WEDNESDAY, MAR. 21: “It’s not all doom and gloom.”
This from William Madeiros, vice president and general manager for Freisenbruch-Meyer Insurances Services.
His company is expanding by renovating the ground floor space formerly occupied by Makin’ Waves. Freisenbruch-Meyer currently occupies the first and second floors at 75 Front Street.
He said the expansion would allow the insurer to add three more people to the payroll.
“The state of the local economy is no secret. Any number of organizations and people are being challenged — and so are we — we’re not immune to that, but what is working in our favour is we are continuing to invest in the best quality of staff that we can possibly have.
“As much as it’s humanly possible, we recruit and retain Bermudians. We have 35 members of our team, 33 of which are Bermudian and two are guest employees. We believe in Bermudianization.
“Fundamentally, we at Freisenbruch-Meyer believe in Bermuda; we believe in our clients and we believe in ourselves.
“We have the odd day when listening to all the doom and gloom we have to ask ourselves ‘are we doing the right thing?’ and we absolutely are.
“Our clients continue to support us. Our numbers continue to be solid and we’re working in a very personalized way with all of our clients. The numbers are good — we are very pleased.”
One of the benefits is the company is putting in an elevator so customers won’t have to climb stairs to get to the first and second floors.
Mr Madeiros said: “One of the challenges we had is that if you wished to access us, you had to come through a side door, up a set of stairs to get the service you need. That in itself is a challenge in terms of people knowing where we are and accessing us.
“Everybody knows where Front Street is. Everybody knows where number 75 Front Street is.
“Going forward you will be able to literally walk off of Front Street and right into our shop front. I’d be so bold to say we’re probably going to have one of the best shop fronts in Bermuda.”
He added: “We’ve posted signs asking clients to understand what we’re doing. As I’m fond of saying, It’s the sweet sound of progress.
“We’re very excited about and looking forward to it. We’re developing a state-of-the-art client reception hall with the idea of having a very welcoming environment for all of our clients to come in and do all of their shopping in one location — we’re very excited about it.”
He said while the store front may be new, Freisenbruch-Meyer would remain committed to business model.
He said: “It’s about selling insurance like it’s never been sold before. Creating a welcoming, bright cheerful non-institutional type of setting.
Mr Madeiros said the company’s customer service stands out thanks to the vision at the top of the company from Michael Freisenbruch.
“He does not wish us to be the biggest. He wishes us to be the best.
“We transact business in what we call a boutique fashion. People are treated as people. Our often repeated refrain is ‘You’ve got a name, not a number.’ We encourage our clients to come in and sit down with us and talk through what their needs are.
“When people are paying their insurance, it can be a very expensive proposition and people deserve an opportunity to sit down in front of their insurance professional and say ‘This is what I need. These are what my requirements are. These are the risks I’m running and how can you help me?’
Running a boutique way of doing business works well. I’m not suggesting has to be anyone else’s model. I’m not suggesting the only model, but it works very well for us.
“We’ve been a top 10 employer for three years in a row, which we’re very proud of. We’ve been voted number one in customer service from all insurance providers in an independent poll last year. That bodes well for giving our clients great product and great services.
Construction started in early March and is expected to take less than four months to complete with a possibility that Freisenbruch-Meyer could be in their new digs by the end of May.