Santa Claus isn’t the only one coming to La Verne this holiday season. Longtime La Verne resident Barbara Larkin will also be bringing her Allstate insurance agency from Glendora to La Verne on Jan. 2, 2013.
Here, she’ll be able to help insure many of the prized possessions that people obtain not only during the holidays, but throughout the year. Her specialties include writing auto, home, business and life policies. Another area of expertise of the new La Verne agency will be writing policies for earthquakes, which have suddenly become top of mind with residents after a 2.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the town and rattled nerves on Monday night.
“Earthquake insurance is an underserved part of the market,” Barbara said. “I think its occurrence is a far more likely event than your house catching on fire.”
Yet oddly, the state doesn’t require that homeowners carry it. In fact, less than 20% of California residents carry earthquake insurance despite California’s location in the “Ring of Fire,” a fiery cauldron of seismic activity along the Pacific Rim that runs from Chili to the tip of Alaska
She’s keenly aware that earthquake insurance deductibles (10% to 15%) are high, but she still wouldn’t be caught without earthquake insurance provided by the California Earthquake Authority, a privately funded, publicly managed organization that sells California earthquake insurance policies through participating insurance companies such as Allstate.
“I’d rather pay that deductible than stand in line at FEMA,” she said. “In a major quake, FEMA is going to run out of money. FEMA is not giving people money to rebuild.
“I was talking to our actuary the other day on the phone,” Barbara added, “and he said, ‘It’s not a matter of if, but when.’”
That same statement could apply to all insurance coverage in general. A customer could pay premiums for months or years without calling in a claim when an accident, disaster or catastrophe invariably appears on your doorstep.
For Barbara, insurance has literally always been a part of her life. Her father retired as a regional vice president for Allstate in 1980. One brother currently serves as the Allstate regional vice president for all of California. Another brother was an Allstate sales manager in North Carolina. Two of her three children, Corie and Casey, work for Allstate, and her oldest son, TJ, is a catastrophe claims adjuster now sorting through the devastation, debris and broken dreams left by Hurricane Sandy.
Meanwhile, her husband Tim, a part of the Allstate family for 33 years, currently runs the thriving Larkin Allstate Insurance Agency located at 140 N. Vermont in Glendora. Together, they also have purchased nine other Allstate Insurance agencies over the years.
So, Barbara knows insurance.
Currently, Barbara’s Allstate agency is located on Route 66 in Glendora, which, frankly, doesn’t quite make sense because Tim’s agency is just blocks away in downtown Glendora. While they have frequently worked together in the same office, Barbara had to launch a second nearby location, per Allstate policy, whenever they acquired another Allstate agency from a retiring owner. The policy maintains that personal touch for clients.
“In Allstate’s eyes we are two separate people, but we run our business as one,” Barbara clarified. “We are equal partners.”
Indeed, they share a general manager, Bill Rodriguez, who helps oversee both agencies, including staffing, marketing and all the other daily duties of running a successful business ranked among the Top 10 of all California Allstate agencies.
Barbara likes her new La Verne location in the old Vons shopping center next to Tastee’s Donut, not only because La Verne has been the Larkins’ home since 1986, where they have reared their three children and been anchors here in youth sports, but the new storefront offers easy, walk-up access.
“It’s a great move all the way around,” Barbara said. “My current location has lots of steps. I have one customer in her 90s who still hikes the stairs. When I told her about my new ground floor location in La Verne, she was thrilled.”
Barbara will be bringing over not only her lifelong passion for insurance, but also eight employees whose skills, experience and personal care for clients matches her own. “I have tremendous faith in all my staff,” Barbara said beaming.
And there is also there that gold-plated Allstate name, long the standard for quality insurance products and second-to-none claim service.
“Allstate has always been very loyal to its customers,” Barbara said.
In particular, Barbara, with 25 years in the business, loves mentoring staff and educating and matching customers with the insurance products that make the most sense and offer the best protection and security for them and their families.”
“Working and living in La Verne is a dream come true,” Barbara said. “We’re excited to be opening our doors on Jan. 2 and meeting all of our new/old neighbors again … if you know what I mean.”