AllRisk sees growth as family owned business

Daughter looks forward to taking business into next generation

AllRisk Auto InsuranceAllRisk Auto Insurance staff
Courtesy of AllRisk Auto Insurance. Dawn Weagant, owner of AllRisk Auto Insurance, employs six people at the insurance agency, including her daughter, Stephanine Weagant, who is training for the next few years to take over the company.

AllRisk Auto Insurance is an “all-in-the-family” independent insurance agency that started nearly 35 years ago. The company does business with several different insurance companies, helping customers shop around to find the best possible insurance rates for their unique situation.

Dawn Weagant, owner of AllRisk Auto Insurance, harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit to start the agency after being laid off from a previous job. Today, she employs six people, including her daughter, Stephanie Weagant, who is training for the next few years to take over the company. Two of the other employees have worked for the agency for more than 30 years.

“We specialize in hard to place risks – too many tickets, no prior insurance, young drivers, etc.,” Dawn said. “We primarily write auto, RV, motorcycle and renter’s insurance.  But we have many companies available for most any risk.  I am very proud that my business has helped to raise several families over the years.”

Dawn explains that being a family owned business is a key part of gaining people’s trust, especially in a world of large companies that have become less and less personal.

“We have gained a reputation of being honest and we truly care about our clients,” she said. “After so many years, they become like family. We insure the grandchildren of people that had insurance with us when they were young. Much of our new business is from referrals from someone who has been insured with us at some point in the past.”

Although she is now looking forward to taking over the family business, Stephanie said she hasn’t always felt that way. She said that in her 20s, the thought of working in an office doing insurance sounded boring. She liked jobs where she was up and doing things; she worked at UPS for seven years and became a driver, and was also Lead of Distribution at Danner Boot Company. Still, Stephanie said these jobs were always unfulfilling, and she always felt like she was replaceable.

“I had been talking to my mom about how I was unhappy in my current situation, and that’s when she asked if I would consider coming and taking over the family business,” Stephanie said. “It sounded like both a challenge, and a great move for my future, so I was up for the task and I am excited that I’m a part of a business that has been around to help the community since 1984.”

“I’ve actually enjoyed learning the business,” Stephanie continued. “Not only the insurance part, but the challenges of having to manage a team, the marketing, how websites and SEO work, and the importance of empathy and listening, just to name a few. I am very excited for the opportunity to take this business into the next generation. We have been a staple in the community for so long, and I am eager to be a part of growing the business for the next 35-plus years.”

Over the last three decades of being in business, there have been many memories made, including renting a houseboat on Shasta Lake with employee spouses and kids, and being chosen for an “office makeover” by a local television show. But through it all, AllRisk Auto Insurance has invested in building long term relationships that mean something to their customers.

“We have gone to weddings and funerals and done grocery shopping for some of our customers,” Dawn said. “We have sent money anonymously and loaned personal funds for their payments to some of our long-time customers in need. We truly care about them after so many years.”

Dawn said she knows that there are always some challenges to being a family owned business, including not being able to afford large advertising campaigns that bigger companies have in order to build enhanced name recognition. However, that isn’t necessarily a disadvantage. She believes that keeping the business in the family means they can keep connecting with customers on a personal level, and that kind of connectivity is something that is truly priceless.

Looking toward the future of her business, Dawn said she hopes that after she retires and her daughter takes the reins, that the business will continue to provide for and serve many future generations. Her vision is to see her daughter and grandchildren and future employee’s families benefit from what she started so many years ago.

VBJ Editor Joanna Yorke contributed to this article.

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A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Brooke Strickland is a full time freelance writer & social media specialist that specializes in writing blogs and other website content for local and national companies. She is also the co-author of Hooked on Games, a book about technology and video game addiction.