“You never realize how important it is to have a good insurance agent until you really need one.”
That’s what a friend uttered shortly after losing his house in a fire. While being an insurance agent may not be the most glamorous job, it can definitely play a big and positive roll in people’s lives.
Kathleen Harrison, Shannon Kozeliski and Evan Stelma
“I like to help people,” is what Kathleen Harrison said when asked why she works as an insurance agent. “That’s the thing I like the most about it, that and explaining to people how things in the insurance world work in simple terms they can understand.”
Kathleen is the owner of Harrison Insurance, located in the Old Mercantile Building across from Atkinsons’ Hailey on Bullion Street. She first came to the area in 1973 when she and a girlfriend toured much of the Mountain West in search of the ideal ski town. They decided Sun Valley was the best, so they moved up from Southern California the next season.
Kathleen eventually met her husband, Steve Harrison, a true local “lodge-baby,” as she called him, since he was born in wing of the old Sun Valley Lodge. The Harrisons spent a decade in California before moving back to Idaho to raise their two daughters, Tami Harrison and Amy Backus, both whom still happily call the Valley home.
Kathleen—or “Kathy” to many of her friends—first opened her business in her home in 1988, before eventually opening an office in 2002. Harrison Insurance now employees both Shannon Kozelski and Evan Stelma. “I could not do this without those two. They’re terrific,” she said.
What makes Harrison Insurance unique is that it’s an independent agency, meaning it can essentially shop around with all the other insurance providers for the best deal for each particular client. It also means they can offer a wide variety of coverage, for everything from life and health to property, casualty, commercial and business holdings. That’s why their motto is “For all your insurance needs.”
Kathleen enjoys owning a small business in a small town like Hailey. “I love connecting with old friends and clients at the grocery store and having my neighbors as my clients,” she said. To try to help out the community she loves so much, Harrison Insurance is making a contribution to The Advocates every time it gets a new client this year.
“I want to do the right thing for people,” Kathleen said, about her business—and her life’s—philosophy.
By Mike McKenna
This story originally appeared in the Chamber Corner section of The Weekly Sun.