1947 – 1953
1945 EWM Army Air Corp
After returning home after serving 4 years in the Army Air Corp as a rear gunner in a B-24 Heavy Bomber in the South Pacific. Dad enrolls into UCLA under the GI Bill in 1946, then works for Liberty Mutual in Los Angeles, selling Home & Auto in 1947. Some of his early clients were singer Kate Star & movie icon Jack Palance.
1953 EWM Los Angeles, Ca.
1954 – 1958
1954 EWM Boston Ins Trip-Top Row/2nd from Left
1956 EWM 2nd Desk from front on Right
1958 EWM Sales Awards Top Row 3rd From Left
Always opportunistic, Dad branches away from Liberty Mutual, purchasing “The Jackson Agency”, an Independent Agency located in Watts, California. Dad works 6 days per week to write and renew Home and Auto policies. His sons, Weston & Brian often go with him to work on Saturdays.
1962 EWM New Liberty Mutual Safe Car
The LA Riots of “65” break out forcing Dad to bring his Smith & Wesson .38 Special to work each day for over 6 months. Luckily no run-ins occurred, and the office was left untouched. However, the surrounding area was damaged from fire, vandalism & mayhem. It looked like a war zone.
1965 Edward Weston Millward
To increase his book of business and to obtain more carriers, Dad merges with a cluster Agency in LA called “Arco Insurance”. The other 3 Agencies are run by Gordon Biles, Gus Schubert & Red Moore. The modern brick, multi-story building is located on 7th Ave. Dad continues to obtain carrier appointments, while writing large commercial clients such as Cochran Izant, & International Paper etc.
1966- Left to Right-Arco Insurance Cluster: Gus Shubert, EW Millward, Gordon Biles, Red Moore
1972 Weston Millward
A few days later, after considering my current predicament, I called Dad at work and asked for a job. He doesn’t want to hire me. I like my Dad. But I didn’t see a lot of him as a kid because he worked 6 days a week and Mom was sick from 1963 until 1970. He was in a bad situation doing the best he could. I thought it would be great to hang out with him a lot more. So, I was persistent. After 2.5 weeks of negotiation, I start at Arco Ins on June 14, 1974 for a 3-month stint. After my 3 months were up, I had to go. Since I’m still the Janitor, I save a weekend day by cleaning the office on Friday, after work.
I liked what I did and came up with a solution so I could possibly stay. I had secretly been studying for my Insurance License; passing the test a few weeks before the 3-month deadline. On the day of judgement, Dad calls me into his office. I walk up to his desk and hand him my new License. I said, “Dad, you can’t fire me, I’m too valuable.” Dad got a funny look on his face, looked at the license, then looks at me, surprised. He says, “Damn Son, that’s impressive. So, you want to stay?’ “Yes Sir.” “Ok, let’s get to work.” I never left.
Pacific Auto Dec Page
1975 Weston Millward
Months earlier, I kicked a guy out of our office for casing the joint, walking around looking into each office. After the robbery, my Dad tells the detective about it and they ask me to do a line up at LAPD. Behind the window, looking at 12 guys in the lineup, just like in the movies, I see the guy that was casing the office, pointing him out to the detective. The detective asks if I’m sure, I say “Yep, that’s the guy.” The detective pats me on the shoulder and says, “I’m happy to hear that son, well done.” LAPD now has their man. Dad goes to court about a month later, points out the same individual and his buddies. They are convicted and serve 10-years for armed robbery.
1977 – Typed Memo-Agency Copy
On January 26, 1981, while watching the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders, Dad suffers a massive heart attack. It catapults myself into the driver’s seat of the Agency with only 7 years of experience.
The defibrillator paddles were introduced earlier that year, saving Dad’s life. On the way to the hospital the Paramedic turns to me and states, “Your Dad is one tough SOB. It’s nice to save one once in a while.” They worked on him for 45 minutes until he could be moved. After recovery, Dad lives a very energetic 21 additional years.
