Family owned business offer a legacy of trust

There’s a measure of trust given to a company that proudly trots out its family origins

Zoe Hovland

Being family owned means accountability – accountability to your clients, your community and your employees. There’s a measure of trust given to a company that proudly trots out its family origins, and any business worth its salt does not take that trust lightly.

Biggs Insurance IS all about family, then and now

Biggs Insurance Services has been about family from the very beginning, starting with our roots as The Whitfield Company in 1935, when Whitfield Sr. brought on his sons Harold and Glen to help manage their insurance and realty firm. In 1953, they were joined by Don Biggs, who endeavored to help grow the insurance side of the business – and who, after many years of partnership with the Whitfields, acquired the agency from them and created Don Biggs & Associates.

Flash forward to the 1990s, when Don brought his son Bill on board. Then in 2000, Rich Biggs joined the crew. Today, we’re pleased to announce that Rich has been elected as president of the company. Long story short, there’s been a Biggs at Biggs Insurance since the middle of the century.

That’s the benefit of being family owned – when people see your family name in big, unmistakable letters on the side of your building, they see that you’re putting stock by that name, and they naturally have a greater willingness to place their trust in you. And as a businessowner, the knowledge that you’re part of an ongoing legacy ensures that integrity and community are at the center of everything you do.

Insurance as an industry shares themes with family

You could argue that the role of an insurance provider has similarities to the concepts that make a family – agents aren’t just selling a product but a promise, which creates the foundation of an ongoing relationship. Sometimes, like with family, there’s a need for tough discussions; a claim that might not be covered or an unexpected rate hike. But through it all, there’s a confidence that your best interests are being looked after.

There’s also the valuable carrier partnerships that are so integral to a successful insurance business. The companies you represent as a broker are a type of family, too, and the marketing reps you regularly work with tend to become such familiar faces that seeing them around the office feels as natural as seeing your cousins at Thanksgiving.

Ties to the local community are perhaps the strongest extension of a business family. Families often have strong values, and businesses like ours can demonstrate the same commitment to their principles both by putting their dollars into worthy nonprofits, and by offering employees “volunteer hours” that they can dedicate to causes that matter to them. In addition, several of Biggs’ directors are active members of professional associations, both regional and national, that spearhead consumer advocacy efforts – they feel it’s important to make sure their client’s voices are heard.

Though Vancouver’s look may have changed a little since 1935, Biggs is humbled to still be considered a staple of Main Street, to still be Southwest Washington’s largest independent, locally owned agency … and, as we enter our 85th year in business, still just as proud to have remained family owned since day one.

Zoe Hovland is an executive assistant at Biggs Insurance Services. She can be reached at

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