‘Insurance is boring.’ JGS Insurance is Busting the Myth With Their Unique Company Culture

You can’t judge a book by its coverage of risk and liability.

Yet when you hear the name JGS Insurance, the company’s director of sales, Ryan Fleming, knows what might cross your mind. “They’re in the insurance industry and that’s about as cool as it sounds,” he said.

But with an office culture that stresses a hearty balance of work and play, this office of 80-plus employees is having as much fun as any at Bell Works. If you’ve ever sweated through a crossfit class, contributed to a food drive, attended a wellness day, or took part in any other social activity at the metroburb, chances are you’ve spent time with someone from JGS. The group is taking full advantage of all the opportunities available to them, and even their clients have noticed.

Some of the JGS team doing crossfit with Arrival Crossfit in December.

“We recently hosted a lunch and learn day and our clients saw our weekly yoga class going on,” JGS’s Marketing Associate Alicia Ambrose recalled. “They said, ‘Look ― there’s people doing yoga down there!’ And our co-workers said, ‘That’s our office.’ Our visitors said, ‘What an amazing place ― I want to work here.’”

A guiding philosophy at JGS is if you can provide a culture conducive to building character, it will show in the way employees treat people, Fleming said. That’s important for a company that aims to demystify an oft-misunderstood industry for its clients — providing them clarity and comfort with their services rather than burying them in long-winded, acronym-laden legal documents. And when times get stressful, JGS employees iron it out at the “dispute resolution table” – aka, the office shuffleboard.

“One of the foundation blocks of the culture we’re trying to build here is blurring the line between personal and business,” Fleming said. “We’ve all heard the statement, ‘It’s not personal, it’s just business.’ I feel like we try to turn that statement upside down and say, ‘It’s not just business, it’s personal.'”

JGS’s business is thriving, locally rooted and nearly a century old. It was founded in 1919 and later led by Sam Hager, who Fleming credits as an innovator who always sought to set industry trends rather than follow them. Today the company is managed by Hager’s two sons, Kenneth and Vincent, both Holmdel natives who still live locally and work on site. The company offers a wide range of services, with specialties in insurance for communal living settings (i.e. condo associations, co-ops), the food industry, transportation staffing and health benefits, among others.

According to Fleming, the Hagers have emphasized a focus on emerging technologies that continues to make their company an industry leader. It also made their move from a nearby Holmdel office to Bell Works in the summer of 2017 a natural step.

“When you take those two things – a pioneering, progressive upbringing – and then you add technology in there, it was recipe for growth,” Fleming said. “The second we saw Bell Works starting to take shape, I don’t think there was a question. That’s where we needed to be.”

The company’s work play balance is also well reflected in its communications. JGS maintains a nationally circulating magazine as well as a blog that offers timely insights on matters like how changes to the Affordable Care Act and the new tax law will impact consumers. Meanwhile, the JGS social media pages show off all of the fun things staff members are up to at Bell Works.

“It brings more opportunities to our office and makes us a more attractive employer for anyone looking,” Ambrose said. “We do fun things, we’re not just a boring insurance company, and we’re pretty cool people, too.” 

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