Spring & Summer of 1981
With Dad out, I have to do the financial work plus run the office, continue the marketing, work on new & renewal business, visit clients, & help our 2 employees. The books were computed by “Safecom”, out of Seattle WA. I learned to tear the paper invoices apart, the pink copies were stapled together, mailed to “Safecom”, the yellow copies we kept. Check stubs the same way. Journal Entries were put on a JE sheet and that was included. After mailing, it took 2 to 3 weeks for the General Ledger and reports to come back. Then I would manually reconcile them to the previous month’s reports, comparing them to the Agencies General Ledger.
Gordon Biles, an agent that worked at Arco, was Dad’s friend and he saved my butt. I would call him with my questions, sometimes 3 or 4 times per week. He knew the answers and was very patient with me. He guided me through it all until Dad came back, about 9 months later. Gordon was a lifesaver.
Payroll was computed manually. The Feds gave the Agency a small, perforated coupon book with round circles on it. I would fill in the circles, like a ballot, take the percentage of that individual tax, then subtract it from the Gross Payroll amount due the employee. Each tax had a separate percentage and circle. I would then type a check payable to the Bank, take the check and the perforated Fed Tax form and deposit it into the Bank. Every employee’s payroll was completed this way twice per month. My weekends disappeared; 50–60-hour weeks were the norm until Dad returned at the end of the year to take this over…but I learned the business side of the Agency. It was hard.
Early Fall 1981
1983-EW Millward & Charles Nail-President of Lumbermens Mutual
After writing a new Re/Max client in Newport Beach, Calif. the owner, Craig Batley, suggests I contact the new Franchise Owner, Sid Severtson. Without hesitation, I drive from Orange County to Palos Verdes and arrive at 5:30 PM. After an intense hour long negotiation, “The Millward Agency” becomes the preferred insurance vendor for all Re/Max offices in the State of Calif. This relationship lasts until 2009, when the Real Estate market collapses.
The fax machine is introduced, typewriters, carbon paper and white-out are still used. All files are still paper. All money is mailed via check.
The Agency is growing, Re/Max accounts are opening across the State; the Real Estate boom has started in earnest.
I travel the width & breadth of Calif from 1984 until the bust in 2009; 25 years. I take my daughter, Julie, with me for 5 of those years. We write hundreds of Real Estate offices, employing tens of thousands of RE agents. It is the most rewarding niche I ever found. I was invited to many Re/Max social events. The highlight was the National Re/Max Annual meeting in San Francisco, in the early 1990’s I think. One of my long-time clients, Re/Max Valencia, obtained the largest RE/MAX volume award in the Nation. It’s true, and they announced my name from the pulpit as their Insurance Broker. I was stunned to hear that from the last row in the room.
Computers are new and the Agency invests in its first program, Redshaw. It reduces the time to issue Certs, typewriters, white-out and carbon paper are finally thrown away. I have to come into the office every Saturday to do a 2.5 hour backup of the computer system.
Around this period of time, the manual payroll process was eliminated by outsourcing all payroll to a payroll service that computes the tax percentages and sends the Agency paper evidence. Saves me countless hours every month. Our first payroll company is ADP. ADP sends a monthly report, which is imputed into the computer.
1996 Weston Millward
Pacific National, purchased by Highland Insurance a few years earlier, files for Bankruptcy & liquidates. They issue 60-day notices of cancellation on 2.5 million in premium. I contact every major carrier to replace Highland. Luckily, Hartford appoints me. I manually move the 2.5 million in premium, the last account being bound only 15 days before the 60-day cancellation date arrives. That was a close one.
Outgrowing the condo in Laguna Hills, the Agency moves into a newly constructed office Building on Bake Blvd, in Lake Forest, Calif. It is 5,000 sq ft; one story.
Agency One burns out. After careful consideration, I decide to design my own Agency Management Software System. I call it “Hunter”. It’s a huge undertaking, but the results are worth it. In 2 years it is up and running, all client data is stored in house and is used extensively until 2023.
The Re/Max real estate industry has peaked and is leveling off.
Back in the day, carrier appointments were very hard to come by. One day the Travelers “Special Agent” drops by and asks if we want to be appointed. I was stunned. In 31 years, a major carrier has NEVER asked to be appointed with my Agency. I say sure & sign the Agreement right then & there. Travelers is still with the Agency today, 18 years later. My middle son, Adam Millward, starts with the Agency.
