George Stone & Natalie Stone - Hill & Stone Insurance
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber: Tell us a little bit about Hill & Stone insurance agency.
George Stone: We are a fourth generation agency that was started by my grandmother Esther Stone 110 years ago. She started the business on April 15, 1912 which is incidentally the day the Titanic sank. She was a true woman pioneer in business back then as she founded the business before women could even vote. Eventually the torch passed to my father and then on to me, and now my daughter, Natalie is the future of the organization. My wife, Pat Stone CPCU, is also an integral part of the insurance agency—and previously spent many years working at Chubb and Zurich. We have 15 people on staff and we are the largest agency in Lake County. We've grown from a small agency to now over 4,000 clients. We manage risk and sell insurance throughout the U.S., not just metro Chicago. We are an independent agency and we offer choice within three categories--personal policies including home, auto and boat insurance; commercial policies including worker's comp and product liability; and I'm an expert witness in life insurance. We insure many of the local Lake Forest and Lake Bluff institutions.
LFLBC: What was your path to this role?
GS: I grew up in Lake Bluff and I went to Lake Forest High School in the 1970s, so I've really seen a lot of change in these towns over those years. I went to Dartmouth. where I played soccer, and graduated in 1979. I had more than a dozen job offers that would've taken me to other parts of the country. However, my father offered me an opportunity at the insurance agency and I accepted—but sadly he died two years later. That was in 1981 and I've been here since then.
LFLBC: What is the single most important thing you want people to know about Hill & Stone Insurance?
GS: We are committed to the community like no other business and we strive to offer unmatched customer service, care and attention. We have clients on every street in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff and we're involved in all the local events and we support local charities. In fact, my father founded the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Rotary Club. We just give back any way we can. We're really thankful for this community. Although I cannot mention our clients by name, we insure many of the local Lake Forest and Lake Bluff institutions. We are here every day minding the shop like a European bakery. It's really a lifestyle for us--not a job.
LFLBC: What is your business vision?
GS: My daughter, Natalie, spent several years at Citibank in New York and about five years ago she and her husband, Caleb, moved back. She came to the agency and got her MBA from the University of Chicago. They now live in Lake Bluff with their daughter Penelope. She's the future of Hill & Stone.
LFLBC: We're thankful to have you as an Event Partner for the Lake Forest 'Then & Now' Auto Show on October 10. How did that come about?
GS: We're always looking for opportunities to give back to the community and this is just another way we can do that. We have core experience in sports and collectors cars and we enjoy partnering with all the major auto shows in the area, so it's a great fit.
LFLBC: Is there anything else you would like to share?
GS: If we can help with insurance needs, visit our website, www.hillandstone.com or give us a call 847-295-3030. We'd love to work with you.