Starting an insurance brokerage from scratch was a scary and expensive prospect, especially when the timing was less than ideal.
The condominium marketplace had simply ground to a halt in the years after the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, a 6.7 Magnitude event that took 53 lives, and caused a little over $20 billion of earthquake damage. Large sections of Sherman Oaks, North Hollywood, Northridge, and Santa Monica were destroyed. Insurance carriers had paid enormous losses, and some of the claims were still open and hopelessly riddled with disputes. Insurance carriers were understandably lukewarm about investing more money in this line of business and the thought of appointing new brokers in California, especially a broker whose experience was almost 100% limited to condominiums, was nearly out of the question.
Nevertheless, with Tim Cline’s drive and vision, the Cline Agency opened its doors on April 4, 1998, with a phone system, a copy machine, and a fax machine in an office space on Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica. Collecting dust in the center of the room on opening day were four black file cabinets. They were the keepers of an incredible secret: The Cline Agency had no customers on opening day, not one. What’s more, insurance carriers were unlikely to appoint us unless we had an existing book of clients—and clients were unwilling to write their coverage with us because we had no carriers.
Since then, we have earned decades of experience specializing in insurance for ONLY Community Associations and Building Owners/Lessors’ Risks. As an independent broker, we have uniquely gained access to an array of competitive master insurance markets, as well as the entire commercial earthquake marketplace. Working closely with so many carriers has allowed us to keep abreast of industry developments and new products that direct writers may not be aware of, and our independent status allows us to compile the strongest available coverage program for our clients.
We are active members of Community Associations Institute (CAI), California Association of Community Managers (CACM), Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO), Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of California (IIABCal), and Oregon Washington Community Association Managers (OWCAM).
We work hard, and we have fun doing it.