It was 2012 during a drought that Erica Lydolph realized her family was spending a lot of money on crop insurance every year and didn’t have a clue what they were buying.
“That scared me,” Lydolph said. “We didn’t understand what kind of coverages and protections we had.”
Lydolph decided to take her family farm in rural Stockport in Van Buren County into her own hands and started writing crop insurance with Farmers Mutual Hail. Since then, her passion about insurance and educating others on their policies has only grown.
Lydolph opened her own Allstate Insurance branch at 116 North Main Street in Mt. Pleasant on April 1.
“I love people, solving their problems, helping people and just truly being a part of a community,” Lydolph said. “Insurance is insurance is insurance. It is. To me, what brings a person into an agency is the service they are going to get. I don’t want to push paper. I want to be that force for good.”
Lydolph was looking for an opportunity to partner with a big-name insurance company when she saw one of Allstate’s “mayhem” commercials while watching college sports.
“They’re funny to watch, but I want to make sure I’ve got the right coverage in place,” Lydolph said.
As Lydolph researched more about Allstate, she grew to like their products with their choice auto, bundling opportunities with home and auto and safe driving rewards. The Allstate Foundation was another thing about the insurance company that drew her in.
The Allstate Foundation is the “good hands” of the company that seeks to empower youth, end domestic violence, transform communities and develop nonprofit leaders.
“They actively give back to their communities and in that way I felt empowered to want to be a part of it,” Lydolph said.
Lydolph chose to settle her business in Mt. Pleasant because of the way her family is already intimately connected to the area. While her three children go to school in Douds, they play ball and dance at Soul Expressions in Mt. Pleasant.
Lydolph went through four months of training with Allstate before opening her branch, including spending a month in Denver, Colo.
“It was hard being away from home, but they put you through hands-on experience,” Lydolph said. “We worked in their call center, interacting with people online purchasing insurance. That way, I could bring that model back here and truly be that ‘good hands’ service.”
Lydolph wants to make sure people who buy insurance with her know what they are getting. Insurance is the protection of their home, their car, their life and other assets, she said.
“That’s your livelihood. It scares me when we’re on the phone with someone and they don’t know or understand what kind of coverages they have. For me, it’s about being a teacher and educator about that policy and making sure they understand what’s covered and what’s not covered and helping them make the best decision for them,” Lydolph said.
Employees at Allstate are excited about the office being in the heart of Mt. Pleasant — downtown. Lydolph praised Main Street Mt. Pleasant and the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance for the ways they have already made the insurance agency feel at home.
When looking for a home base for her business, Lydolph said there was no question of where else they would go but downtown Mt. Pleasant.
Lydolph said it is “imperative” that businesses be involved locally. It draws people downtown and sustains the local economy, she said.
“If we’re drawing people into our business, next door we’ve got a restaurant, a quilting place, a movie theater. I hope it’s not a one shop stop,” Lydolph said.
Sue Frisbie, who works at Allstate, said that she was excited about joining the Mt. Pleasant branch after meeting Lydolph.
“I was excited about joining Allstate because of her energy,” Frisbie said. “After my training, I was even more excited because Allstate does have some awesome products. Personally, it saved me a lot of money on my home insurance.”
Anyone who gets a quote from Lydolph’s office during the month of May will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win tickets to a St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Angels game on June 22, at Busch Stadium.