Born in San Diego, California, Richard F. Bunch III “Gordy” served in the U.S. Coast Guard before he began his career in the insurance industry. His military background and commitment to do the right thing has been a guiding force throughout his professional career. After working with several insurance companies including Prudential, Gordy realized that insurance customers really needed an agency that could provide various carrier options with competitive rates.
With just $10,000 in capital, Gordy started The Woodlands Financial Group (TWFG) in 2001. Many people discouraged him to take the risk, telling him that he was crazy to start a company with limited capital and experience. But Gordy’s confidence in his business model, blind faith and the belief that failure is not an option pushed him to pursue his dream. Living off his savings, Gordy sacrificed an income for almost three years while working 80 hours a week in order to get his company off the ground.
While it was difficult in the beginning and he and his wife and baby did without a lot of creature comforts his peers enjoyed, he knew he was building something sustainable and he enjoyed the process. Not one to stay comfortable with the status quo, Gordy knew from the very beginning that building the business would be worth the risk and when challenges arose, he viewed them as opportunities for improvement rather than road blocks to success.
Unique in the industry, TWFG clients enjoy the benefits of a large financial services company with experience, knowledge and access to the best rates of more than 200 insurance companies with personalized customer service often found with smaller agencies. The motivating belief that, “clients deserve the best of both worlds when shopping for their insurance needs to protect their family members and hard-earned possessions,” has made TWFG highly successful.
By the end of year five, the Insurance Journal reported The Woodlands Financial to be in the top 100 privately held property and casualty agencies in the US. The most recent list published by the Insurance Journal recognizes The Woodlands Financial Group as being the 15th largest personal lines agency and the 67th largest agency overall out of 38,000 agencies nationwide. TWFG closed the books December 2011 with over $200 million in written premium.
The Woodlands Financial Group currently operates several companies including TWFG Insurance Services with 270 offices in 16 states, TWFG General Agency with 2,200 independent agents nationwide and TWFG Premium Finance Company.
Initially at the start of the company Gordy handled all management, financial and business decisions, however realized after a few years that he could not do everything himself. He then focused on building a team with the core competencies to help him build and grow the company. Due to this over the past 10 years TWFG has been able to grow without losing its small-office feel and charm because TWFG employees work for the client, not the carriers.
TWFG agents shop for the best coverage for each person and obtain the best pricing without compromising their needs. Created so agents and customers can have access to solutions that fit their lifestyle, coverage and budget needs, The Woodlands Financial Group provides consumers insurance coverage options for everything including their home, auto, life, health, RV, boat/ATV and commercial insurance needs.
Gordy has created a business model many in the industry have tried but failed to replicate. Gordy built the retail insurance model and then the wholesale model which complement each other. In order to offer more product options and lower costs for clients, he also owns his own software and marketing companies in addition to both wholesale and retail arms of the insurance business. Because of the size of his organization, he is able to offer more carrier options than his competition and his company has been extremely successful. In fact, in 2011 when the industry as a whole was negative, TWFG experienced a 27 percent growth rate.
Gordy plans to add 150 additional locations across the country in 2012 and has recently purchased an insurance company to expand product offerings for clients. He projects a 25 percent growth rate for 2012 and long-term, Gordy plans to be a billion dollar sales organization.
Gordy moved to the Woodlands area in 1995 where he currently lives with his wife Michelle and three, young children. Both his family and company are very active and supportive members of the community. TWFG currently supports The American heart Association, MS Society and Susan G Komen charities. Additionally, Gordy frequently gives his team members the opportunity to wear jeans to work. Money raised by employees who donate money to dress casually go towards buying presents for Toys for Tots at Christmas time and food for families less fortunate during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Gordy has created a supportive working environment for his employees by offering them the most state-of-the-art technology, training courses, multiple career paths within a modern work environment. Agents can work more efficiently by using online comparative rating systems for personal lines, commercial lines, life and health, which allow for single application entry and bridging directly to carrier web sites in real time. TWFG agents also enjoy the benefit of an agency management system which provides them full reporting capability and robust functionality.
Employees at TWFG are encouraged and empowered to make decisions to best serve the company and its clients. The culture also supports career growth. In fact, those who started with Gordy in 2001 before health insurance was even offered as a benefit are still with the company and have grown into management roles.
Responsive and accessible to his employees, customers and vendors, Gordy has built a business built on trust and a commitment to excellence and as an Iron Man competitor, Gordy believes in pushing himself to the absolute extreme limit to achieve success.
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