Hunter Insurance Agency has long been a community fixture. Locals fondly remember Howard and Joy Hunter, who started their business from scratch in 1962. Their son and current agency president Dan Hunter, when a kindergartener, spent mornings at Ella Canavan Elementary School and afternoons at the Hunter Agency office, which at the time was a rented space above the former Old Phoenix Bank (now Huntington Bank) on Medina’s historic Public Square. This was when Medina’s only fire station was located on the Square. “When the fire bell would ring, it used to be really cool to watch from that upstairs window as the volunteer firemen raced to the station from every direction,” Dan recalls. “Along with looking at insurance brochures, that’s one of my most vivid early childhood office memories.”
Fast forward three years to 1965: A dilapidated house at the corner of North Court and West Homestead catches Howard’s eye and captures his imagination as a perfect location for his and Joy’s fledgling business. “I thought How was out of his mind,” Joy recalled years later. “You want to pay money for that?” she asked in disbelief. Yes, that’s exactly what Howard wanted to do. He had a vision, and following several months of intense work, Hunter Insurance Agency moved to 703 North Court Street in 1966, where it still stands and thrives today. Through a series of retirements, Dan and wife Ellen Hunter became the agency’s sole owners in 2012. Dan has been a full-time agent since 1979 and Ellen, also a licensed agent, has been involved with the agency since 1989 and now oversees operations.
To the Hunter family, “small town” roots are well worth celebrating. Those roots anchor a tradition of integrity, trust, continuity and community-mindedness. Parents Howard and Joy never intended to push their children into the agency, but as it grew and as their children got involved, the staff and clients grew to become a tightly-knit family. That sense of family and trust instilled one unshakable principle in the business: Give each client the attention that he or she deserves.
”Growing up, we actually lived here,” said Dan of the current office space. “It became the office first, but then they decided to remodel and add living quarters. From the time I was in fourth grade until halfway through my college career, this was our home.” But of course, the business expanded, inevitably nudging them out. “Going through school, I do not think I had any intentions of going into the family insurance business,” Dan muses. “But when I completed my education, joining the family agency felt like a natural move to try. Nearly 40 years later, here I am.”
For Ellen, a career as an insurance agent was never on her radar while growing up. “We met while Dan and I were students at the College of Wooster,” she explains with a twinkle in her eye and a sincerely warm smile. “Dan was a senior in ’79 when we got engaged, and I had two more years at school. I was a German major. I remember him mentioning that he was considering going into the insurance agency, and that moment really set our course. We were married two years later after I graduated, and I did some behind-the-scenes work with Hunter Insurance Agency while the kids were little. After they grew up, I took on more hours. I finally joined the agency full-time in 2011.” She also mentions with a bright laugh that she did actually use her skills in translating once, when a German Motor Vehicle Report came into the office. “While I never necessarily expected to be here, it is so neat to be able to carry on the tradition of what Dan’s parents started. We always joke that we’re channeling Howard and Joy!”
Hunter Insurance is proud to be an independent agency. What does that mean? An independent agent represents a number of insurance companies. In Hunter’s case, some of their company relationships go back decades— and that tells you something about these companies and the agency itself. The Hunter Agency has represented Westfield Insurance for all of the 56 years the agency has been in business. Hunter has represented Grange Insurance for nearly 50 years, and it works with a few other companies as well. An independent agent represents the insurance company, but ultimately works for the policyholder: providing professional guidance and advice, answering questions, adjusting coverages as needed, and, when losses occur, helping policymakers navigate through the claims process. The Hunter Agency has many client relationships that have lasted four and five decades. How does that happen? Because their staff is experienced, knowledgeable, and always strives to be service-minded and accessible. And at Hunter Insurance, accessibility means communicating with clients where and how they want to communicate: via phone or email, in the agency’s office or at the client’s location.
Some independent insurance agencies focus the largest part of their time and energy on various types of business insurance. While Chris Wheeler (assisted by Mary Hontert and Dan Hunter) takes excellent care of the agency’s commercial accounts, the agency’s main focus has always been what insurance people call “personal lines,” which includes home, auto, umbrella, and other personal coverages. And the companies Hunter represents, like Westfield, Grange, and State Auto have excellent personal lines products. Westfield’s home/auto package known as a Wespak, and a newer version known as a Wespak Estate policy, are favorites of the Hunter personal lines staff. A Wespak Estate policy is geared toward higher-value homes that may have more complex protection needs. A unique feature of the Estate program is the guaranteed replacement cost coverage it provides, based on a detailed home evaluation. And, as carriers go, Westfield is hard to beat. Westfield has been in business for 170 years, has earned an A.M. Best rating of “Excellent” or better for nearly 80 consecutive years (a boast few companies can make), and offers great claims service.
The Hunter Agency’s knowledgeable personal lines team consists of five experienced agents: Laurel Mader, Joyce Hillrich, Nicole Koppes, Grace Kazek, and Anne Mainwaring. They are assisted by Anita Whitslar and Lorrie Storch. If you’re seeking a quote, contact Laurel, Joyce, or Dan at 330.725.4543…or visit HunterIns.com. Beyond commercial and personal lines coverage, the Hunter Agency also offers life insurance. Chris Raber is the staff person who heads up that area. He can be reached at the same contact information listed above.
Join the family. Develop a relationship. Find out what professional service, delivered in a small town atmosphere of continuity and concern, feels like.