Anyone who speaks to Charlie Brunt can tell immediately that he is a true family man, the Brunt Christmas this year had a whooping forty-six family members in attendance – and those were just the ones that could make it home! But even beyond his personal life, Charlie Brunt is the 24/7, 365 go-to guy for his clients. Read on to get his perspective on insuring local businesses and the importance of communication and service in an industry that can be perceived as anything but familial.
Comp Blog: Tell us about your background: did you grow up in Louisiana? What’s your family like?
Brunt: Well to start, I have seven brothers and seven sisters, so including myself that’s fifteen children. I grew up in Jennings, Louisiana – born and raised. My Dad was a physician, a general practitioner. My mom used to say that he would tell her they were cheaper by the dozen, but he lied!
What people don’t realize about really large families is that you’re really only growing up with the siblings that are closest to you in age. I’m the oldest, so now I have nieces and nephews all over the place. My oldest daughter, who is forty-four, is one year younger than my youngest brother. That’s kind of how it works generational when a family is so big.
Comp Blog: What is your agency and how did you get into the insurance business?
Brunt: The Brunt Group is a family-owned business. I started it in 1999 with my wife Suzzane. We work together as co-owners and we have three other employees in our office. She and I have been married for 26 years and together for 28 years. She’s the real office manager and handles billing and day to day operations. We are one of those couples that can really work together all day, every day. Sometimes I even miss her at the end of the day if we haven’t had a chance to see each other much in the office. It takes a union of two to go in one direction.
As for how we really got into it, we were both originally in auditing and had that mindset. We definitely came up the hard way and worked as auditors in workers’ comp and general liability. Towards the end of the century, 1998 and 1999, we saw that larger companies were moving to the larger auditing firms, so we decided to go into business for ourselves and started The Brunt Group.
Comp Blog: What are your areas of expertise at The Brunt Group?
Brunt: We’re kind of the red-headed stepchild among insurance agencies because we only do commercial. We thought about doing personal but I like working with businesses and their needs.
Comp Blog: What is the main thing a client should look for in their agent as they shop for their coverage needs?
Brunt: I would say they need an agent that’s going to be there for them 24/7.
Comp Blog: With that in mind, how does The Brunt Group differentiate itself in service to its clients? What makes you unique?
Brunt: With us, we’re never really closed. The doors are locked but I’m always available. Most of my clients have my personal cell number. Even the CSRs in our office will get texts from clients, we’re looking to help them out. Being only in commercial lines, after five o’clock is when business owners need me most.
Service is the main thing. Credentials are great, and you should have that and I appreciate going out and getting all that, but if you don’t have service to back up those credentials, then you’re not worth much.
Comp Blog: Finally, what’s your favorite thing about being a Louisiana native?
Brunt: I love the weather in Louisiana. People always say, “Oh it’s so hot down here!” But for me, I’d rather be a little hot then have to dig my way out of ten feet of snow.I’d get cabin fever.
I used to hunt a lot. Now that I’m older I still like to hunt and fish but I’ll go catching crawfish. That way I know I’m going to have a feast and a party afterwards.