At 605 West McLane Street, in the space formerly occupied by Teri Johnston and the State Farm Insurance Agency, insurance seekers can now find Stephenson Insurance Group, led by former Osceola and 2002 graduate of Clarke Community Schools, Josh Stephenson.
With the Jan. 3 official opening now in the books, Stephenson sat down to chat about how excited he is to be back in Osceola, reconnecting with people while providing quality service and education about insurance. to customers.
Born and raised in Osceola, Stephenson has many fond memories from growing up here. He spent his summers swimming in the old pool on the east side of town, riding his bike, and playing in the old ball fields.
“So many childhood memories here,” Stephenson said.
After high school, Stephenson attended Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri, where he majored in business administration and marketing.
After graduating from college, Stephenson first jumped into the insurance business, and has been there ever since.
“I never set out to go into the insurance business, but it was my first time and I fell in love with the business,” said Stephenson.
Stephenson spent 10 years at Nationwide Insurance in Des Moines, working in areas such as claims, sales, and underwriting, along with a variety of leadership positions. .
Wanting a change of pace and more customer interaction, Stephenson moved up to the insurance agency, spending the next seven and a half years at Midwest Heritage Agency in West Des Moines. . There, he led an insurance strategy that sold home, auto, business, farm, livestock, life, consumer goods, and more to consumers.
“(It will) be a lifelong dream to have your own agency…you never know how or when it will happen,” Stephenson said.
However, he knew one thing, when the time came, he wanted to open his own business in Osceola. When given the chance to do just that, Stephenson jumped at it.
“This is what suits me. I love the people of southern Iowa, back where I grew up, all these old connections,” Stephenson said.
As an independent agent, the products offered by Stephenson are not tied to a specific insurance provider, offering many options to the customer.
“We take whatever you need, take it out and explore the market…it’s a one-stop shop,” Stephenson said.
If a customer has questions about bills or claims, they can come directly to Stephenson instead of calling an insurance company or trying to find an answer online.
“We help you from start to finish, and then take care of you when you become a customer,” Stephenson said.
Another plus of using an independent agent versus a company, if the product you have is no longer suitable for you – perhaps the prices are not right. or the insurance company is no longer willing to insure you – you have options to go elsewhere, and you don’t have to think about it alone.
For Stephenson, educating people about the insurance they need and what they should buy is an important element to him.
“What I’m most proud of is walking someone through an insurance policy and explaining it…letting them decide what’s best for them, and helping them understand how to actually use those insurances,” Stephenson said.
Buying insurance isn’t just a one-way street, and Stephenson says the best way to be successful is involvement from the agent and the customer. It’s not just the product you’re buying, but the service, trust, and relationship with your agent in person, in real time.
“(For) southern Iowans, it’s a relationship,” Stephenson said.
Meet the agent
Stephenson lives in West Des Moines with his wife, Emily (a consultant at Nationwide), and their three sons: Jack, 7, Ben, 5, and Luke, 3 months. When not working, Stephenson said most of his time is devoted to spending time with his children and their activities. They love to swim and participate in every practice available to them, with Stephenson letting the coach know what he can.
“We’re big believers that if you want to get involved, get involved,” Stephenson said.
And when it comes to working back in his hometown and seeing familiar faces, Stephenson couldn’t be more prepared or excited.
“I’m very happy to be back. I feel like I’m up in Des Moines, but it doesn’t take long for you to come back…It’s always nice to be back,” Stephenson said.