The Bob Wallin Insurance company is an old-fashioned success story of love, grit and hard work.
Bob Wallin started out in the industry in the late ’60s with his wife, Nita Wallin. It was just the two of them, and he hit the streets while she worked the books. Bob was a natural talker; he made friends easily and won over the neighbors.
“They slowly grew to hire some employees,” says Suzanne Taylor, Commercial Lines Producer at Bob Wallin Insurance. And now, almost 50 years later – with a lot of hard work and community growth – the company was recognized by the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce as the 2018 Small Business of the Year.
“Bob Wallin passed away five years ago, but it would’ve been such a neat thing for him [to win the small business award],” says Taylor. “He was always all about the clients and the community and just wanted to get involved.”
Nita is now 90. She worked alongside Bob, growing the business through the years, and in 2006 passed it onto their daughter, Ann Leonard-Wallin, and granddaughter, Sue DeLeon, who now own and run the company.
It means a lot to the Wallins that their business stays in the family. They are one of the only family-owned independent insurance companies left in Whatcom County.
For Bob’s widow Nita, winning the award was an incredibly special moment. “[They were] a husband and wife team and sacrificed a lot to make this business work throughout the years,” says Taylor. “It was emotional for [the family] because Bob couldn’t be there, but they felt like he was there in spirit.”
Winning the award “means so many different things for our company,” Taylor continues. “It means recognition [that] we’re doing something right.”
“We want our clients to be proud that they’re with an agency that won this award, because we wouldn’t be here without them,” she says.
The friendly workspace and familial environment keep Bob Wallin Insurance employees happy. Most of them have been working there for over a decade.
Taylor credits the staff for the award. “Every single staff member here, from the reception to the owners, played a key part in earning that recognition,” she says.
“I really enjoy everyone I work with here,” says Taylor. “It always makes me happy to hear them bust out in laughter. I think that [feeling] helps a business thrive.”
Happy employees bring about happy clients, and Bob Wallin’s track record shows a history of long-standing customers who appreciate the customer service so much that they bring along friends and referrals.
“A large part of our business [is] by word-of-mouth,” says Taylor. “It’s been like that for several years and I think that in itself speaks huge amounts.”
“We’ve had people reach out to us so happy just walking them through a claim because it was a really scary process,” she says. It’s this personalized service that makes Bob Wallin Insurance stand out among the competition.
At Bob Wallin, there’s always someone on the other line waiting to help you through a sometimes complicated insurance process, which can feel completely foreign to most people. Bob Wallin employees follow through by calling clients afterward to make sure the claim has been resolved.
Taylor says clients are often so happy with their service that they “take the time to walk into the office or call and say, ‘You guys are fantastic. Anyone I talk to, I’m going to send them your way.’”
Bob Wallin covers nearly every aspect of personal and commercial insurance. Their reviews speak for themselves. Support local business and call for a quote today.