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2007 ERNST & YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR: Dave Roush, Insuring Success

Jun 30, 2007

By McClellan, Matt

Dave Roush

Founder & CEO

Dave Roush, founder and CEO of, has a simple goal in mind.

"We want to nail it," he says.

While the strategy around "nailing it" is complex, the goal is simple - save people time and money on auto insurance.

Roush originally developed the concept behind on a napkin. The idea came about in response to frustration over the lack of options for purchasing insurance online in the late 1990s.

The opportunity was there, but it did not guarantee success for the start-up business. Roush's idea was to use the technology for comparative auto insurance quotes used by his former employer, Progressive, but take it one step further. Once that quote was shown on the Progressive Web site, there was no way to easily purchase a policy.

Roush followed his entrepreneurial instinct by making several important decisions along the road to success. First, he required the insurance companies to provide executives to sit on the board of directors. Getting insurance partners was necessary to give the whole operation legitimacy - without it, the company's value proposition of saving people time and money would fail.

Another key decision Roush made was keeping communication between management and employees open and honest. From the earliest days, Roush communicated the company's cash position to employees on a regular basis - even if that meant employees would worry about how the company would meet the next payroll cycle. The openness has built a sense of trust throughout the company, which has increased employee satisfaction and minimized turnover.

The 250-employee, Solon-based company has plenty of room for growth in the enormous auto insurance market. Roush has several initiatives in place to grow both the company and the company's brand. His short-term plan calls for building Web 2.0technology into the company's online auto insurance marketplace. Roush also wants to make a household name and is planning a consolidated marketing effort to make it happen.

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Copyright Smart Business Network Jul 2007

(c) 2007 Smart Business Akron/Canton. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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