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Saturday, Jun 3, 2023

Insurance: Serving a Mission

Danone Simpson is the chief executive and founder of Calabasas-based Montage Insurance Services. The firm works in industries such as education, technology, real estate, legal and financial services and more. With 25 years of experience under her belt, Simpson has built Montage into a full-service insurance brokerage firm and third-party administrator.

How long have you worked in the insurance industry, and what did you do before working at your current firm?  

I began this career in 1997 and have been licensed in benefits, life and property casualty now for 25 years. After working for other brokerage firms for nine years, my clients directed me to open my own agency. I worked in the dental field for years with a focus on prevention, which truly is the golden thread of our wellness initiatives at Montage today. 

I have been in fund development and event planning since the age of 16 and produced many events, including festivals with 60,000 attendees and 60 nonprofits earning from volunteering. 

I was a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader during the time of Tom Laundry and Roger Staubach, with William Morris and Wilhelmina for many years. I also worked on commercials, television and motion pictures. I was on the TV show “Dallas” for 10 years as Kendal Chapman, the receptionist of the Ewing Oil Company. 

Tell me about your role at your firm. What are your main responsibilities? 

I am the founder and chief executive of Danone Simpson Insurance Services LLC DBA Montage Insurance Solutions, which handles medium to large employers throughout the United States, in benefits and property and casualty. I founded Simpolicy (an insurance agency) for the smaller employer and legacy heir. I am in the process of beginning a new company to service clients through software. 

 What is one of the most important professional lessons you’ve learned from your time in the industry? How has it influenced your work? 

Our mission is to truly further the mission of our clients through offering customized service packages.   

What do people get wrong about the insurance industry? 

They think it is boring, while it is a very exiting industry working with many executives in other industries, consulting on one of their largest expenditures, creating customized service packages for clients with safety and wellness, along with ensuring their assets are properly insured through the transfer of liability in property and casualty.

How can an insurance firm best empower their employees? 

We serve their missions, play to their strengths and allow their voices to be heard.  

What are some notable trends regarding one of your firm’s insurance specializations (e.g., home, auto, risk, etc.)?  

Due to Covid-19 and elective surgeries being halted in 2020, these costs were shifted to 2021 and 2022, causing 2023 to hemorrhage in cost in benefits. Workers’ compensation was not impacted by Covid-19 as we thought, so cost is governed by claims. Property and casualty have remained constant, while employment practices liability has increased in retentions and cost. Cyber (insurance) is a must-have today. 

What is next for your firm, such as new specializations, hiring, acquisitions, etc.?

We developed a virtual health fair website in 2020, bought a building last year and have been working on software development to save in cost and time for our clients. 

We plan on remaining a privately held, high-touch consulting firm, marketing every year for the best plans for the best in cost, bringing customized service programs to our clients.

James Brock
James Brock
James Brock has worked in newsrooms around the world, including in New York, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Houston, and Los Angeles. He began his career with a Newhouse News daily, where he served on the news desk and the editorial page. He was the copy chief for The New York Sun, and founded and edited the personal finance section for Abu Dhabi-based The National, among other positions. He has interviewed Anthony Bourdain, Tom Ford, Mark Cuban, and many other individuals, and has written and edited thousands of stories and articles.

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