As the largest privately-held agency in Florida and one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, IOA attributes its steady double-digit growth since its inception to the unique idea of partnering with agents. Chairman John Ritenour’s experience in the industry had convinced him that the traditional form of ownership in an independent agency left a lot of room for improvement. Strong agents rarely had the opportunity to transition to stock ownership, or have a vested interest in the “book” of business they develop after years of working hard and building a substantial client base. There had to be a better way. And so, in January of 1988, Mr. Ritenour founded Insurance Office of Florida in Apopka, Florida, and later changed the name to Insurance Office of America after opening the first branch in New Jersey.
The idea of partnering with agents and sharing commissions was innovative, and when combined with vested interest of the book, it became revolutionary. Our belief is that every successful agent wants to own stock in the agency and build value for retirement from the book of business.
As the process of partnering with successful agents (much like a law firm) developed and attracted more agent partners and agencies, it became clear that the idea was too big to limit to the Orlando area. In 1997, the agency opened additional offices in Palm Beach and Tampa, Florida. The number of agents doubled that year.
Since 1988, we have added over 20 more branch offices across the country and are currently interviewing prospective agents in all major cities throughout the U.S.