Max Erickson, Erickson Insurance Group, Havre, Montana, is the recipient of the 2013 Crop Insurance Industry Outstanding Service Award in recognition for outstanding service and outreach to small, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers. Steve Rutledge, Chairman of the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) Board of Directors, and Tom Zacharias, President of NCIS, presented the award at the 2013 Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention.

Following graduation from Montana State University, Max worked for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks department doing research in the Yellowstone Valley of Montana. Shortly thereafter Max decided to make a career move and went to work in the insurance business as an agent for Farm Bureau. In the winter of 1980 he moved to Havre in North Central Montana.

While Max was switching gears in his own career and starting to learn the insurance business, Federal Crop Insurance was going through its own changes with the Federal Crop Insurance Act of 1980 and the formation of the long standing public-private delivery system we have today. With his move to Havre, Max was now at the forefront of a brand new opportunity and was literally in the center of one of the largest wheat producing areas in the entire nation, known around the world as the “Golden Triangle.”

Max spent those early years of crop insurance working with the pioneers of the industry and building a strong successful customer base, many of whom he still serves today. In 1983, Max decided to leave Farm Bureau and formed a multi-line independent insurance agency with E.J. “Bud” Baldwin called Erickson-Baldwin Insurance Associates located in Havre. The agency grew to be a very successful partnership spanning more than 25 years. In 2010, Max formed his own independent agency, Erickson Insurance Group.

Over his now more than 30 years of selling and servicing crop insurance in an industry dominated by white male farmers, Max has had the opportunity to cultivate a lasting business relationship with a number of producers who don’t fit that profile, including Native Americans, women and a religious sect known as Hutterites. In fact of the more than 90 policies serviced currently by his agency, 25 percent represent one of these groups. Max actively markets his agency to these groups and their unique circumstances, particularly the Hutterite Colonies, by helping them to understand their coverage better and making sure their policy fits their needs appropriately.

Max continues to work every day to help his clients learn to diversify and effectively manage their agricultural risks and looks forward to a long future in this very successful industry that has come to be the envy of the world.

Max was nominated for the award by Rain and Hail LLC, Johnston, Iowa.

Photo Caption: (left to right) Steve Wedel, Rain and Hail LLC, Max Erickson, and Tom Zacharias, National Crop Insurance Services.