The first time Hope Aldrich was honored as a top-ranked insurance sales manager, the award itself symbolized the prevalence of men – and lack of women – in the industry.
“They were unprepared; they gave me a tie tack,” she recalled.
A 35-year insurance industry veteran, Aldrich started out in sales and rose through the ranks to leadership positions at Liberty Mutual and AON Risk Services.
As New England division manager for Liberty Mutual, she was responsible for managing budgets, strategic planning and sales results for the region.
At AON Risk Services, Aldrich was executive vice president and chief business officer for New England. As a member of the executive team, she was charged with providing general management, strategic planning and budgets for the company. In addition, she managed several departments within the agency.
She left AON in 1997, when she was recruited to Allied American Insurance Agency in Natick. Her success in Natick subsequently caught the eye of Eastern Bank, which wanted to expand its share of the insurance market.
Eastern bought the agency in 2003, and renamed it Eastern Insurance Group. With Aldrich at its helm as president and CEO, it has become one of the largest insurance agencies in the country, providing personal lines, commercial lines and employee benefits.
Eastern Insurance Group employs about 310 professionals in 23 offices nationwide, managing more than 70,000 clients and generating more than $550 million in premiums in 2010.
“We have a very robust local presence, but we handle accounts with nationwide and international exposure,” Aldrich said. Eastern Insurance Group is the 36th-largest insurance agency in the country, she added.
“We serve our customers in a very holistic way, and that’s been very successful for us,” she said, unlike many other bank-owned insurance agencies. “We look to serve the customer – whether it’s their banking, insurance or benefit needs.”
Meg Sullivan, Eastern Insurance Group’s senior vice president and a 12-year veteran of the company, said Aldrich is a big reason for Eastern Insurance Group’s success.
“Hope’s ability to recognize the mutual opportunity, whether in a sales or operational role, allows the Eastern family to advance jointly in areas where other bank-owned agencies’ progress has been derailed,” Sullivan commented. “The cross-sales culture succeeds on many levels as a result of Hope’s commitment to the organization’s holistic goal of ‘doing what is best for the client.’”
Sullivan also praised Aldrich’s leadership and multi-tasking abilities.
“Hope’s intellect, keen business sense, innovation and determination, along with a healthy dose of humility and humor, allow her to lead with her eyes focused on the goal, with her priorities in check.”
Aldrich has used her professional expertise to help launch an effort to train disadvantaged Boston residents to become professionals in the insurance, finance and other white-collar industries through the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Training Inc. program.
Aldrich also noted that Eastern Bank gives 10 percent of its profits to a charitable foundation, which benefits charitable organizations throughout Eastern Massachusetts.
“It is quite an unusual model, of which we are very proud,” she said.
Aldrich is a graduate of Lafayette College, and is active in charitable and professional organizations, in Wellesley, where she resides.