Liestman started the liability insurance business on Aug. 28, 1977 out of her home. As the business grew, she needed more space and later moved the business to the former First National Bank building where it was located for 18 years. Last year, Ark Agency purchased the former Paynesville Medical Clinic and in November moved into its new quarters. With the move to the new building, the entire building was networked with a state of the art phone and computer system. ďWe had to make a few structural changes, but the building was perfect for our type of business,Ē Liestman said.
Liestman is licensed to operate in all 50 states but most of her business is in New York and California. Ark Agency writes liability insurance for horse farms, commercial horse operations, boarding stables, and more. Ark Agency is a specialty agency independently owned. Ark Agency employs 10 people but during its peak season (February to August) has 12 employees.
In the 1980s she dropped the farm property side of the business but later got back into it and find itís doing well. She also has plans to write more specialty risk insurance. ďThe industry is becoming more and more specialized and by the year 2000, 80 to 90 percent of the business will be specialty policies which was unheard of 20 years ago,Ē she said.
In 1987 she formed the North American Horsemenís Association which provides insurance to the horse industry on a group basis, educating people in the industry on risk reduction and safety. Liestman also prints an annual newsletter/magazine, featuring articles about horses, their owners, and people in the industry.
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