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2016 Marks IWA’s 70th Anniversary!

How IWA Got Its Start

In the early 1940’s, Irving Weber was a staff manager at the Prudential Life Insurance Company in New York. Limited to writing life insurance, Irv was anxious to expand his opportunities to better serve the insurance needs of his personal and commercial clients. His ultimate plan would assure his place in insurance history.   Intrigued by the property and casualty business, Irv began to explore niche markets that he characterized as “depression proof.”

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Tom Kalmar and Irv Weber (right)

In 1946, Irv was introduced to a group of gentlemen who identified themselves as dry cleaners. These dry cleaners advised that they had just been victorious in a lawsuit against the City of New York permitting them to operate retail dry cleaning plants within the City. The large wholesale cleaners had convinced the politicians that wholesale receiving stations should be the only operations permitted within the City (arguing that their operations were safer than retail dry cleaners). Obviously, if they had not achieved a victory in court, the wholesalers would have monopolized the Drycleaning industry.

Irv, realizing that the Dry Cleaning industry fit his requirement of being a “depression proof business” (he would say, people will always need to clean their clothes), began to mold the first group insurance programs to be offered to Drycleaners throughout New York State.

How We Have Progressed

As the cleaning industry grew, IWA found that they needed additional talent. In 1958, after working in his father-in-law’s dry cleaning shop during the day, and attending night classes, Irv’s son Dennis came onboard. Starting on the ground floor, he began his indoctrination into insurance. Dennis worked all positions in the firm, learning the principles of Irv’s success, until he was officially named President of the firm in 1982, when Irv took the title of Chairman of the Board.

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Dennis Weber and Adam Weber (right)

The 80’s brought more change; it was at this time that the third generation (Adam Weber) joined IWA. Under the direction of Irv, Dennis and Shaby, Adam was fortunate to be exposed to incomparable insurance insight, and the wisdom of their common business and sales approaches. In 1986, Adam having been exposed to every function within the office, from clerical to administration in a manual atmosphere, was the obvious choice for Operations Manager. At this time it became evident that many of the procedures and efficiencies of the everyday operation could be improved through automation. After several years of overseeing the transition from a manual to automated system, Adam was named Vice President in 1989.

Today, nearly 70 years since Irv Weber began the agency, IWA has grown into a successful, third generation insurance agency operating nationally. With our primary focus still on dry cleaning, IWA has found that the partnership with each of the few carriers we have had the pleasure of working with has been most beneficial to IWA and the participants of our programs.

Where We Are Going

Although the need for changing insurance companies seems more likely today than in years gone by, IWA’s knowledge of the drycleaning industry and expertise in our management of the dry cleaning program has allowed us to limit changing insurance company partners to a very few in our 70 year history. The IWA Fabricare Program is now nationally recognized as the industry leader.

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Adam Weber (Current President)

As our 70th anniversary approaches, we have expanded our programs for 2016 and beyond. Including opening up a market for drycleaners located closer to the coast;  from the coast of Maine in the East and down through to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, adding a special program for Franchise Owners to help meet franchise requirements, updating quoting abilitiesonline for both our broker and dry cleaning partners, implementation of a more defined focus on customer service by shifting job responsibilities to free our account executives to provide dedicated service to their assigned policyholders and brokers,  providing multi-policy discounts, and offering pay-as-you-go on workers’ compensation to limit the need for audits.

Thank you for your continued business and allowing us to serve you for the past 70 years!