About Us

About Der Manouel Insurance Group

Founded in 1983 as a joint venture with three different insurance agencies, Der Manouel Insurance Group, originally San Joaquin Valley Insurance Associates (SJVIA), has grown from humble beginnings to one of the top 300 privately held insurance agencies in the United States.

A brief history:  The founding principals of SJVIA were Michael Der Manouel, Sr., Ron Gajarian, George Vived, Greg Labiak and Joe Castanos.  Primarily used as a marketing arm, SJVIA soon grew to become the largest of the entities, and by 1985, both Labiak and Castanos had moved on to other ventures.

In 1991, the late Richard Wiebe, Ed.D, approached Ron Osborn about developing programs to serve private Christian schools and Religious Institutions.  Osborn approached agency management and the program was approved and launched later that year.

In 1992, Michael Der Manouel, Jr. joined the firm as producer and teamed up with Osborn and Wiebe in the marketing of the schools program, which quickly grew to become the largest program in the agency, catering specifically to members of the Association of Christian Schools International and sponsoring churches.

In 1996, the Vived – Gajarian agency split from SJVIA, and in 1997, Michael Der Manouel, Jr. acquired the remaining stock in SJVIA from his father  and became company President. During these years, the Religious Institutions program was continuing to grow in size and scope, and with the addition of Emergency Medical Transportation and Non Profit Human Services, the agency footprint began to expand to all areas of California.

In 2001, Capstone Insurance Services was purchased by SJVIA, providing additional expansion into the Religious Institutions marketplace.

With the steady growth of niche Property & Casualty programs came the opportunity to expand into Employee Benefits & Financial Services.  In 2002, Vic Gunderson was invited to merge with SJVIA – providing valuable leadership and knowledge to the agency. As company Vice President and shareholder, Gunderson continues to lead the agency’s Employee Benefits & Financial Services division.

In 2003, Chuck Der Manouel joined the firm as a producer and quickly went about developing only the fourth self-insured Workers’ Compensation Group ever approved in California – for private Christian schools.

Also in 2003, SJVIA completed the acquisition of Cooper & Cook Insurance Services in Pleasanton, California – expanding its presence into the East Bay Area of California.

By 2005, the agency had now grown over 500% – expanding into lines of business such as small contracting and sign companies. It was now time for a new identity as SJVIA was operating under three different names. After a lengthy evaluation process – Der Manouel Insurance Group (DMIG) was selected and 2006 became the year of “re-branding” the company.

2005 was also the year DMIG became an APPEX agency, joining an elite group across the country focused on improvement, delivering high value to clients, and benchmarking against the best in the insurance industry.  As a result of recommendations made by APPEX partner agencies, in 2007 several key employees became company shareholders, including CFO Kevin Nist, COO Chuck Der Manouel, and producers Joe Thacker, Lyn FauntLeRoy, and Lance Watts.

The whirlwind of changes continued throughout 2007, as the company transitioned to a paperless environment and began to invest heavily in technology to serve clients better, faster and more accurately.  Finally, in 2007, DMIG reorganized its Client Services Unit and entire organization around the concept of “Changing the Equation”.  The timing of these changes could not have been better, given the the explosive growth to come.

2008 saw the relocation of DMIG to a newer and larger facility in Northwest Fresno and the company’s 25th anniversary.  The year proved to be pivotal for the agency, as it was also the year when DMIG adopted its statement of Purpose, Values and Beliefs.  While to many this might seem a normal and innocuous change, this one act served to define the culture of the company and set the stage for sustained growth through the worst economic downturn in decades.

2009 began as a normal year, until several producers and staff from a competing agency contacted DMIG about the opportunity to relocate to our firm.  After a few weeks, DMIG welcomed aboard twelve new team members, and with them, expertise in new industries, and the addition of several national carriers.  The addition of such prominent members of the local insurance community, including Guy Newman, Greg Gordon, Jim Gibbs, and Lee Armstrong, was and continues to be an incredible blessing to our firm.  In December that same year, after a twelve year absence, Ron Osborn rejoined DMIG and the process of a merger began, to be completed in 2012.

For the past several years, with the addition of expertise in Employee Benefits, Almond Hulling and Processing, Farm and Ag, and Habitational risks, we’ve been able to focus on our Value Added service platform for our clients, delivering products and resources to help our clients be the best and most competitive in their industries. 

With double digit growth  every year since 2009, we’ve recently expanded our facilities to prepare the way for our future needs and improve our ability to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.

We love our business and industry and are delighted that you’ve taken the time to review our company history.  We invite you to learn more about DMIG and visit the rest of our website!