Member Spotlight – Swamp Fox Agency
Over 35 years ago, three logging equipment salesmen made the career change to insurance sales, focused on the logging industry. They were dissatisfied with the options their customers had in securing proper commercial auto insurance coverage. They figured an insurance agency specialized in logging could do a better job than the generalist agents, prevalent at the time. This was the inception of what would later become Swamp Fox Agency.
In 2013, Swamp Fox Agency was acquired by Rick Quagliaroli. Rick has enjoyed an impressive career in the insurance industry, notable examples being the President of Hartford Commercial Insurance Company and the Chairman, President, and CEO of Strongwood Insurance Holdings. Rick knows insurance.
Swamp Fox Agency strives to provide the forestry market with the proper coverage and risk management solutions, such as the newest virtual training programs adapted to their client’s needs. These efforts have helped their clients reduce costs by as much as 30%.
When a group of loggers asked Rick if there was an alternative to standard insurance carriers, the answer was a simple yes—a captive program. Every industry in the United States has one or more insurance carriers that focus only on a specific industry and are owned by companies in those industries. Individual companies help to capitalize the insurance carrier, and as owners, they enjoy the benefits and services of ownership. Hence, the creation of Forestry Insurance Company of the SouthEast (FICoSE). This is the only logger owned captive insurance company in the U.S.
Swamp Fox Agency is the operational manager of FICoSE, the captive insurance company owned by loggers who are the shareholders. The Company is operated for the benefit of loggers and writes auto liability and general liability at competitive premiums.
Developed with its logger owners, FICoSE provides specific tools to reduce operating expenses. For instance, vehicle out of service (VOOS) violations were down in 2018 and 2019. Fewer VOOS means an increase in the number of loads being delivered. In 2018, the average operating expense was down $85,000 per logger.
All insureds are renewed, including those with accidents, and FICoSE has produced stable rates. Typically, renewal quotes are delivered two to three weeks in advance of renewal—no waiting for a quote the day before expiration.
FICoSE provides its logger owners the training and information that enables the logger to be compliant with Department of Transportation regulations. Driver training is at the heart of the training and has demonstrated to be highly positive on driver safety awareness. The loggers are provided services in the areas that will most improve their profitability. FICoSE is organized with a team of specialists to continually support the changing needs of its owners.
FICoSE has the potential to pay dividends to shareholders. Dividends can never be guaranteed but can be paid to shareholders with approval from the Department of Insurance.
The logger owners of FICoSE are proving that fleet safety is an investment that lowers cost, improves profits, and creates a positive public view of the logging industry. Their examples are too numerous for this article.
Swamp Fox Agency is a member of the Forest Resources Association as well as other state forestry associations and is the endorsed agency for the South Carolina Timber Producers Association. Additionally, local community involvement is important to Swamp Fox Agency, as demonstrated by Rick serving on the board of directors for both the Lord Berkeley Land Trust and the Berkeley County Museum.