2014 Government Regulations & Business Summit
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By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer
Gary E. Heaslip is president of Cross Insurance Inc. Rhode Island. In addition to his responsibilities for providing high-quality, comprehensive programs at the lowest cost, he oversees Cross Insurance’s growth through new production and the acquisition of agencies and producers in Rhode Island.
Heaslip has worked in the insurance industry for 27 years, including serving as vice president and sales manager for the Cross Insurance subsidiary TGA Cross in Wakefield, Mass.
He has accreditations from professional organizations that include Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, Certified Insurance Counselor, Associate in Risk Management, Associate Manager in Inland Marine and Associate in Insurance Management.
Heaslip has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Providence College.
PBN: With the sluggish economy in Rhode Island, what experience or market research made Cross Insurance decide to open a new office here in February, especially the company’s first office in the Ocean State?
HEASLIP: Having been born and raised in Rhode Island, I was uniquely qualified to introduce Cross to the exciting nuances of the Rhode Island business landscape. To date, the response has been simply overwhelming. Let’s face it – economy aside – commercial entities still have a need to procure the proper insurance.
PBN: What are the advantages of having your only Rhode Island office, as of now, located in East Providence?
HEASLIP: Specifically, as a location, East Providence is preternatural in its capacity to provide unbounded access to both the northern New England intermediaries, and the Connecticut/New York corridors. Our regional business pursuits require this gateway as a necessity.
PBN: As a Rhode Island native, do you see differences in what your customers are looking for here, as compared to other states you’ve worked in?
HEASLIP: Clearly so. As a parochial coterie, Rhode Islanders are continually seeking and discussing platforms that will materially impact their bottom lines in a positive manner. They have grown tired of transacting business with entities more concerned over utilizing overseas outsourcing of critical policy components, such as checking of insurance contracts and certificates. We’ve detected a palpable, hometown yearning for a fresher, less egocentric approach – which dovetails perfectly with Cross’s introduction to the Rhode Island marketplace.
PBN: In what market segments does the company, overall, have most of its business? What segments are you targeting for the company’s growth in Rhode Island?
HEASLIP: From being official brokers of the Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins to providers of choice for many of the higher education institutions both here in Rhode Island and nationwide – there are no industries left untouched from the leverage and outreach of the Cross brand. Based on the volume of business we’ve already written here in Rhode Island, we’ve brought a whole different approach and a level of competitive pricing that has allowed us to grab a significant market share in a very, very small window of time.
PBN: Cross Insurance has a stated growth strategy that includes plans to acquire other insurance agencies in Rhode Island. Why do you think the Ocean State is good territory for these acquisitions?
HEASLIP: Rhode Island is populated with innumerable, yet viable, smaller agencies. Over the course of our history, more than 100 agencies throughout the northeast have chosen Cross as the valued partner in discerning various perpetuation options. The approach is simple – you work directly with ownership to produce a streamlined and expeditious outcome, mutually acceptable to all parties involved.