-grandmother to four great grand kids! Her entrepreneurial spirit has been passed down throughout her family. As three of her daughters have their own restaurant business, Tracy’s Bar & Grill in Long Beach, California. Her entire extended family has made their roots in their community, continuing the supportive approach to community she initiated all those years ago.
Helping her clients receive the best services and price for products still gives her a thrill. She stays connected to them on a personal and business level. The children of her initial clients are getting insurance with Carolyn, a testament to her dedication and bond she has with her clients.
Last year, Carolyn decided to leave Farmers Insurance after 39 years and go into the marketplace without knowing what lies ahead. People tend to not like change and she is well aware that it will be a challenge to move some of her long-time clients over.
In 2019, I became independent. This has allowed me to give my insureds competitive pricing with various carriers. There were some limitations offering only one carrier. I am able to now provide a wider range of products. Some are new, some are better, but at the end of the day, I can serve my clients with more freedom.
She has no intention of retiring, perhaps slowing down, but not just yet. In the meantime, she has set forth this new venture when most at her age would rather sit back and relax. The entrepreneur in her won’t let that happen. She continues to challenge herself and keep moving.
If I could have given my younger self some advice, I would’ve told her to just go for it and start out with my own agency rather than working for someone else. Also, even though personal lines have been my bread and butter, the commercial lines provide a much higher income and a more sophisticated clientele.
Communication and a common bond is key for Carolyn
Most of Carolyn’s clients have become friends over the years. While caring for their insurance needs, she makes a genuine effort to connect with them often. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she reached out to all of her clients to let them know that she was there for them. A level of caring that seems to be in rare commodity as larger businesses are more concerned about numbers rather than looking at their insureds as people and business owners.
I’ve insured some of the finest restaurants in Long Beach & Seal Beach and have remained friends to this day. The best compliment for what I do is getting referrals from my clients. I genuinely want to make sure that their livelihoods are secured, not just by insurance.
Her advice to those looking or working in the industry has been the key to her 40 years not only as a successful agency owner but as an active citizen in her community.
Put your client above your financial expectations! A happy client will remain with you even if prices change. Putting your client’s needs ahead of profit is and always has been my goal. As the saying goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Caring should be first and foremost in all you do – business or otherwise. By leading with that, you will be successful in all you do.