UNEXPECTED RETIREMENT LEADS TO SALE OF KRUEGER INSURANCE
Brady Krueger poses in his home in Newton. Krueger retired from Krueger Insurance after 39 years when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Mike Mendez/Newton Now
By Mike Mendez
Brady Krueger’s retirement was nothing like what he envisioned when he started working for his dad at Krueger Insurance 39 years ago. He loved the job working in the business he helped build and would still be doing it.
But the unexpected diagnosis of lung cancer forced him into retirement early.
“It was all of the sudden,” Krueger said. “I was having trouble seeing, and things were moving back and forth. So I went to the doctor to find out why this keeps happening, and they sent me for the tests.”
He always planned to sell the business to Casie Powell, an employee of Krueger’s for the last 20 years. But he hadn’t planned on making that sale so soon. With the diagnosis, Krueger sold the business to Powell on May 26 in a sudden move Powell thought was coming years down the road.
“The best way that I have been able to describe it is just kind of bittersweet,” Powell said. “It is exciting for me for the opportunity to own the agency but then to go through the transition of what Brady is dealing with and everything, of course, that part is hard, too. But it is a great vote of confidence that he felt comfortable passing on the business that he worked so hard to build. He trusted me to take it on and continue it. That is very humbling to know he felt that way about it.”
When Krueger graduated from business school at Wichita State University, he had a few options from the jobs office at the school. But none of them were as financially attractive as coming back home to Newton to work at the insurance agency his father and a few other partners owned. So 39 years ago, Brady got a book of businesses to contact and went to work.
In the time he spent working there, the agency has exploded. When he started with his father, the two of them had $500,000 to $600,000 in commissions. Now, there are $7 million. Krueger Insurance has grown to the No. 17 largest independent agency in the Wichita Metro area.
Casie Powell stands outside the office she now owns after purchasing Krueger Insurance in May. Mike Mendez/Newton Now
“It was way more than what I would have ever thought,” Krueger said. “But it is a good feeling to get there.”
One of the things that helped the business take off through the years has been the joy Krueger has taken in providing unique coverage for the customers. With a vast amount of knowledge and resources, he was able to structure plans to cover businesses through details they might otherwise overlook.
Krueger goes over details that make sure a customer is covered.
“No one ever makes a deal out of it, but it is a big deal,” Krueger said.
That attention to detail and creativity was something Powell credited for the success of the business. She has soaked up all the knowledge she could from Krueger before taking over but knows she is now the keeper of the resources and respect Krueger Insurance has earned throughout the years.
“Brady loved to write unique pieces of insurance,” Powell said. “The types agencies either can’t do or don’t want to do or they don’t know how to do, Brady loved doing that. And so we got a lot of referrals for that. A lot of other agencies will call us and refer customers for that reason. If it is something outside the box they can’t do, they know Brady will do it.”
Having taken over the business for about a month, and doing it on short notice, Powell is looking forward to getting back into a normal routine. For two decades, she worked in the office where Brady and his wife Sheryl owned the business and had a routine of their own. Powell is starting to find her feet and keep the things she learned from Krueger that led to a huge amount of success, while introducing her own style into the mix.
“We have a lot of resources and a lot of people to contact and different companies to contact,” Powell said about moving forward. “With Brady being in the business for so long and being so well-known and respected, he built up great relationships with companies. And because of that, it is carried on to me, and I now have those same contacts.”
Brady owned both Krueger Insurance and the Hertz car rental business that shares the building. Powell bought both of those businesses. But Krueger and his wife Sheryl still own Storage Maxx.