July 19, 2023 at 11:31 a.m.
Updated July 19, 2023 at 11:31 a.m.

Service over business size

Melrose agency earns top American Family Insurance state award

Kyle Hoium knew his wife, Emily, and their three sons, Dominic, 5, Gabriel, 3, and Alexander, 10 months, had been involved with making a short video. He figured it was for an award he knew he would receive as the owner of the American Family Insurance Kyle Hoium Agency, LLC., in Melrose during their April convention in Eden Prairie.  

When that honor was given out and his video was not shown, he thought they forgot to show the video. 

A short time later he found out that was not the case.

The video was played as the Kyle Hoium Agency, LLC, was named the 2022 American Family Insurance Agency of the Year, out of 258 in the state.

“It was humbling because there are so many great agencies, and we have great relationships,” Hoium said. “A lot of agents, at the awards event, were really happy for us, just happy a small agency had accomplished this.” 

When he returned to his office, he presented the award to Juli Diederich, his office manager, the person who “runs the show,” he said laughing. 

“My name is on the award but it’s just as much Juli’s,” he said. “It’s a team award.” 

Hoium said the award meant a lot, but almost more this year because when the area was hammered with the storms May 12, 2022, it doubled the workload in this two-person office. 

The award is calculated off of sales and service metrics, Hoium said. 

“How much new business you wrote over the course of the year and also customer service scores,” he said.  

Hoium, who was raised on a dairy farm north of Villard and graduated from Osakis High School, took over the Melrose agency from John Thelen June 1, 2012. At the time, he had worked for an American Family Insurance agency in Alexandria for two years. 

“Insurance was a good fit for me,” said Hoium, who double majored in financial management and economics in college.

Initially, he thought about becoming a teacher and coach. And in a way, he is.

“As an agent, you are trying to teach and coach your customers on what they need,” he said. “I really like working with people and helping people.” 

A competitive man by nature, with a love for sports, Hoium works to grow his business. The agency sells home, auto, farm, business and life insurance.

Diederich, who has been employed at the Melrose agency for six years, is a licensed insurance producer. She has worked for American Family Insurance for 10 years, the first four years at an agency in Rice, owned by Sarah Wilczek, who is now their district manager. 

“I like meeting a lot of different people and working with different situations,” she said. 

Hoium and Diederich are excited to add Stacey Austing-Jacobson to their team.  

As an agency owner, Hoium makes business decisions. 

“It’s a career where the harder you work the more you will get out of it, and the better you will be able to take care of your customers,” he said, adding, “Also, we’re able to give back to the community and the school and help at local events.” 

That includes Melrose Riverfest, where Hoium volunteered in the beer garden. 

“It’s the best of both worlds,” he said. 

Their agency of the year trophy is proudly displayed at their main street office. Diederich knew about their agency receiving the award six weeks beforehand, and like Hoium’s family, had to keep it a secret. 

“I couldn’t believe it when Sarah called me and said we had won because of the size of our small agency. There are mega agencies in the Twin Cities all over the place that you would have thought would have won,” Diederich said. 

It was emotional when she held the trophy in her hand for the first time; proof that it is not always about the size of the business but the service they offer. 

“It was a surprising honor,” Hoium said. 


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