July-August 2014 | BACK IN BUSINESS




After a devastating fire totalled their restaurant in late 2012, Waterman’s Seafood Company owners Jay Bergey and Jamy Davy relied on Reese Cropper, III and Insurance Management Group

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

As with medicine or law, insurance is a profession that laypeople traditionally don’t do very well with when they attempt to practice it on their own. There’s a lot to know; it requires a great deal of expertise, and the nuances of the various coverages are usually arcane at best. That’s why finding the right insurance agent is practically like money in the bank — not only for the financial recovery that a qualified agent can secure for you in the event of a loss but also for the invaluable piece of mind one can have, knowing that everything that matters to them is properly protected.

It is for these reasons and more that Insurance Management Group of Ocean City is so prized by the community it serves and why they are the agency of choice for many of the region’s most valuable and well-known properties and businesses.

“I’d rather not think where we might be if we didn’t have Reese [Cropper III] and IMG as our insurance agent,” said Jay Bergey, founder and president of Bergey & Company, P.A. and co-owner of West Ocean City’s Waterman’s Restaurant, which had experienced a devastating fire in October 2012. “He and his staff were a constant source of aid and reassurance 
before, during and after the fact. Perhaps as much if not more than any other single factor, IMG is the reason Waterman’s is back open for business and actually better than ever.”

Bergey went on to say that Reese Cropper III, president and founder of IMG, Inc., was in regular contact with the restaurant’s ownership — both on the phone, in-person and on-site — acting as chief representative of their interests, along with the agency’s claim representative, who acted as the primary liaison between them and the insurance company that was settling their claim.

“IMG got us a fair settlement not only on the reconstruction, they also arranged for multiple advances [on the settlement amount] from the insurance company, so we could afford to rebuild. But even before the fire ever occurred, IMG’s insurance advisors asked the right questions and made sure we had the correct amount of insurance, especially business interruption insurance, which was essential to our full recovery.”

By understanding Waterman’s day-to-day operational needs in great depth and detail before a loss ever occurred, IMG was able to procure the kind of insurance necessary to retain key employees, as well as pay ongoing bills and expenses while Waterman’s was inoperative.

“Without that coverage and IMG’s tireless efforts at every stage,” added Bergey, “I can’t guarantee that Waterman’s would have ever opened for business again.”

“Insurance is about measuring risk and deciding whether to pay an insurance carrier to protect you against that risk, or to assume financial responsibility for the risk yourself,” said Cropper III, a third-generation insurance agent who launched IMG 20 years ago. “We encourage clients to meet with us on a regular basis, to discuss coverages they do have, as well as ones they don’t. This way, they can make informed decisions about which risks are worth assuming themselves and which aren’t. At this point, we have clients who have been meeting with us on a regular basis for 20 years.”

Just as insurance agents aren’t all the same, neither are clients. Some only want to insure for catastrophic issues, while others want more coverage. But scope of coverage is just one piece of the insurance equation; the other is the limit of coverage. Either way, it is essential to understand the coverages before ever sustaining a loss or having a claim.
“Our community is 26 years old,” said Bernice Stossel, property manager of the 452-unit Villages of Chesapeake Harbour in Annapolis, “and in all that time, I can tell you with confidence that no insurance agency has ever provided such great service and protected our community’s interests as well as Insurance Management Group. Their insurance advisors, as well as Cate Nellans in their claims department, are truly the best of the best.”

Stossel went on to say that not only did IMG make sure they had the proper scope and limits of coverage, the agency’s staff was a source of invaluable education, too.

“The past couple of years have been rough on the community in terms of weather-related causes like burst pipes and water damage,” Stossel explained, “and while IMG had us fully covered for all of it, we were also very grateful for the trips that Reese or one of his staff would make up here, to give talks to the residents about the avoidance and reduction of risk. IMG also sends us quarterly newsletters full of great information; they even give us our policies on computer disks, which save a ton of paper.”

In 2012, Quay Condominiums on 107th St. in Ocean City endured three separate incidents in which sprinkler heads discharged improperly, causing water damage that necessitated IMG’s involvement.

“With each incident, Reese came personally to inspect the damage and handle the situation for us,” praised property manager Lily Clegg. He and his staff just made the whole process so easy, explaining our coverages and walking us through everything at every stage.

“Their claims department continually followed up with us, too,” continued Clegg, who’s been with the condo 
association for seven years. “Peggy Holt in Reese’s claims department was just wonderful, as well. To this day, she follows up with us periodically, to make sure everything is okay over here. You just don’t get that kind of customer service anymore. I recommend Reese and Insurance Management Group to absolutely everyone; I just can’t say enough nice things about them.”

Reese advises that something people should really be paying attention to these days is liability coverage, stating, “It’s 
the biggest concern because the average person doesn’t realize how costly lawsuits can be. Also, if there is a court award or judgment against someone for being legally liable, it may take years to pay the lawyers’ fees and court costs, to say nothing of the final judgment. It could mean having to sell off one’s assets.”

He added that some people try to “save money” by minimizing the coverage limits on the policies they carry, but the penalty they may sustain in the event of a major loss could well be financially devastating. Reese encourages anyone who may have questions about coverages and/or costs to contact his office to make an appointment for a consultation.


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