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Truex Insurance: Traditions of Excellence

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Navigating through the world of insurance can be confusing, daunting and sometimes overwhelming. Fortunately for the clients of Truex Insurance, we find owners Jeff Tokunaga, James Watt and Stephen Nelson at the helm guiding the path toward understanding and ultimately peace of mind. With decades of experience in insurance, these three professionals work diligently as they lead a team of 24 employees to service client needs in the areas of commercial, health, personal and life insurance services. As I talked with owner James Watt about his background and introduction to insurance, I began to see what appeared as a pattern in capturing young talent, cultivating an environment for professional growth and a tradition of mentorship within the company.

Personal Growth
After six years of playing professional golf, James made the decision to shift his career and focus toward a new direction. “I felt like the timing was right. I wanted to have more control of my time and I knew moving forward in whatever career that would be, being an active father was important to me,” he shared. And so, his networking began and he was introduced to Jeff Tokunaga through a mutual friend. James started with Truex in 2004 and began building his clientele in personal insurance services. “I am fortunate to have had the experience of working in a company that held personal growth and mentorship in such a high regard,” James said proudly. As the years passed, James grew his business and through his relationships the focus shifted to commercial insurance.

As a company, Truex has had tremendous growth, becoming one of the largest independent insurance agencies in the Central Valley. One area in particular is health insurance, led by owner Jeff Tokunaga. “Jeff has been involved with health insurance since 1985. He brings a depth of knowledge and experience to the table,” commented James. In an environment with dynamic change, Jeff and his team remain up to date with industry standards and provide their clients with unbridled service and commitment to excellent customer service. “Our team realized; we can do this!” smiled James as he described the steady growth of the health insurance services. 

Company Growth
Stephen Nelson joined the Truex team in 2010 and has followed the same path as James with a focus on the personal insurance side of the business. “Stephen has grown into his role here at Truex; he is a great partner to have in your corner,” expressed James. “However, I am the fortunate one in this situation. As a mentor, it has given me the opportunity to teach. When you teach, you learn.” 

Continuing the tradition of growth and mentorship, Truex has 12 high-level account managers, many of whom started at the receptionist desk. When I asked James what he is most proud of, he didn’t hesitate when he answered, “our people.” James attributes the growth and longevity of the employees to the culture he, Jeff and Stephen have created. A no-nonsense, professional environment with a seven-hour work day, strong pay scale and profit sharing are the polices to which he attributes the high level of employee satisfaction. “We recently surveyed our employees and we were so proud when we learned how many of our employees enjoyed the barbecues, our annual Christmas party, birthday parties and other gatherings,” James mentioned. He continued to share the traditions of the annual Christmas party: a gift exchange and recognition to every single employee. One proud moment for James was the year the employees did a speech to recognize him, Jeff and Stephen. “We were completely surprised by the gesture and it is a moment in our company that I will remember fondly,” he smiled. 

True Professionalism
The service, knowledge and access to markets are what differentiates Truex from other agencies. “It means something to us. Being there to go above and beyond and exceed our clients’ expectations drives us forward,” James articulated. He continued to share the importance and value of honesty and transparency. “Our success comes from our clients and people in the community who see us in action. When we show up for a client in need and handle business with a personal touch, it goes a long way,” James identified. 

Over the course of my business relationship with James and Truex Insurance, I have walked into the office on several occasions before or during a barbecue or Christmas party. Always met with a smile, I never made it more than a few steps through the door without being offered a drink and something to eat. The welcoming family atmosphere in the office is a true testament to the character and vision of the owners. Jeff, James and Stephen continue to lead the industry in customer service. “One customer at a time, one challenge at a time. Our commitment to personal service remains at the forefront of our business model,” continued James. “Come interview us. We are happy to take the time to share how Truex can serve your needs.”

For more information on Truex Insurance, please visit or call (209) 477-1111.