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Best large agents/brokers

Kansas City, Mo.
Employees: 2,432

Best large agents/brokers

At Lockton Cos. L.L.C., the company's culture is seen as its defining feature, and the company goes to great lengths to maintain that culture and apply it to every aspect of its business.

That culture, said John L. Lumelleau, Lockton's president and chief executive officer, “is the bedrock of what we're all about.”

“It starts with the constituencies that are critically important; it's our clients, our employees and our communities,” Mr. Lumelleau said. “We put them front and center every day. It's done at every level of the company.”

Kansas City, Mo.-based Lockton is the world's largest privately owned insurance broker. Lockton associates advise more than 15,000 clients around the world on risk management and insurance, employee benefits and retirement programs, customizing each risk management and employee benefit program. The company has grown from a one-person operation in 1966 to the world's 10th largest insurance broker.

“It starts, as you would expect, with hiring great people,” Mr. Lumelleau said. “The consistent theme is the right person for our company. There's a special kind of individual that we want to attract and retain for Lockton.”

“At the end of the day,” Lockton's president and CEO noted, “all we can put in front of our customers is our people.”

Another aspect of Lockton's approach might seem subtle at first, but it's significant, Mr. Lumelleau said.

“We do not refer to ourselves as employees. We refer to ourselves as associates,” he said. “It's only a word, but it helps us to set the tone.” When Lockton recruits and hires individuals, the company wants them to understand they'll be “associated” with others at Lockton and the broker's clients.

The broker also tries to ensure that the individuals hired to serve its clients can do so as effectively as possible, with all the authority necessary to do their jobs unencumbered by company bureaucracy.

“We try not to let the company get in the way of our associates doing the job for our clients,” Mr. Lumelleau said. “I don't ever want Lockton, in some sort of bureaucratic way, to hinder our associates' ability to serve our clients.”

“We're very proud of the people who work at Lockton and I'm very personally proud to be associated with them,” Mr. Lumelleau said.