Business Spotlight

Caring, Longevity, Trust are Key at Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance

Second-Generation Family-Owned Business Sticks to the Basic Values of Family, Trust
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South Pasadena’s Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance agency believes community service is part of the business plan. Photo courtesy of Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance

President Mark Miranti swears that the old-fashioned way of taking care of clients is the best way, a promise he and his partners at Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance (SMMA Insurance) put on the line every day.

“The insurance business is all about trust and getting to know clients, so we offer the insurance they need based on their situation,” Miranti said. “Whether you own a business, you are married, just starting a new job, have kids or one on the way, all these things help decide what coverage is right for you. We don’t try to fit you into a one-size-fits-all box because then when you have a claim, which is why you buy insurance, you might not be fully protected. Answering questions online for your business, your home, auto or umbrella does not give the insurance company the whole picture of who you are. Therefore, you may not be getting what you think you are paying for. Our formula has been successful for the 30 years the firm has been operating in South Pasadena.”

Two years ago, Mark Miranti, his spouse, Sandy (Shaw) Miranti, and Janet (Shaw) Benjamin purchased SMMA Insurance from their parents, community icons Joan and Ted Shaw. Mark now serves as President, Sandy handles accounting, IT and marketing, and Janet is head of the client benefits department, which includes group and individual life and health insurance. Since Mark, Sandy and Janet had all worked with Ted and Joan for over 25 years each at SMMA Insurance, they wanted to continue to build upon the amazing foundation that was already in place. Based upon the company’s strong performance over the past couple of years, it is a strategy that has worked. 

“We are a proud, second-generation, family-run business,” Mark said. “Most of our employees have been with us for at least 10 years and Wanda Robles, our VP in charge of staff, even dates back to the beginning in 1988.  We couldn’t do what we do without our dedicated, talented staff members. My father-in-law Ted still comes into the office and is my biggest mentor. The ability to be able to bounce decisions off someone like Ted, who is so respected in our business, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”    

SMMA Insurance sells commercial and personal insurance, as well as group and individual health and life insurance. “We call ourselves a full-service agency,” Mark said. “We are here to advise our clients and advise them on how each coverage within a particular policy applies to them.  We are not trying to sell a policy and make a quick buck. It’s the longevity of the policy that is more important. We want to keep you for years and make it a true relationship.”

“One of our slogans is that we insure what matters to you,” Mark added. “Whether you are a business owner that needs to protect the business you built, life insurance to protect your family or your business partners, or you’re a parent with a teenage kid driving for the first time, we are here to help you through the process.”

Mark also noted, “Away from all of the numbers, dollars and decimal points, insurance basically is protecting what you have built up and protecting the assets you have worked so hard for. Our goal is that you are covered correctly. You would be surprised at how many times you as a business owner or individual have financial exposure because nobody has looked at all your policies together to assure that they work as one to protect you or your business. We strongly recommend having all of your insurance in one place, so this creates accountability with your insurance professional.”

As an independent agency, SMMA Insurance has the ability to shop the market and secure the best coverage for its clients.

“We have the option of bundling policies with the same company, but only if that gives you the right coverage for the lowest cost,” Mark said. “Or we can find different companies that together create better overall coverage. We have hundreds of companies we can go to and we are proud of the relationships we have built with them over the last 30 years. Ted’s approach of being honest and trustworthy to both companies and clients is very important to us.”

While many companies pay lip service to their family approach to doing business, it is a way of life at SMMA Insurance, which has 28 employees. 

“We are in it for the long haul,” Mark said with a smile. “We are extremely involved in this community. That will never change. We love what we do, and we have fun doing it. Traditional values such as company picnics, producer trips, holiday parties and surprise office lunches ‘just because’ are still the norm at Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance.” Some of the many community activities in which SMMA Insurance is involved include 30 years of supporting South Pasadena’s 4th of July parade and activities (Festival of Balloons) and all 14 years of the Cruz’n for Roses: Hot Rod and Classic Car Show. 

SMMA partner Janet Benjamin is in charge of decorating the beloved South Pasadena Rose Parade Float.

“Janet and her husband, Rob, give every minute of their spare time to making sure we have an amazing float the following year,” Sandy said. “That’s dedication.”

In a time where many companies are increasingly utilizing technology to interface with their customers, SMMA Insurance’s personal approach is refreshing and, longtime and new clients agree, a differentiating factor.

“We want to service every account,” Sandy said. “Technology is wonderful, but we are trying to look at everyone as people and not a number. That is our gist. We have tremendous respect from the companies we represent. We really have a unique thing going here. Something very special and precious. I count my blessings every day.”

“Dad started the business with three things in mind,” Mark concluded. “Care for each individual client, support our community and have fun along the way. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Insurance Agency is located at 625 Fair Oaks Avenue, Suite 158, in South Pasadena. Its hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.smmainsurance.com or call (626) 799-7813.

Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall & Associates Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 11.9.18. Support Local Business.

Mitch Lehman

With over 22 years in publishing and a long time local, Mitch Lehman is a frequent contributor to the South Pasadena Review and Quarterly magazine. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in 2016, Mitch won 5 awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest.

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