Open for Business: Mountain West Insurance has wide network from Craig hub
When he began Mountain West Insurance & Financial Services in 1998, Darrell Camilletti had only a handful of employees and a minimal amount of office space.
Two decades later, the company has 180 employees in 16 offices, primarily across western Colorado, as well as a site in Englewood and another in Farmington, New Mexico.
As the chief financial officer for Mountain West, Camilletti struck out on his own following 22 years with Farm Bureau Insurance, including 15 years of management.
“I just felt we could better serve the customers with multiple carriers, various options, more capacity to do things that the areas we worked in had available,” Camilletti said. “We’re an independent agency representing about 250 companies. You have the option of multiple carriers, that gives you more options for the customers and allows you to be more competitive from a price standpoint in a lot of situations.”
With more than 1,200 clients — individuals and businesses — in Craig alone, Camilletti strives to maintain strong bonds.
“We’re very relationship-oriented with how we conduct business. We’re very hands-on, we travel a lot, and I see staff in outlying offices on a pretty regular basis,” he said. “The business we’re in, everything we do deals with people’s financial lives. The rewarding part is the clientele and the employees. Every organization, it’s about the quality of the personnel they have and the success is directly proportionate to that.”
Mountain West Chief Financial Officer Sue Voloshin has been with the company for about 12 years, starting out as an account executive.
“We’ve more than tripled in revenue since then,” she said. “It was small when I first started, and we’ve grown a lot. I think part of the success was from Darrell’s foresight in expanding along the Western Slope where we’re very profitable.”
Voloshin said when she was first hired, her biggest concern was the prospect of growth, which has not been a problem in her tenure with the company.
“There has been a lot of opportunity for our employees, and being in a small town on the Western Slope, I think that’s huge for people in our community,” she said.
Over 21 years, Mountain West has acquired roughly the same number of agencies, and Camilletti said they are always seeking more opportunities to expand, with an annual growth rate that ranges from 15 to 20 percent with staffing that reflects that.
“We’re one of the largest independent agencies in the state of Colorado,” he said. “We’ve got strong relationships with our carriers and with our competitors.
While many insurance companies have a greater presence on the Front Range, Camilletti prefers to keep his business hub in Craig with recent hires from outside states showing how much pull the firm has.
“We do fine here. There’s an interest in getting out of the city for a lot of people, and Colorado has a lot of appeal,” he said.
Voloshin noted that industry acknowledgment has been a big deal as well.
“For being a small, podunk little agency, which we’re really not anymore, I think we’re recognized a lot,” she said. “It’s been quite a ride and a great opportunity.”
Compared to when he first began Mountain West, Camilletti said the intricacies of insurance have changed primarily from a digital standpoint.
“It’s much different being able to manage data and how you can handle customer service. As busy as people are, they like to be able to do things when they’re able to do it, and technology allows you to do that,” he said. “The availability of information that we can provide to customers, email just allows a tremendous amount of access to a tremendous amount of people just with the push of a button.”
Whatever format customers prefer to conduct their needs, Camilletti noted that many details are hardly different from when he first began in the field.
“The success of the business is the success of the one-on-one with the customer. That’s what it all comes down to,” he said.