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This article first appeared in Real Estate magazine’s special-edition Women in Real Estate issue. View the entire issue here.
HSASM Home Warranty connects the needs of customers and changing marketplace expectations
As president and COO of Howard Hanna Insurance Services, Inc., and chief legal officer of Hanna Holdings, Inc., Annie Hanna Engel is part of her family’s long-time real estate business.
“I’m a lawyer, but I had a broker’s license before I took the bar exam,” she says.
Her journey to Howard Hanna, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., began when she was working as an attorney in Connecticut. Engel had the opportunity to get an LLM in Insurance Law at the University of Connecticut, and toward the end of her studies, she applied for the position of deputy director of the Insurance Law Center instead of staying at her firm.
“It clicked, and I spent four years teaching insurance law, risk management and managing graduate studies,” she says. “I dipped my toe into the family business later, when I moved back to Pittsburgh, and it was a natural fit.”
Howard Hanna has been working with HSA Home Warranty for more than 32 years, with Engel explaining that the relationship supports the firm’s real estate agents and brokers by providing education and knowledge resources to its salespeople, buyers and sellers.
“Our relationship has been a strong one,” says Engel. “It’s our resilience together that has evidenced this trust—and their ongoing innovation and responsiveness to client product needs and industry changes in an agile way maintains that trust,” she adds.
The firm’s relationship with HSA continues to grow as the two work together to connect the needs of customers and the changing marketplace expectations.
“For our real estate clients—both buyers and sellers—the home warranty provides an additional resource and peace of mind,” says Engel. “For our real estate agents and brokers, it not only provides peace of mind, but an extra resource to help troubleshoot any covered items or issues.”
From listing to homeowner renewal, the coverage is the gold standard, and while a warranty can’t eliminate the surprises that occur with homeownership, Engel notes that a warranty can make these instances easier and less costly for the homeowner.
Furthermore, the warranty includes additional home services that buyers can take advantage of without experiencing a breakdown.
“Additional home services like the re-key service for the new homebuyer are something every new homeowner wants,” says Engel. “You don’t go without homeowners insurance, so you shouldn’t go without a home warranty. They complement each other as a resource for a homeowner.”
Drilling down even further, HSA’s resources and strength of brand helped make the transition easier when Howard Hanna expanded to other markets.
“Our management and sales teams have a resource to call when needed,” says Engel. “We have monthly strategy meetings, but it’s our day-to-day exchanges that are most meaningful to doing what we do.”
This has helped the firm concentrate on other avenues when navigating the COVID-19 pandemic this past year, knowing that they didn’t have to worry about home warranty problems popping up.
“2020 will actually be our best year ever,” says Engel. “That’s due, in part, to the trust, innovation and energy that we have at Howard Hanna for and with our real estate agents and clients.”