If there’s an organization in Benton County that accepts volunteers, the Schoens have probably given their time to it. From school, bank, and library boards to the rotary club, the volunteer fire department and the local movie theatre, the Schoen men have served in every capacity
Jim Schoen and his two sons Blake and Taylor, own Hoosier Associates in Fowler, Ind. Their hearts for service are evident in their small community, but they don’t stop there. Each of the men has worked hard to give back to their industry as well. Since joining his family’s agency in 1979, Jim has been attending Big I Indiana events, starting with the Young Agents’ conference that year and continuing for decades. He served on the Big I Indiana board and then went through the executive committee chairs, becoming the president in 2008. His sons have followed in his footsteps. Blake currently serves on the education committee and Taylor is the chair of the Emerging Leaders (formerly Young Agents) committee.
“The leadership skills I learned during my time with the Big I have been extremely beneficial in my dealings in other organizations I’m involved with,” said Jim. Through their involvement with the association, the Schoens have made lifelong connections. “Friendships are a huge part of the Big I. You can talk to those people and bounce things off of them. If I can’t write an account, maybe someone else can and you trust them, so you’re not in competition with them. It’s very valuable,” Blake explained.
For anyone just joining the industry, the Schoens encourage them to find a mentor and give themselves at least five years in the business. “It takes time to build relationships, but each year you get new referrals as your network grows,” Taylor said. “It takes time to become comfortable and confident in the industry, but the long-term benefits are worth it.”
The Schoens approach their business a bit differently than some agencies. They handle it in the same way they do most things, making it personal, and taking the time to get to know each prospective client. “We have a hands-on approach because we want to know your family,” Taylor said. “We don’t email quotes; we sit down and talk through each client’s options.” That method has worked well and the agency has continued to grow through the decades. Much of their business is based in agriculture, but they cover everything and are now one of only four agencies in the county. Since two of his sons have joined the agency, Jim is now confident that his perpetuation plan is solid and they will continue to be able to serve the people of Benton County and beyond for decades to come.