A local insurance agency continues its tradition of service to the Marion community. Jay Hafer, a farmer in LaRue, started the insurance agency more than 50 years ago. Thomas Milligan bought it in 1979 and operated it for 38 years. Allen Douce started working at the agency in 2004. His son, Caleb Douce, joined the team in 2013 and bought the agency in 2017. While the owners have changed, the commitment to customer service remains the same.
“Our vision is to take care of our members like family,” Caleb Douce said.
Caleb Douce grew up on the family farm outside Caledonia and graduated from River Valley. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and then entered the insurance industry. He married his high school sweetheart, Jaime. After living in several states, they returned to the area to raise their children close to their extended family.
“My grandpa, Everett Douce, is 94 and he still has some sheep,” Caleb said. “He ran the Prospect grain elevator for years. He’s just an outstanding person. Everyone in the farming community knows him. People will come up to me at the Marion County Fair and ask about my grandfather.”
Douce and his agents use their farm knowledge to serve their agricultural clients not only on their farm policies but also with crop insurance. Another service the agency provides is the Nationwide program “Land As Your Legacy.” The program, at no cost to the insured, helps family farms with succession planning.
“Some farmers tell me they will never retire. Planning now helps your children know what it will look like in 20 years or what to expect after you are gone,” Douce said. “Every family and every farm are different. I’ve seen how a lot of different operations work. I can give you things to think about and help guide you through. I tell a lot of people: I’m your quarterback. You have to run the plays. I’m just guiding you.”
This service is just one way that Douce gives back to the community. He supports local children who compete at the Marion County Fair.
“We bought 19 animals at the fair. The children will write you thank you notes. It’s my way to show my appreciation to local farming families,” Douce said.
Like many other businesses, 2020 and COVID-19 pandemic brought its share of challenges. Another major change in 2020 was that the Douce Agency became an independent agency instead of exclusively part of Nationwide.
“It allows me to give my clients more options to take care of them. I want to be able to put you in the best policy for you- not just the cheapest, but the best solution for your needs,” Douce said.
The Douce Agency and its 10 employees offer insurance policies for home, auto, farm, life, and commercial along with a suite of financial products.
Douce said, “We really try to explain your options and what is covered. I want people to understand the different products. We find the right solutions.”
Douce is passionate about ensuring his staff and agency provide peace of mind and the right levels of protection, to every client, every time.
“We take care of our clients the right way. I don’t cut corners,” Caleb said. “We have clients who have been with us for 50 or 60 years. Generations of their family come to us. It’s important to have that trust.”
Douce is excited to be a young business owner in Marion.
“Marion’s a great community. Marion’s been great to us,” Douce said. “I tell people: Be local. Buy local.”
Douce is looking forward to his annual customer appreciation event in September with pumpkins, food, and fun at his office at 1685 Marion-Mt. Gilead Road, Marion. It is another example of the way Douce gives back to the community. “I just like to tell everyone, ‘Thank you!’” Douce said.