Cover Story: Making Life Better

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by Patty Jo Sawvel ~

When Duane Long was 9 years old, his father took him on a secret trip.  As they silently rode in the car, Duane looked out the window at the colorful world of trees, houses, and people.  Then they arrived at the doors of Old City Hospital, now known as Forsyth Medical Center.  Once they stepped inside, the colors faded.

“When I walked into the room,” recalled Duane, “I was shocked!  Everything was white, sterile and bleached looking, and the stranger in the bed was wired with pulleys and weights.”

As frightening as this was, Duane watched as his father skillfully altered the mood with a cheerful greeting, a gentle handshake, and colorful stories from the outside world.  Once again, his dad performed the miracle of making life better for someone in need.

As often happens, young Duane set out to emulate his father.  In particular, he recalls the time that he push-mowed the family lawn as his unpaid duty and then the next day, he sneaked into the neighbor’s yard and anonymously mowed his lawn.  All of this was to help an elderly neighbor who was in the hospital.

“Even though I was only 11,” Duane said with a smile, “I realized that being able to give an anonymous gift of my own free will was more rewarding than getting paid.”

So like his father, Grady “Sprat” Long, Duane Long has made a life out of making life better for others.  Thus it comes as no surprise that over 10 years ago, Duane Long curtailed his career in medical equipment sales to establish his business, Long Insurance Services.

Overton Harper remembers how Duane quickly turned chaos into calmness for his family a few years ago.  While the Harper’s were out of town, a power surge caused their stove to switch on causing over $50,000 in smoke damage.  Thankfully, the security system alerted the fire department and Overton.  Overton called Duane.

“Duane had a restoration crew at our house within two hours.  They meticulously cleaned every single item in our home.  When we moved back in six weeks later, our house looked like it did when we first built it.  Duane made this a no-hassle experience and it did not cost us a single cent for our hotel stay or anything,” Overton said graciously.

Of course, much of the credit goes to the insurance carrier—Erie Insurance in this case—but Overton was quick to cite Duane as making a defining difference.

“Duane is very personable.  I called him, not Erie, when I needed help.  Because of the caliber of person that he is, Duane now cares for all 12 of our policies, including our business insurance for Harper Eye Care,” Overton added.

Laurie and Tom McDaniel faced an opposite problem from Overton.  Instead of fire, it was water damage and instead of being at home, it happened at work.  What made the “flood” potentially devastating is that they own a CPA (certified public accounting) firm and the water pipe ruptured three weeks before April 15th.

“Even though it was a Saturday, Duane came over within the hour and he called the restoration company.  Between Duane, my husband, and the IT guy, we had everything moved to the building behind us and we were up and running within 24 hours,” Laurie said emphatically.

Though it took two months to undo the damage of 2 inches of water covering the entire floor for hours, when it was done, Laurie reported that it was done right.  Mostly, she remembers Duane’s role in the process.

“You know,” Laurie said with a grin, “I cannot even remember the name of our former insurance agent.  But I will never forget the name of Duane Long.  I came to know him in a whole new way.  Even though we have served for years together on various boards in Kernersville, when he stuck with us in our time of crisis, I realized what a rare and wonderful person he is.”

Of course, there is more to the insurance business than settling claims and managing crises.  For many people, just having a trusted agent who can unravel the requirements and recommendations of insurance can be a real blessing.  Here too, Duane excels.

“My other insurance agent never came to see me and never had suggestions on what I needed.  So I switched to Duane.  He shows me my best options at competitive prices, which takes the pressure off me.  Duane stays in touch too,” shared Ken Tickle.

Ken also experienced another first in working with Duane.  When his wife wrecked the family car, Ken did his research and decided that “X” would be a fair value.  He was pleasantly surprised with the insurance company presented an offer for “X” plus an additional $1500!

Some clients take their relationship with Duane Long a step further.  They actually view him as family.  Such is the case with Chanthini Cruise Palmer, owner of Sugar & Spice Child Enrichment Center.  Chanthini invited Duane to her wedding and he attended.

“Duane makes me feel at home.  If I have a claim or need a form, he comes to me.  He is like a friend.  He is the kind of guy that encourages you and coaches you.  He is my go to guy.  He is like my family,” Chanthini said warmly.

As for Duane Long, he continues not only to guide his clients in their personal and commercial insurance needs, but this Rotarian also champions his hometown by serving on numerous boards over the years, including Körner’s Folly, Kernersville Moravian Church, and Kernersville Foundation.

“I cannot imagine a better life than being able to serve my customers and make the lives of people in Kernersville better.  Because when I do that, I keep growing as a person and my life keeps getting better,” Duane Long concluded thoughtfully.

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Long Insurance Services

40 years of combined Sales and Service Experience

Offering Insurance with over 100 Companies

PERSONAL LINES 

• Homeowners

• Auto

• Boat & RV

• Life Insurance

 COMMERCIAL LINES 

• Property Coverage

• Workers Comp

• General Liability

•Commercial Auto

Contact Duane Long at 336-992- LONG (5664)

Fast Facts

• There are two types of homeowners insurance.  HO-3 is standard.  HE-7 with an HE3221 endorsement largely expands the coverage for little additional cost.
• People can increase their state minimum required level of auto insurance to a realistic level of coverage for very little increase in cost.
• A good credit score can lower your auto insurance rates because it is one of several factors used to ascertain your “insurance risk score.”

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