This article appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of Texoma Living!|insurance
She would never allow her customers to slide in the wrong direction when it comes to insurance, but she will slide herself every now and then. Stacy Rake is a cardboard box slider. Well, no, Stacy doesn’t slide much herself, but her children do. Wait a minute, that still not quite clear.
Think cardboard box instead of sled; think grass instead of snow. Take the box, flatten it out, climb to the top of a nice grassy hill, have a seat on the box. One push and you are slip sliding away. Discarded political signs slide best. Why? Who knows? Stacy’s son slides down the outstanding hill on the Municipal grounds before the Hot Summer Nights’ concerts, and she has favorite places in other parks in Sherman as well.
Like a Boy Scout, a dedicated box slider supervisor has to “Be Prepared,” so she carries a box in the trunk of her car in case she and the kids find a really great hill when they are out and about. “You never know when you will want to slide.”
The culture can have positive business benefits also. Stacy met Gloria Williams when the two of them were watching their kids zip down the hill at Herman Baker Park, and she knew immediately that Gloria was someone she wanted to work with. Box sliders stick together you know. The other members of Team Rake— Cara Stubsten, Vicki Teague and Julie Holcomb—are not sliders yet but Stacy and Gloria keep offering boxes. They don’t need to be sliders to be a part of the most fun, caring, effective team around. Did we mention that Stacy Rake is an insurance agent? It seems appropriate, doesn’t it?
Obviously folks who slide down hills ought to have insurance – you know, just in case, and Stacy has made a career of helping people be prepared – you know, just in case. She has been doing that since she went to work for a State Farm agency in Athens in 1989. After she and her family moved to Sherman in 1998, Nationwide called. “They were opening new markets,” she said, “and I said yes.”
There is an insurance agent on every corner, so what does Stacy believe makes Nationwide and her agency different? “We specialize in making insurance understandable,” she said. “Many people do not know what their coverage means or were never told by their agent,” The wind and water devastation that Katrina and Rita visited on the Gulf coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas brought the problems of inadequate or inappropriate insurance coverage to the attention of many people for the first time. Stacy makes sure that will not happen to her clients by having highly trained, experienced and caring team members.
“A person explains what they want; we take the time to listen; then we know what we can do. I think that stopped happening in the insurance industry. Too often the agent doesn’t take the time to explain the new coverage or analyze what is needed. We take the time. We call it a Care Review.” That is Nationwide’s term for a regular evaluation of the client’s policies. “We offer a review for every one of our clients at six months and a year—six months for the auto and a year for the home,” Stacy said.
This is not a quick review either and Stacy explained why. “Ideally, we meet in the office or at the client’s house. We review all of the policies—auto, home, life, business, flood, farm and ranch, umbrella— to make sure they are comfortable and their questions are answered. It takes a while, but it’s worth it.”
Home insurance in Texas has changed dramatically since the Black Mold Crisis of 2002. Prices rose and coverage changed radically. “Now clients get to pick and choose their coverage, but the choices are scary. Water backup, for example, seems like it would be covered but many carriers no longer even offer it. I sure wouldn’t want a client’s claim denied because stuff happens.”
Some insurers and their agents tout their 24 hour service; even if the person on the other end of the line may be half a world away. Stacy believes in quick response also, but the number on her business card is her home. “I never know when a client might need something after my team and I have left the office,” she said.
“We had a client who had a fire in their kitchen, a big loss. Nationwide mobilized immediately; they had service people taking care of everything, and the clients were most impressed with the way things were going.” Stacy believes that many people are looking for, and expect this sort of “get in there and get it done” service from their insurance company, and she is glad her team delivers.
She believes there is more concern about the permanence of an insurance company nowadays since so many have failed. Nationwide is one of the top five insurers in the country. “People are paying much more attention to the ratings of the company and the stability of the company they are with, but if two companies are comparable in those areas, the difference is about the care and availability of the agency, and service the agency provides. We call ourselves the caring agency and it is our goal to make a difference—in the claim handling, in the service, in the whole process. That is who we are.”
If you are wandering around Sherman on a nice bright day and see a group of folks and a bunch of kids zipping down a hill on cardboard boxes, chances are you’ve found Team Rake. If you ask, they may invite you to join them for a slide, provided of course, that you’ve got the right insurance. If not—well, they would not want you to go slip sliding away with out the right coverage, now would they?
Featured Archive Story
Dairy Queen is a Texas Tradition. It’s not a Texas town without one,” said Lawton Langford. He is a longtime DQ fan from Bonham, where the DQ building now stands empty. There hasn’t been a Dairy Queen in town for years.
By Dan Acree
Recently I had moles removed from my head. I never paid much attention to them, but my mother insisted I go to a dermatologist to have them checked.
Looking for the Printed Version?You can find a complete set of Texoma Living! Magazine in the library at Austin College.
Search Every Issue
- October 2011
- July 2011
- December 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- March 2009
- December 2008
- September 2008
- June 2008
- March 2008
- December 2007
- June 2007
- March 2007
- December 2006