Smith, Peabody, Stiles: Celebrating 95 Years

Monday August 18, 2014

Smith, Peabody, Stiles: Celebrating 95 Years onthetown Magazine Volume 4 Issue 4 August 2014 by Chelsea Mills onthetowncoverThe leaves on the family tree may have changed, but the roots are still the same. Since 1919, these three families have had roots in the Flint, Fenton, Linden, and Holly communities.  Stiles Insurance was founded then by D. R. Stiles, who passed the leadership position on to his son, Edison, in 1955, and then to Edison’s son, Jeri, in 1972. “The competition started [back in] 1934 with the late Ray Hunt, [whose company was] just two doors down from my grandfather, D. R. Stiles and his business, Stiles Insurance,” Jeri Stiles explains. Ray Hunt started his insurance business in his home, calling it Hunt Insurance, sometime during the depression in 1934, with only two employees. Then in 1961, Jim Smith came to Fenton from the Flint area, met with Hunt, and they decided to merge their companies, forming the Hunt-Smith Agency, Inc. And Smith now has a whole philosophy built SCAN0026around what he does.  “Life is made up of liabilities and goals from birth to death,” he says.  “The service which my companies provided was all-encompassing – and that is very exciting,” he adds. The part that excited Jim Smith back then is still the part that excites his son-in-law, Jim Peabody, who joined the insurance business with his father-in-law in 1991, forming Hunt-Smith-Peabody Insurance. They strive to cement a common bond with their customers in order to do business – and finding the right coverage to really help their clients has led them to become lifelong friends as a result. In 1998, Smith Peabody and Stiles decided to merge together into one agency to better serve their customers.  It was at this time that the name Hunt was dropped from the business’ title and Smith-Peabody-Stiles Insurance was born.  Brown & Brown purchased Smith-Peabody-small SCAN0119Stiles in 2008, and after a couple of years, Jim Peabody decided to step away from the insurance industry.  But he didn’t stay away for long – he and his wife, Patty, opened up Peabody Insurance Agency in Holly by purchasing the Addis Insurance Agency, which had local roots dating back to 1921.  The husband and wife team missed being in business and the excitement that comes from meeting new people and helping customers with their insurance needs.  Thus, the focus of the Peabody Insurance business model is to help their clients reduce risk, which then allows them to save money in the long term. “Our specialty is in helping clients identify the types of risk they are facing and what areas of operation are most exposed to risk through our unique four-step system, the Risk Reduction Process.  We are now able to identify exposures and implement strategies which provide our clients a way to lower their total cost of risk while protecting their balance sheets,” Peabody explains, adding that “by reducing risk, clients may be able to lower their premiums and thereby increase profitability.” He goes on to detail some of the benefits he can offer. “We provide our clients with added value and service, as well as experience and industry This ability is amplified by the tools Peabody Insurance utilizes, such as the Risk Reduction Toolbox and the [aforementioned] Risk Reduction Process. These tools give our clients a map of how to become more profitable, and the agents at Peabody Insurance provide the experience and knowledge that is needed to get there,” he says. This process has proven to be very beneficial for many of their customers, some of whom have discovered that they had not been properly insured in the past.  “If someone is curious to see how we compare to [his or her] current provide, we are happy to provide a free premium price quote,” Peabody states. “We’ve helped over 3,000 companies reduce their overall cost of risk through our trademarked Risk Reduction Approach.” As many things do, these three families have come full circle again, and the Peabody’s are happy to announce that Jeri Stiles is back in their office with Stiles Tax Service. Peabody Insurance Agency is a full-service, independent agency specializing in home, auto, life, and commercial business insurance. Peabody Insurance Agency 611 N. Saginaw Road  |  Holly, Michigan 48442 Fenton: (810) 629-1504  |  Holly: (248) 634-7731