E.W. Smith Agency – Making the Right Choice

“Our agency has certainly adapted to the many changes the insurance industry has gone through in the past 100 years” – Doug Ochmanek

The E.W. Smith Agency, specializing in auto, home, business, and life insurance, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in the Southeast Michigan community this year.

The agency was founded in 1917 by Ernest W. Smith, who built a small family business with a focus on serving the community and putting the customer first. Although the agency has expanded and changed shape since, that drive to serve the community and put the customer as the main priority has remained the same.

E.W. Smith maintains three agency locations, with the headquarters located in Wyandotte on Fort Street. The other two offices are located in Flat Rock and Shelby Township. Since its beginning in 1917, E.W. Smith has become one of the largest independent agencies in Southeast Michigan. The company employs over 65 agents and staff, each of which is a moving part to the agency.

A six-member board of directors administers the agency, and the president, Doug Ochmanek, believes that one of the most satisfying elements of working with the agency is the relationships made throughout the community over time. Some of the companies that the independent agency represents include Auto Owners, Citizens, Frankenmuth, AAA, Hartford, and Grange. E.W. Smith has represented Auto Owners since the beginning and is its largest individual agency.

E.W. Smith is primarily a personal lines agency. All of its agent partners write all lines of business in addition to being the primary contact for their customers. “We do not pass off the service to other representatives, and I think that is what makes us especially unique within the industry and the community,” Ochmanek says.

Ochmanek and E.W. Smith are deeply involved in the community beyond their scope of agency work. As a corporation, E.W. Smith facilitates a Dress Down Day once a month in which employees donate to dress casually. At the end of the year, the agency matches the funds raised. The funds go to local food banks like the Downriver Food Bank, Helping Hands Community Church, and St. Vincent De Paul. Individually, agents, partners, and staff are also active within their churches, community schools, and coaching communities. Additionally, E.W. Smith facilitates a corporate match of individual donations to different nonprofit organizations throughout the year.

Ochmanek is proud of the open lines of communication between its agents and customers. “We feel that having an agent to help with all of these changes has allowed us to remain viable over the past 100 years,” he says.

Since the agency is “agent owned,” all agents are hired in as potential partners, which gives them guaranteed ownership opportunities in the insurance industry. Ochmanek believes that these opportunities create a unique spot in the industry. E.W. Smith currently has 35 agents, each of which has some portion of ownership.

Like any industry, technology has changed the shape of how insurance is bought, serviced, and administered, Ochmanek adds. “Our agency has certainly adapted to the many changes the insurance industry has gone through in the past 100 years,” he explains. As a strong force in keeping the community safe, E.W. Smith’s agents are available through multiple outlets like social media, email and telephone.

To celebrate 100 successful years in Southeast Michigan, E.W. Smith has a number of celebrations planned throughout the year, which will culminate with a Customer Appreciation Week during October. More information on how to participate in the celebrations will be made available within the coming months.


E.W. Smith Agency has locations in Wyandotte, Flat Rock, and Shelby Twp. For more information on E.W. Smith, its agents, and its services, call 734-284-4141 or visit ewsmith.com