Local risk management firm brings together old teammates to tackle commercial insurance.
Teamwork is a major part of any successful organization. When your team works well together, supports one another and has each other’s back, the work becomes easier and the load lighter. There’s a strategy to this level of relationship and a winning formation helps guarantee success. No one knows that better than Seth Phillips and LaVonte Darby. The pair currently team up at RiskSOURCE, a risk management and insurance agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before their professional partnership, they battled together on the gridiron as Fight’n Quakers for Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio.
Wearing numbers 23 and 24, Phillips — then a wide receiver, now a commercial risk consultant, and Darby — a defensive back, now a business development specialist — would play against one another on the practice field. Sitting next to each other in the locker room, and sharing the same major, they quickly became friends off the field. Years after graduation, the pair find themselves back together again.
“We were growing our commercial team earlier this year when we hired Seth.” said Amanda Shults, President of RiskSOURCE. “And when we were ready to continue expanding, one particular resume jumped out at Seth — LaVonte’s. We decided this unique coincidence was a sign that Seth and LaVonte were meant to be reunited as a team!”
The ribbing and banter that comes with playing together on the field is still evident today between the two. They are also still pushing each other to elevate their game. “The dedication and hard work we put in today is throwback from our Wilmington days,” Darby explains. During college, whenever Darby wanted to squeeze in a nap between classes, workouts or other extracurricular activities, Phillips would motivate him to put in the extra effort. “I can’t let him just out-work me!” Darby laughs.
Today the duo are still pushing each other and putting in the work, although their concentration has shifted to helping area businesses manage risk, rather than forcing fumbles or catching touchdowns. Now they rally together to educate RiskSOURCE clients on a different way to purchase commercial insurance. “There’s a lot of strategy involved in our process, just like football, and the object is to help the client score a win,” Phillips said.Their new playbook includes quantifiable assessments that allow them to understand the client’s business from a 360° view. This consultative approach is designed to deliver more than an insurance policy. It helps drive down risk and positively impact the bottom line.
The pair have been more successful professionally than they were collegiately. “In our college days, we didn’t always win,” Darby said. “But I think that’s what fuels our ‘can-do’ attitude. We learned back then that, win or lose, you still need to get back up, work hard and push through. That’s where the real integrity is,” he added.
A Team Culture
Darby and Phillips exemplify the RiskSOURCE value of taking care of people first, not only clients, but with each other. “We like to tease one another but, in the end, we always have each other’s back,” Phillips said.
RiskSOURCE has been recognized for five years in a row as “Best Place to Work.” This award-winning culture is built on trust and supporting one another. “It’s very much a team spirit and something Seth and I are familiar with,” Darby said. “That mentality spills over into how we work with our clients. They can trust we’re here to do the right thing for them.”
Finally Getting the Wins
Continual improvement and putting in hard work are common themes for Phillips and Darby. The two work every day to engage the RiskSOURCE process and analyze each client’s situation – just like they might have reviewed game film during their playing days. The result is a dynamic duo that supports one another and finds ways to deliver a win for their clients. Both agree, it feels great to reunite for a winning team.
Seth Phillips, commercial risk consultant, likes to know how things work. His prior experience was with an insurance agency but before that, he was on the operations side of a business. We think that’s the perfect combination to assess risk and customize insurance solutions for our commercial accounts.
About RiskSOURCE Clark-Theders
RiskSOURCE is an independent insurance agency offering a comprehensive suite of insurance solutions to protect you from the unexpected. We don’t just sell insurance. We work closely with clients to help them make important and informed decisions every day when it comes to protection and their future. The RiskSOURCE process goes beyond insurance by identifying the potential risks that can impact coverage. Unlike typical agents who go through a standard insurance buying process, as trusted risk advisors, RiskSOURCE agents work with clients to create a portfolio that provides the fullest protection. We offer comprehensive insurance solutions in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and beyond.
Seth Phillips, commercial risk consultant, likes to know how things work. His prior experience was with an insurance agency but before that, he was on the operations side of a business. We think that’s the perfect combination to assess risk and customize insurance solutions for our commercial accounts. Seth enjoys the people side of the business and is looking forward to forming new and long-lasting relationships. He commutes to West Chester from Hillsboro where mowing the lawn involves a tractor and 17 acres! He serves on the Board of Directors for Highland County Chamber of Commerce
LaVonte Darby, business development specialist, provides support to the entire commercial line team. His background as a Risk Consultant and Account Manager gives him the unique ability to assess the needs of prospective clients and capture risk exposures that require added protection. Born and raised in Cincinnati, LaVonte is busy at home with his two-year-old son and spends his spare time coaching Pee Wee football with his dad for the Fairfield Indians. Education: Wilmington College, BA in Business Administration, 2013