Owner(s): Elizabeth Hanlon
Year established: 1989
Location: 1236 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead
Number of employees: 12
Beth Hanlon is only 47, with two teenage kids, yet she’s an institution when it comes to the insurance business in Riverhead and on the North Fork. She founded her Allstate agency when she was in her 20s, a recent graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, after a friend from college who was working for Allstate in Farmingville told her the company was looking for agents.
“I never thought I would do that for a living,” Ms. Hanlon recalled, but she liked dealing with people and had experience working with telemarketing, so she interviewed with Allstate and talked to other agents. “They all seemed happy so I went for it. It was a good decision,” she said.
After training and obtaining the required licenses, she worked at the Sears in East Northport, when Sears owned Allstate. When Allstate became an independent company, she set up her own shop on Route 58 across from Herb Obser Motors, where her father was a salesman. She made plenty of trips across the street to get her dad’s business advice. When she needed more space for a growing staff, she moved east to another location on Route 58. She’s been in her current downtown Riverhead office for six years.
Today, Ms. Hanlon’s college friend, Elizabeth Burt, is her sales producer, and her husband, Owen, has become an Allstate agent himself so he can run the Wading River office they opened at 6278 Route 25A in April 2009. Ms. Hanlon is an insurance broker as well as an Allstate agent, so for products Allstate doesn’t offer — such as a new homeowner policy or commercial coverage — she can go to several carriers to find the best package.
Customer service, Ms. Hanlon says, has always been her specialty. She offers a drive-in claim service by appointment; if a client’s car is still safe to drive after an accident, he or she can bring it by and a staff adjustor will inspect it and help with any paperwork. Ms. Hanlon and her staff even make house calls; for example, they’ll come over to take the inspection photos that a new auto policy requires or help with claims paperwork. “It can be overwhelming,” she said of the claims process. “Just knowing someone will come and help, people appreciate it.”
Ms. Hanlon, who lives in Manorville with her family, is active with the Riverhead Rotary Club and the Manorville and Riverhead chambers of commerce. She also serves on the executive board of Aid to the Developmentally Disabled in Riverhead.
The Riverhead office is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The Wading River office (631-929-3400) is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.