2005 Adam Millward
The economic recession kills the Re/Max program overnight as the housing market implodes. Re/Max offices across the state either close, file BK, or just go broke. 75% of all licensed RE agents in Calif cancel their licenses. It’s epic. In response, I start another niche marketing program, Home Medical Equipment Dealers, or HME. We go Nationwide with it. Now the Non-Resident Licenses come into play, which are ready to go. Wade Millward, my youngest son, starts with the Agency. Conventions are now a yearly item, but on a Nationwide basis. Instead of Long Beach & Anaheim, we go to Atlanta, Las Vegas, etc.
Growth reaches new levels, new carrier appointments are made, volume increases. The move to Utah was pivotal in reducing operating expenses and improving the bottom line. We go paperless and sell all of our 15-5 drawer file cabinets. I don’t know if I’m happy with that decision or not.
Wade decides to branch off on his own, leaving the Agency. The Hunter Management System needs to be reprogrammed, so I start the process all over again. I’m not looking forward to it. I start with the Accounting portion first. Business is showing steady growth due to the different nationwide niche programs Adam has developed.
The Fall of 2021
Adam is appointed CFO, obtaining many new carrier appointments and designing new Niche marketing programs. I concentrate on the Agencies finances, as my father did before me. Adam is now handling the day-to-day operation of the Agency, a 3rd Generation Millward. What a ride this has been!
June 18, 2023
Now my son, Adam, is running the Agency; I’m doing the Finances. I look back and think that many decades ago; the situation was reversed with my Father doing what I do now.
Time flies, as seconds turn into minutes, hours into days, weeks, then years; life shortens with every breath we take.
When I started in 1974, selling and servicing our Insurance clientele, nothing had dramatically changed, other than the contracts themselves, since INA wrote the first Ocean Marine policy in America, circa 1799. The typewriter, telegraph and phone were invented, but the paper processes had remained the same.
When Dad started in 1947, the processes basically remained unchanged until he retired in 1987; that’s 40 years! Typewriters, phones, whiteout, carbon paper, paper policies received and sent, had remained the same. However, since 1974, the Insurance Industry has changed more than it did in the previous 200 years; by far.
After Dad had worked 40 hard years, thinking of learning new technology, including Computers, Software, Auto Computer Quoting, Fax Machines? Forget it. He was done. Time to get out while the time is right; and he did.
My situation was different. The changes hit me right in the face, in the middle of my career. I had no choice, I had to change and absorb it, like it or not.
Electronic computers came into being, phones went digital. Fax Machines, Computerized Accounting & Management Systems Software? All paper copies of policy documents went electronic. What? It was hard to understand what Email was, let alone the staggering array of technological advancements that never seemed to cease. Individuals growing up in this new era do not understand how hard it really was…
For the first time in history, paper files were destroyed for electronic. White out, carbon paper, typewriters, all gone. Snail Mail is replaced by electronic ACH Bank Deposits and Checks.
Policies are not mailed, but electronically sent via email to Clients and Agencies. All client data is stored now in the “cloud” but TMA still have copies on our server at work, but that is rare.
When calling Carriers, you have to go through a multitude of artificial answering devices to talk to an underwriter. Its nuts…and it has gone too far. Clients and Agents still like to talk to real people, that know what they are doing.
What will be the changes in another 50 years? Who knows? It could remain the same with improvements; or other systems will be invented that make this comparison look like childs play. Maybe it will reverse and the advantage of paper over digital/electronic will come back?
But the one thing I have noticed is the Baby Boom generation has seen the most unrelenting, continuous upheaval in change in the Insurance Industry since it started in America. At times it stretched the ability of understanding. Was it good or bad? Probably a little of both.
With this missive, I bid you goodbye, wishing the best for those that pass after me. May your involvement in the Insurance Industry be as rewarding, difficult and productive as it has been for me.
I fare thee well, as you continue to work in this fascinating industry! But always remember;
Weston S. Millward
1996 EW Millward & Weston Millward