January 2018

Seacoast Insurance: It's a Family Affair

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography


The Seacoast Insurance Family
(from left to right) Ray Craver, Kyle Craver and Kate Boardman

In a lot of ways, the owners of Seacoast Insurance have been preparing for today for over 35 years. When his in-laws expanded their Ohio insurance business in 1981 to their much-loved vacation spot, Hilton Head Island, Ray Craver and his brothers-in-law, began helping grow their Seacoast Insurance Lowcountry branch to not only serve the local community, but to focus on Jack and Margaret Hover’s vision of future generations of family framing their insurance careers here.

With son Kyle Craver, and step-daughter Kate Boardman working alongside him, a third generation has found their footing in the business of providing personal and commercial lines of insurance, including homeowner’s, vehicle, condo/renters, flood, and business insurance. “Hopefully they look at me as a mentor,” Ray said. “When you’re the father, there are lot of dynamics involved in making it work. My role is sales, management, marketing—all the hats. This next generation is going to be assuming these responsibilities.”

Certain in the belief that business is business and personal is personal, Ray has been instilling this knowledge in his children from his time as their soccer coach to the day-to-day operations at Seacoast. “I’ve been fortunate to have coached these guys growing up,” he said. My nature is basically the same, business or personal; when it comes to having a conversation about business or making a business decision, business is business.” Some of the lessons learned through sports and having a father who coached have created an environment where this family works like a well-grooved team for the benefit of their clients.

“It is a bonus to have family members who are excited about working in the family business and who are able to work in the family business,” Ray said. “I had absolutely great examples in my in-laws; if it’s all done correctly, and you have family members who are capable, it’s fantastic.”

After graduating from college and working in property management, Boardman joined Seacoast in 2015. Kyle has been a part of Seacoast for nearly as long as he can remember. “My first job at Seacoast was janitor,” he said. “I did different tasks throughout high school. It’s was cool because I got to come in and hang out with Dad and the uncles and Grandma. It was a family affair even then. Everyone was working toward the common goal of providing excellent service and great insurance coverage.”

Both licensed agents, Kyle and Boardman have recently completed certification as Commercial Lines Coverage Specialists—an elevated designation to help guide their work with commercial clients.

The entire team is part of the extended family at Seacoast Insurance, including Lisa Craver, Ray’s wife, agent and manager. All are focused on providing coverages to protect their clients from the unexpected events that are inevitable in life. Educating clients in the unknowns is a big part of their job.

Homeowners, Flood and Wind & Hail
“A lot of people still say they don’t really need flood insurance,” Kyle said. “We’re on the coast. Look at Houston. They are more inland than we are, and that entire city was flooded. Flood insurance here is an absolute necessity. Everyone is in a flood zone.”
Further, “Generally, the homeowner’s policy provides the wind and hail coverage.

However, depending on the home and its characteristics, you may have to have a separate wind and hail policy,” Boardman said. Local knowledge and a team that lives in the community they serve are two of Seacoast’s many assets.

Automobiles
“It’s smart to have an umbrella policy that sits on top of your home and auto liability limits,” Kyle said. “I hear a lot of people say they have full coverage. They don’t really know what full coverage is, which most of the time means they have the state minimums, which is very low. Once you max out your home and auto liability policy, your umbrella policy would kick in.”

Condominiums & Renters
“Often the belief is that the regime has insurance, so I don’t need anything,” Boardman said of condominium owners. “It is correct that the regime does have insurance; however, it’s not going to cover your new granite counter tops, or any upgrades made to the interior of the condominium. If something were to happen, there wouldn’t be enough coverage.”

Liability and contents coverage is often misunderstood with condominium and renters insurance. “If something happens inside that unit, it’s not going to be covered by the regime or the landlord; it’s going to be their own personal insurance,” Ray said. “If they don’t have a personal insurance policy, they’re going to have a gap in their coverage.”

When not doing the business of serving their insurance clients, much of the family’s time is spent involved in sports, and at the Island Rec Center where Ray was a past president and now he and Kate are on the advisory board. “It was a central place for me and my sisters growing up,” Kyle said. “We swam, we played soccer, we played baseball and softball. We were there all the time.” Whether joining a pick-up basketball game, or volunteering at Rec Center fundraisers, sports and support of this local institution are a part of the family’s day-to-day.

With the third generation in place, and the fourth toddling in the wings, Ray has spent over 35 years preparing for this evolution. “I get to be in the business with the family. Not everybody gets that opportunity. The legacy that was passed down to me is an awesome responsibility to be able to pass it in a good way to the next generation.

Anybody who owns a family business and wants it to continue as a family business knows there are going to be highs and lows. The highs are you get to work with these guys. The lows are the responsibility to make sure that you’re putting them in a good position when it’s their turn to take over. The good far exceeds the bad.”

Seacoast Insurance is located at 88A Main Street, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 681-4340 or visit seacoastinsurance.com.

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