- Business & Development
- Economic Development
- Business Spotlight 2 - Crowson Insurance
Business Spotlight 2 - Crowson Insurance
City of Burlington
Economic Development Office
September 29, 2021
Business Spotlight: Crowson Insurance Agency
Have you ever met anyone with a family lineage of entrepreneurs dating back to the late 1800s? Recently, up until I met Holt Skinner, I do not think I ever had the pleasure. Holt Skinner, the owner of Crowson Insurance Agency, is this month’s Burlington Business owner spotlight. As a Burlington native, Elon University graduate, and downtown Burlington business veteran, Holt Skinner is a force to be reckoned with in the insurance industry.
Crowson Insurance Agency was founded by Holt’s grandfather, M.W. Crowson, in 1938 and was passed down to Holt after graduating Elon University. As a communications student, Holt worked at the agency during school and throughout the summer. When computers entered the market, the agency needed help transitioning from paper to technology. This is where Holt learned the ropes of running all aspects of a small independent insurance agency from his Grandfather Croner, one of his trusted mentors up until he passed away.
Today, Holt is responsible for the many facets of managing the business, whether that is sales, service, or management. Holt says, “you do it all when you are a small business!” It is a daily challenge to survive against big brands, but word of mouth is their strongest form of advertising. He encourages aspiring business owners to recognize that running a business “is not as easy as it looks. When you own your own business, you have all the responsibility versus a big corporation that has an infrastructure. A small business owner either has to do it all or be in charge and make sure someone else is running it with your name on it.”
Crowson Insurance Agency prides itself on “giving the best personal services that we can and provide the best coverage at the best price.” They offer property and casualty insurance, everything on the personal side, like homeowner, automobile, and motor. Additionally, they offer commercial insurance for business owners, like general liability insurance. Anybody in state of North Carolina and Virginia can access their services!
Holt encourages people to shop with small insurance agencies since “you can save money with smaller insurance companies. Whereas larger corporations spend billions in advertising. That expense must be passed along somewhere. The independent carriers are beating their prices, and still hold on to A-rated carriers.”
What makes Crowson Insurance Agency unique is that they center a hands-on personal service approach to business. They have insured families up to four generations!
Secrets to Success
Holt acknowledges that you cannot buy loyalty, which is supported by their high rate of retention at 75%. He says “people don’t understand that in business and life you have to have a relationship with people. When you have a situation arise and you have a claim in a gray area, that is when you need to have a relationship with people to go to bat for you.”
Holt not only prioritizes relationship building within his business, but in the local community. He is involved in fundraising money for local food banks, sponsoring productions at the paramount, and serving on local community boards (Positive Attitude Youth Center, Burlington Downtown Corporation). He is proud that he has been able to plan and work with the community, as he measures success by “doing a good job and treating people right.”
Business in Burlington
There is nowhere else Holt Skinner would rather be than in downtown Burlington doing business. He says “the downtown community represents independent business and doing business locally. Majority of west Burlington is chains and franchises.” Downtown is traditionally local and emanates a sense of community and family. In Holt’s words, “downtown Burlington is the center and heart of the community, where you can serve people from across the community. All roads lead to downtown Burlington.”
Additionally, he loves doing business in downtown Burlington because he loves history, especially local history. Since 1898, at least one person in his family has been represented in downtown Burlington. His great grandfather Crowson was the editor and publisher of the Burlington Times, and coined the phrase “Bigger, Better Burlington.” If he were here today, I believe his grandfather would agree that Holt has carried on the legacy of building Bigger, Better Burlington.
Project Manager, EYOS Fellow
225 E Davis St, Burlington, NC 27215
Crowson Insurance Agency - Burlington, NC - Contact Us (mwcrowsoninsurance.com)
425 S. Lexington Ave.