BY C.J. MARSHALL
When Paul Shedlauskas started the Shedlauskas Insurance Agency in Tunkhannock back in 1982, he had exactly zero customers.
Now, 35 years later, the agency boasts a clientele of over 3,500 customers. The service Paul Shedlauskas provides to his customers - along with wife Jane and their sons Eric and Mark - is so highly regarded the Shedlauskas Insurance Agency placed number one in a reader poll conducted recently by the Wyoming County Press Examiner.
Paul, who grew up in Benton Township near Factoryville, said he was surprised when informed the about the situation, given the fact they never asked anyone to vote for them.
“We appreciate the people responding,” he said. “Hopefully, it means we’re on the right track.”
“We have nice customers,” Jane said.
Paul set up the agency in Tunkhannock back on April 1, 1982 after learning that Erie Insurance was looking agents in Pennsylvania.
“When we started, I was known as a scratch agent,” Paul explained. “I didn’t have any customers.”
Many insurance agents take over agencies that have an existing customer base. Paul had to start from square one.
“We scrimped and we scrapped,” Jane said about the experience.
Fortunately, Paul loves to travel and turned that to his advantage. He recalled how, in the early days, even on family trips, he would stop by clients’ homes to perform appraisals.
It was a lot of hard hours for Paul in those early days, and he recalled how at the end of the day, he would reward himself with cup of hot chocolate for 35 cents.
Jane started working at the office early on, and Eric and Mark began helping out there a short time later. Paul said that the boys started out answering the phone, emptying the trash and helping with the filing. As time went on, the two learned more and more about the insurance business to the point where they became licensed agents while still in college.
“They were so well advanced they got their licenses well before most other people in the field get theirs,” Paul explained.
Jane is not a licensed insurance agent, explaining that she prefers to work twice a week at the office, performing filing and other duties which are not time sensitive.
Another key person at the Shedlauskas Insurance Agency is Caitlin Murphy. Paul explained that Caitlin is a people person, who answers the phones, takes customer information, and performs various duties related to the office.
Eric explained that Shedlauskas Insurance handles personalized line policies - including auto, home, and life. They also hand commercial lines - including hotels, gas stations, and mini marts. The agency will also provide bonding for its clients.
Concerning why Shedlauskas’ clientele think so highly of the agency, Eric said it is the time each of them spend with their customers.
“There are agencies who say they can get you a quote (for a policy) in five minutes,” he said. “We don’t do that. “We ask questions. We want to know more. We’re thorough. We want to know our customers needs.”
“We’re very careful about that,” Jane said.
Mark explained that if a change has to be made to policy they will very carefully explain the reasons to their clients.
“We work with the client, and that is what the client has come to expect,” he said.
A large majority of their customers come via referrals, Mark explained. If an existing customer refers someone to them, they get a thank you card in the mail.
All this has resulted in a very strong and loyal customer base for the Shedlauskas Insurance Agency. In many instances, Paul said, the agency has written policies for three generations of families. His first client, Mark Bowers, whom Paul sold an insurance policy to back in 1982, remained a client until his death in March 2016.
“My mission statement, which I have had since the first day has been to be available, affable and advisable. In summery, after 35 years, those who itch for success must keep scratching,” Paul explained.