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   Berkshire Hathaway GUARD
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Back in the early 1990's, one of our computer programmers talked endlessly about a new method of communicating that would (in his words) someday revolutionize business.  Though none of us had heard much about this concept, he was passionate and determined to persuade us to make a small investment that would (he was convinced) yield a large return at a later date.  The technology was the Internet, and he was asking us to spend the modest amount of money needed to secure the web address www.guard.com. Since we placed a lot of faith in him (if not yet in the idea), we followed his advice, reaped many benefits, and had the wisdom of this message reinforced many times:  listen to your people!  

Luckily, we learned this lesson early.

Just before the turn of the century, someone said, "If we could just stop handling all this paper, think of the time, money, all-around waste, AND TREES we could save!"  After the initial laughter subsided (because we are, after all, an insurance company), we set about eliminating our paper, reducing our expenses, and increasing our productivity enough to enter a half dozen new states without a commensurate growth in staff.  Now that we are totally electronic, we know who has had the last laugh!

These stories have several morals that reflect upon our culture:

  • We recognize that some of the best, most important ideas come from the people doing the daily work of the company so we maintain an open-door policy.
     

  • We understand that different, "outside-the-box" concepts should never be ignored, especially those that are held most passionately by a member of our staff.
     

  • We value technology and have generally been on the edge of innovation.
     

  • We appreciate the need to plan ahead and position ourselves for the future.
     

  • We are receptive to change.
     

  • We expect to grow and be successful, and we are confident in our ability to overcome obstacles that stand in our way.

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD is an organization built upon the combined efforts and hard work of many talented individuals committed to excellence.  We issued our first policy in 1983.  At that time, we had one insurance company subsidiary which was licensed in one state (Pennsylvania), had about 15 employees, and issued Workers' Compensation policies with a total premium of $680,000.  Today, we have four insurance companies and write business throughout the country. In 2013, approximately 300 employees wrote 73,000 policies for $502 million in premium.  To accommodate this growth, the GUARD Complex in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, has expanded from a portion of one building to four, and we have added several smaller satellite offices.

Our unique culture and work environment have been critical to our success.  Being named the #2 Best Place to Work in PA among larger companies in a process based in large part upon employee feedback is both a measure of the mutual respect that exists and the excitement of helping to build a young company.