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Ellen Krassowski Allstate

You might be surprised to learn that insurance is actually an ancient concept. Some scholars suggest that it dates back to pre-history, but certainly if you consulted the Code of Hammurabi in about 1750 BC, you’d find stipulations for spreading the cost of a ship lost at sea. And that, of course, is the basic principle in operation with insurance: when we purchase any policy, the money we put in is pooled so that if and when someone suffers a loss, he can be “made whole” by funds from the (much larger) joint purse. Needless to say, it’s more complicated than that if you really study the subject, but when I spoke with Ellen Krassowski to learn more about her Allstate insurance agency, my key insight was your agent is probably the most important piece of your personal insurance puzzle.

Krassowski’s decision to own an agency wasn’t a sudden career choice, but more of an evolution of opportunities and an affinity for people. She is clearly one of those who enjoys learning, getting to know her clients, and matching them with the products that they need for each stage and situation in their lives. She strongly believes that her primary job is to be there to answer questions and to be prepared with solid answers. “I tell people, ask me. Ask me questions, tell me your concerns,” she says. “I will give you answers, or I will find out. I’m available 24/7.”

Krassowski began her involvement in the insurance industry in 2003 when she took a job with the Allstate agency in Oswego at the time. “It was perfect for me at the time,” she says. “I wanted to work part-time, and the office was right across the street.” Though she was hired as a receptionist, she quickly began to learn the business and was offered an opportunity to get a property-casualty license, and soon after that a life insurance license, then became a notary as the agency was doing banking, vehicle loans, and mortgages. She followed her curiosity and willingness to learn, and finally, when George Dziados was ready to sell his agency after 30 years in the business, Krassowski was willing to buy.

“I kept the office, and the phone number, and worked with George to learn the specifics of his business,” she explains. “And as soon as I was ready to take it over, I continued with more education.” She took intensive training with Allstate and state licensing authorities and is currently working toward a securities license in addition to her many other qualifications.

I was curious about what types of insurance she would recommend to a client. “That depends,” she answers. “Any time anything changes in your life, you want to let your agent know,” she adds. “If you move from a rental to a house, you add a driver for your car, if you build a shed or buy a snowmobile, these are all things you’ll want to let your agent know so he or she can help you adjust your policies.”

Depending on whether you ride your snowmobile on public land, or plan to take a rider with you from time to time, your policy needs may change. Identity theft is becoming a bigger hazard than ever before. “Many people still don’t know that flood insurance isn’t covered in a standard homeowners policy. You need additional coverage if you might be at risk for flooding,” she explains. “I tell my clients to consider umbrella policies. These can cover excess liability, and even take care of things like slander and libel.”

Part of Krassowski’s marketing is as simple as knowing the people she serves. “This is home,” she says. “I grew up here, so many of my clients are people I went to school with or the parents of those people. They’re friends as well as clients.”

Another piece of her marketing includes being part of the many activities in and around her hometown. “I was scheduled for a bridal show until the pandemic pushed it off for a year,” she says. “People often don’t know that they can get a policy to cover weddings and travel – so if something interferes with your event or your trip, you have some protection.”

Due to COVID, she also had to postpone a cat show she was scheduled to attend, displaying her policies for pet health insurance. A surprisingly useful product, anyone whose pet has suffered a prolonged or complicated illness can tell you that vet expenses can add up.

“You hope you never have to use insurance,” Krassowski says. “But it’s good to know it’s there when you need it.”

Krasssowski’s agency doesn’t handle all forms of insurance – medical being a chief exception. Her agency covers a wide range of policies, from home and auto to retirement, pet medical, water backup, disability, education savings, and umbrella policies. If you need it, even if you’re not sure whether it exists, ask. She explains that her agency isn’t limited to just Allstate products. “While Allstate offers quite a range of coverages, we can also offer products from other companies so that we can make sure our clients get what they really need. But I should also share with you that Allstate offers insurance for Uber and Lyft drivers – they’re thinking ahead, and I like that.”

I asked for tips she’d like her clients and potential clients to know. “Take a defensive driving course,” she promptly offered. “They’re online now and can save you on your auto insurance. And the benefits can last up to three years. And don’t forget, you can switch your policies at any time, not just when they’re up for renewal.

“The main thing is, ask questions. Be honest with your agent, let them know your situation, let them know when something changes. Be your own best advocate. We’re here to help our clients stay safe and protected. As I said, you’d rather not have to use insurance, but it’s really good to know it’s there when you need it.”

5500 Bartel Road, Ste 4
Brewerton, NY 13029

Nancy Roberts