April 17, 2014

Insurer Chapple seeing solid growth

There haven’t been any signs of recession at Chapple Insurance Group.

There haven’t been any signs of recession at Chapple Insurance Group.

The agency has been growing by double digits every year since Chock Chapple founded the firm a decade ago. It grew 15 percent last year, Chapple said.

And it’s not because the demand for insurance in Wichita has been rising that fast. Chapple said the firm is claiming more of the market through better service and knowledge as well as expansion elsewhere.

“We’ve hired good people who are service-driven,” he said. “I don’t think there is an agency that works harder than we do.”

Yet, Chapple said, he has strived to make the firm a good place to work. He’s a divorced father and understands the needs of family.

“We believe in the ‘Hard 40,’ ” he said. “Forty hours of hard work and then go home. That’s all I ask.”

The firm is 85 percent commercial insurance and 15 percent individual, typically aimed at the more affluent.

“The more toys, the better,” he said.

The agency has 27 employees in Wichita and in offices in Tulsa and Cape Coral, Fla. Chapple asked his stepmother, Wichita businesswoman Beth Chapple, to manage the Florida office short term, but she has now decided to take part ownership.

In December, the name of the firm changed from Commercial Insurance Group to Chapple Insurance Group because a company in California had already trademarked the former name and didn’t want its customers to be confused online. Chapple’s firm retains the old name as its legal name.

Chapple has relinquished the title of president to Brent Wasson and just hired Greg Gawlick as chief operating officer. Chapple took the title of chief customer service officer.

Chapple started the business in 2004 after 18 years at Wichita insurer IMA. He was senior vice president when he left.

“I turned 40 about to the day, and I thought ‘now is the time’ – not a midlife crisis, but the entrepreneurial bug,” he said.

His father and grandfather, both named Jay, sold insurance in Wichita. Chapple got into the industry when his father told him he would pay for his education at Kansas State if he’d try insurance for a couple of years.

“That was 28 years ago,” Chapple said.

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