Campbell Insurance runs on tradition, technology
By ALTA LeCOMPTE
Las Cruces Bulletin
A family business that thrives for 70 years through good times and bad must have stories to tell. Such a business is Pat Campbell Insurance.
Pat Campbell founded the business in 1946 in an office he shared with an attorney in the Masonic Temple building.
In 1968, Jack Hixon joined the business. He became Campbell’s partner when the agency incorporated in 1980.
After working in the insurance business in Texas for five years, Jack Hixon’s son Kerry joined the business in 1989. He continues to operate the agency.
The Bulletin visited with Kerry Hixon following the agency’s Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 9 at the current location, 141 N. Roadrunner Parkway.
Bulletin: What has enabled Pat Campbell Insurance to survive and thrive for 70 years?
Hixon: Continuity of ownership and management since 1946 ensures our mission and vision — providing affordable, comprehensive insurance to our community — is sustained. It’s the same family owned and operated business with the same mission, vision, goals and strategies for the entire 70 years.
SEE CAMPBELL, PAGE 32
Kerry Hixon, president, said he’s primarily a commercial consultant, while his wife Debbie, who has been with the agency since 2001, is operations manager. “She planned to leave after two years but we — not just me but all of us — wouldn’t let her go,” he said.
BULLETIN PHOTO BY ALTA LeCOMPTE
CONTINUED FROM 31 Bulletin: Are your employees compensated by commission?
Hixon: It’s traditional in our industry for agents, consultants to be compensated strictly on commission. Our customer service specialists are salary based.
Bulletin: Do you specialize in personal or commercial insurance?
Hixon: By choice we do not specialize.
We choose to be a generalist, a onestop shop for clients. Commercial insurance accounts for about 70 percent of our total written premiums.
Personal insurance accounts for 20 to 25 percent. We have more personal than commercial clients, but their premiums are lower. We have a life and health division with a full array of individual and group life, health and disability insurance.
Bulletin: What companies’ insurance products do you sell?
Hixon: We represent 15 to 20 mainstream, preferred business insurance companies — marquee companies. We do 90 percent of our business with those companies. We have a smaller array of products with some specialties that differentiate them. … About 30 percent or more of specialty markets are for unique or hard-to-place businesses such as dynamite or oil drilling — or accounts with loss problems.
Bulletin: Where are the majority of your clients located?
Hixon: The majority of our client base is in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, but we do business in multiple states including Texas, the Four Corners area and an odd array of states not in the Four Corners areas.
Bulletin: How do you sustain a commercial business in a relatively small city?
Hixon: Although it’s a far cry from Albuquerque, Las Cruces is the second largest city in the state. There are some sizable businesses and a large number of small businesses. That’s really where we thrive. We deal with all types of small businesses. They’re stable, loyal and generate a great referral base.
Bulletin: How do you determine the kind of coverage that’s appropriate for each client?
Hixon: It’s not rocket science. It’s just a consultative approach. We … identify their specific needs … and then offer options and recommendations.
Bulletin: What has been the impact of technology on the operation of your business?
Hixon: Technology has dramatically improved our ability to meet client needs. We can do things quicker, more accurately and technology gives clients more choices on how they want to receive the information. They can review their documents and file claims online. They can choose to receive a PDF or an email. If they want a paper policy, we’ll mail it to them.
Bulletin: How have changes within society affected your business?
Hixon: Basic lifestyle such as social media, cell phone and computer usage and ID theft. At least a small amount of identity coverage is now automatically included in commercial, homeowners and renters insurance.
Bulletin: What is the availability of health insurance for New Mexicans?
Hixon: New Mexico has only a handful of providers and those providers had to revamp their products, in part to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
Some … are pulling out of New Mexico.
Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled out of the individual PPO market last year.
Bulletin: Other concerns?
Hixon: Increased litigation … the high percentage of New Mexicans who don’t have basic liability insurance on their vehicle … which drives up rates. Our agency had $30 million in personal property losses for our clients due to hailstorms (last October). There will be some double digit rate increases.
Bulletin: The good news?
Hixon: By and large, insurance products are still across the board — commercial or personal — very affordable. I do not see double-digit rate increases unless there are loss problems.
Alta LeCompte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575-3437478.