The origins of IOA demonstrate not only determination and vision but deeply rooted values. Co-founders John Ritenour and his wife Wally, who met in ninth grade, wanted to reinvent insurance broker compensation and start their own business. The duo’s concept was to have a place where customers and employees would never want to leave. It was a step that surpassed their wildest dreams and the accelerating trajectory their son Heath is taking now.
IOA serves different clients, including green companies and real estate. John Ritenour has also carved his niche in professional sports and has several big clients, including over 20 NFL, NBA, and NHL teams. In addition, the agency is showcasing its brand at arenas and events across the country, including the Diamond Resort Tournament of Champions, the first leg of the LPGA Tour. As a private agency, IOA reinvests profits back into the company to create value for customers and employees.
John Ritenour (Insurance Office of America) noted that strategic thinking is the key to success. They focus on investing in something that could lower margins in the short term but organically borrow big business for their competitors for several years to come. The agency is also planning a long-term perspective through its unique mentoring program. The IOA encourages its employees to find mentees several years before retirement. Affiliates choose who suits their clients well to ensure a smooth operation.
John Ritenour first worked as a door-to-door insurance agent, a job that earned him enough money to marry his high school sweetheart, Wally. He was leading in the sales force and became the company’s lead producer in six months. John and Valli started their insurance agency in the 1980s. After a few years, they sold the company and moved to central Florida, where they opened the Florida Insurance Bureau, a company that would later become IOA.
Ritenour has received numerous awards throughout its long career. These include the Success Magazine Entrepreneurship Achievement Award and the Symetra Tour (LPGA) Eloise Trainor Award. As a semi-retiree, John manages to take care of the couple’s grandchildren and works to become “the best grandfather in the world.” After a couple of decades, IOA has grown to over 1300 producers and team members. In 2020, the Insurance Journal named the company one of the top 100 independent property and accident insurance agencies in the United States.