Setting itself apart
MICHIGAN CITY — Long before the pineapple became a trendy fashion statement, Michiana Insurance had incorporated the fruit into its business logo.
Why? The explanation can be found at www.michianainsurance.com: “The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality – showing guests that the host had spared no expense for their pleasure. It all started when Columbus brought this unusual fruit back to Europe after his travels to the Caribbean. Fresh fruits were rare in most of the homes of that time, and the pineapple, the rarest! It soon became the symbol of hospitality. The pineapple became the image of welcome, good cheer, graciousness, warmth and conviviality. Those sentiments are ones we extend to each and every customer when they choose us for their insurance needs.”
Michiana Insurance adopted the pineapple back in 1988, eight years after the business was began by Al Kepler and Wayne Dolson in a building on Johnson Road in Coolspring Township. Later it moved to the corner of Franklin and 10th streets.
Owner John Klingenmeier, who had 9 1/2-years with another insurance agency in town, was good friends with Al Kepler and purchased Michiana Insurance in 1988. The business moved to moved to its current location at 5385 N. Johnson Road in 2003. As its grown, three others locations have opened up in South Bend in 2012, New Carlisle in 2014 and in Plymouth of April 2017.
The pineapple is a constant reminder of Michiana Insurance’s hospitality – what Klingenmeier believes sets the business apart from others in its category.
“We pride ourselves that we greet customers by name,” he said. “Some even come in just to visit and enjoy our complimentary cookies in the morning.”
Klingenmeier said customers who left his business to purchase insurance on the Internet have came back to Michiana Insurance.
“They want to speak to someone face to face,” he explained, adding the business’ “exceptional customer service” is another distinguishing characteristic of the company.
“One customer ended up using us because of how timely and efficiently they saw the claim with the other party involved,” he said. “We want your claim to go as smoothly as possible.”
Unlike other agencies that offer insurance services and products from just one company, Michiana Insurance is an independent agency that allows staff to pick and choose the best possible fit for the client.
“That’s something that the independent agencies have as an advantage over other agencies,” Klingenmeier said.
“We save a lot of money for a lot of people without jeopardizing their coverage and for some even giving them more coverage for less,” he continued.
“Trying to save as much as possible,” customers can take advantage of several discounts today such as those for students’ good grade, insuring multiple vehicles or combining home and auto insurance together, paying in full at one time rather than in installments, having an “empty nest,” and more.
Most of the 32 companies that Michiana Insurance deals with are A-rated, he noted.
In addition, “when we see a large rate increase, we try to be proactive in finding a more affordable option for our customers,” he said.
Michiana Insurance employs a staff of 17, including Klingenmeier. Twelve of those are at the Michigan City office and the insurance agents there offer customers a combined experience of 184 years.
“When you add it all up, that’s a lot of experience.”
Next year Klingenmeier, who has an associates degree in business management, will celebrate 30 years in the insurance industry. He has his wife, Gretchen, have been married 18 years and have five children and one granddaughter. One daughter, Stephanie Klingenmeier, is an elementary teacher and has earned her property and casualty life insurance license to work part-time with her father.
In addition to the more standard products such as home, auto and life insurance, Michiana Insurance also offers its customers health, bond, farm, commercial, business, recreational vehicle, watercraft, and boat insurance.
In many cases, customer can fill out an application online to get a quote in person by the end of the day or by the following day.
Michiana Insurance is dedicated to the community it serves as well. Its Michigan City location is a member of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce, and the company has supported The Salvation Army of Michigan City, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, the SHARE Foundation with the handicapped and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, just to name a few organizations.
On its Facebook page, customers will find monthly contests such as the recent costume contest for Halloween.
For more information about Michiana Insurance, go to www.michicanainsurance.com, look up “Michiana Insurance” on Facebook or call the Michigan City office at (219) 879-6482. The hours at that location are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.