Interview by James Deline
We interviewed Laura Charney, Vice President of Columbus Operations for Hagerty (who’s been with the company for 10 years), about what it’s like to work at the world’s largest membership, insurance and media organization for enthusiast vehicles and owners. The automotive lifestyle company recently planted roots in central Ohio with plans to hire nearly 200 for their new campus in Dublin. “We are thrilled to welcome Hagerty to Dublin,” said Colleen Gilger, director of economic development for the City of Dublin. “We appreciate the large investment Hagerty is making in our city, and we know they will find great success in our thriving region.” For information on careers at Hagerty, click here.
Tell us a little bit about Hagerty:
Put simply, Hagerty’s mission is to save driving for future generations. Since 1984, we’ve grown from a family business that pioneered insurance for wood boats to an international market leader and an automotive lifestyle company dedicated to the love of driving. Hagerty is now the world’s largest provider of specialty insurance for enthusiast vehicles. We are also home to Hagerty Drivers Club, DriveShare, Hagerty Valuation Tools, Hagerty Magazine, and MotorsportReg.com. As a company, we proudly support numerous youth programs as well as organizations like the Historic Vehicle Association, we founded and support to this day.
Why did Hagerty decide to expand to Columbus in the Dublin area? And what does that mean for local job-seekers and car enthusiasts?
Hagerty is a rapidly growing company, so we began a nationwide search for a community and a region with the right mix of talent and livability for a planned expansion. After visiting Dublin and Columbus, we knew it was perfect for us. There is an incredible amount of talent in the Columbus region, which fits us perfectly. But it’s also a region with a high quality of life, which was important to us.
Outside of the expansion to Columbus, what’s new and exciting at Hagerty?
We’re very excited about the growth of Hagerty Drivers Club, which is just what it sounds like – a true club for car lovers. Through the club, we offer unique experiences, events and discounts that help car enthusiasts enjoy the hobby. Also, over the past two years, Hagerty has expanded what we can offer car enthusiasts by acquiring and putting the Hagerty touch on DriveShare, a peer-to-peer platform connecting people who own cool and collectible cars with people who want to rent them; MotorsportReg.com, which motorsports fans use to connect to events all over North America; and the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, rated by USA Today as one of the nation’s top car events for 2019.
We read that Hagerty is known for its “competitive pay, outstanding benefits and progressive work culture.” Tell us more about that.
We believe strongly that a company’s culture not only makes people happier and more productive but is also important to bottom line results. We work hard to create a companywide mindset that is conducive to personal and professional growth, which is why Hagerty has won numerous awards for its workplace culture, including:
• 2019 Best Workplaces in Financial Services & Insurance 2019 (#28)
• 2016 Best Workplaces for Giving Back (#49)
• 2016 Best Medium Workplaces (#81)
• 2015 Best Workplaces in Insurance (#7)
• 2015 Best Workplaces for Millennials (#70)
• 2015 Best Medium Workplaces (#12)
• 2014 Best Medium Workplaces (#6)
• 2013 Best Medium Workplaces (#13)
Our culture is shaped by the Hagerty Core Values, a series of maxims designed to make us successful, credible and accomplished in our market. It’s how we live, and it’s what makes Hagerty a great place to work.
We’re proud to provide all employees with resources for acquiring the knowledge and skills to improve job performance, increase employment opportunities and pursue personal development. Through our own Hagerty University, we offer classes like Public Speaking, Car Basics, Engine Guts & Glam and more. We also train and pay for employees to achieve insurance licensing and provide them with hands-on projects related to classic cars. They can even help restore classic vehicles along with our in-house experts!
How has the company grown in the past year? 5 years? Where do you see it going in the next 1-5 years?
One ingredient in our rapid growth is our insanely great customer service. Hagerty regularly earns a Net Promoter Score, which measures customer experience, in the mid-80s, far above the industry standard. Customers write to our CEO McKeel Hagerty all the time and say things like, “You all seem like car people!, Not just Insurance people! And that puts the fun back in owning an old car. I am an old guy & not real tech savvy, so one call & done!” That’s a real comment!
We are also known for the depth of our automotive knowledge, passion and expertise. Hagerty has partnerships with many of the top 25 personal auto carriers to provide specialized enthusiast vehicle coverage. The reason they want to partner with us is we are true car experts beyond insurance. In 2008, we first published our annual Hagerty Price Guide, providing price and value data to hobbyists on approximately 35,000 post-war vehicles. Our valuation experts are sought-after experts who are frequently quoted in the biggest media publications from coast to coast. Our magazine, Hagerty Drivers Club, has become one of the world’s largest car magazines in the world, and our Hagerty YouTube channel has more than 1 million subscribers, featuring outstanding programming like “The Barn Find Hunter” and “Redline Rebuild.”
Who are you looking for in order to fill the 200 positions that will be open at the Dublin location?
We are looking for talented, motivated people in IT, licensed sales agents, claims and insurance product professionals. We also are hiring for many other positions. For information on careers at Hagerty, click here.
What most excites you about the expansion to Dublin/Columbus? What have you heard about the city?
We immediately recognized how wonderful the Columbus/Dublin region is. It’s such a vibrant and exciting place with so much to do! That factored heavily into our decision to locate here. We wanted a region where our employees would love working and living, and that certainly describes Columbus/Dublin.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The word that best describes the Columbus region to us is “thriving.” There’s a vibrancy to the whole area. You can feel and see how much is going on here, and we’re thrilled to be a small part of it.