Headquartered just 30 miles outside Pittsburgh — the heart of the state’s steel and manufacturing industry — Duncan Financial Group is proud to call Irwin, Pennsylvania home.
For three generations, the family owned firm has provided businesses and families with comprehensive insurance and financial services — and, more importantly, confidence.
“It means a great deal to be able to successfully help people through three generations,” says Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Duncan, CFP. “People who have car accidents.People who have had loved ones pass. People who have problems with the IRS. We help people with all different types of financial problems, and it’s very satisfying to know that we’ve been able to do that for 44 years.”
Big enough to matter and small enough to care, Duncan Financial Group prides itself on putting its customer first — a way of doing business instilled by David Duncan’s father, the late John “Jack” Duncan, when he established the firm as an independent insurance agency in 1978.
“My father always said, ‘If you take care of your clients, everything else will be fine,’ ” states David Duncan. “ ‘ If you don’t take care of your clients, it doesn’t matter how successful you are at the other parts of business, ultimately, you’ll fail.’ ”
It’s a philosophy that certainly has served the company and its clients well over time.
Soon after David joined the business in 1979, they expanded to include financial services, such as securities and financial planning. Over the years, wealth management was added, followed by tax and accounting, and several smaller insurance agencies as well. In 1996, Duncan affiliated with Keystone Insurance Group, a prestigious multi- state network of independent agencies — helping broaden the firm’s reputation and market position.
Then, the unexpected happened.
In 1997, Jack Duncan passed away suddenly at the age of 57. Not long after, a bank approached David and his brother, John Jr. (president of the Insurance Division), to sell the business, but they turned down the offer, making one of the most important decisions ever — to keep the company in the family and remain an independent firm.
“The planning that my dad had done made it so that my brother and I were able to give my mom financial security for life, and we didn’t have to do it in a fashion that kept us from building our business,” says David Duncan. “Mom ended up with financial security, and we had the capital to continue to grow our business, which, I would tell you, at least 95 out of 100 businesses that lose their main owner at age 57, they don’t survive.”
Duncan Financial Group has not only survived but also thrived. Recognized in 2019 as one of the fastest-growing companies in western Pennsylvania by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the firm presently has offices located across Pennsylvania, as well as Strongsville, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia and as far away as Laguna Nigel, California to service its clients nationwide.
For employers, Duncan offers commercial insurance/risk management, group benefits, retirement plans and accounting. For individuals, they offer insurance, estate planning, wealth management, and tax services.
“The uniqueness of our organization is that we can help employers across the board — property and casualty insurance, 401k and retirement plan, key man or business perpetuation life insurance, group health insurance, taxes and accounting services,” says David Duncan. “Knowing all those things about the client allows us to be able to provide them with much better advice because of the depth of our relationship and the depth of our knowledge of their operations.”
Experts in Their Fields
Duncan Financial’s strength of service is connected to its “deep bench” of expertise — represented by more than 100 professionals who are experts in their fields.
“The people who do our property and casualty and commercial insurance focus solely on that. We’ve got a team that does 401k, and other retirement plans. We’ve got people who prepare and plan people’s taxes, both for businesses and for individuals,” explains David Duncan. “All those areas have different areas of expertise, and we’ve assembled a team of people to make all their financial matters work together in a coordinated, comprehensive and strategic manner.”
President and Investment Advisor Representative Brian Duncan, CFP, CLU, who is the third generation of the Duncan family to lead the business, is proof of the importance that Duncan has placed on expertise. A 2021 National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies award winner, he has been recognized as a trailblazer in his field.
“We’re always working toward our credentials, and we have incentives in place to really help people with mentorship, and growing in their discipline and expertise,” Brian Duncan says.
Such expertise has enabled Duncan Financial Group to build a solid reputation, particularly in the areas of commercial insurance and risk management. The company is a one-stop-shop for insurance needs, providing expertise in the areas of general liability, umbrella/excess liability, business auto, property and equipment, cyber, as well as workers’ compensation.
In fact, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer David Leng, CPCU, CIC, CBWA, CRM, MWCA, is widely considered one of the brightest minds in the insurance industry due to his unique Risk Profile Improvement Process, saving clients more than $60 million in premiums and overcharges since 2004.
“We take the time to understand each business, to understand the issues and challenges that they’re facing,” Leng states, “to not only reduce their rates and make them more attractive to insurance companies, but what they need from an insurance standpoint, so we can design a program that could help them achieve their goal of surviving when disaster strikes.”
Leng and his team also have been instrumental in helping clients address the challenges of workers’ compensation claims. He is the author of the international bestsellers, The Laws of Insurance Attraction, as well as Stop Being Frustrated & Overcharged, is co-founder of Keystone CompControl, the nation’s largest single network of Workers’ Compensation specialists, and is even an instructor for the Institute of WorkComp Professionals. He also developed Duncan’s Employer Success Program™, which helps business owners build and protect their financial future.
“Employees touch every aspect of a business, and by helping them better manage their employees, in terms of hiring, keeping them safe, focusing on how and why they do things, it ultimately will help their profitability. If we can help them manage that better,” says Leng, “they’ll have more productive employees and a more profitable organization.”
Exceptional Service and Support
At Duncan Financial Group, each line of business offers clients unparalleled service and support.
For example, while Duncan’s investment advisers help employers and employees make good decisions about their 401k, their third- party administration team ensures they are compliant with all the Department of Labor and IRS regulations. “They’re extremely passionate about positive client outcomes and that they have a comfortable retirement with dignity,” David Duncan explains.
Duncan also helps employers address their significant Fiduciary Liability Risks through a complimentary Fiduciary Audit process. Duncan complements its services with a robust Employee Financial Wellness Program as well. Team members offer timely webinars on topics such as Social Security, debt restructuring and debt repayment, college funding, Medicare, facing inflation and even budgeting, which can be viewed any time, anywhere.
“For most people, 401k plans are their largest investment asset yet they don’t know how to invest it, how to grow it. If there are financial challenges, there isn’t much support in many 401k plans. Our Employee Financial Wellness Program helps employees reach their retirement goals,” says David Duncan.
In the group benefit space, Duncan offers employers critical information on benchmarking, compensation and benefits information — helping their organizations stand out.
“We take a deep dive with employers and collaborate with their budget and their economic circumstances to put a plan together that will not only help their employees and their families, but also to maximize employee retention and the employees’ appreciation of their program,” says Brian Duncan.
In addition to simple, traditional, fully insured health insurance plans, Duncan can help employers with establishing and maintaining group captives, HSAs and HRAs, and self-funding (even for as low as 25 lives or more). “For some employers, it makes sense to accept that risk,” says Duncan, “and we can help.”
For business owners, Duncan is a one-source solution, offering commercial insurance and personal insurance as well. “Whatever you need — auto, boat, home or umbrella coverage — we have over 60 different insurance companies that we can shop to get you the best price,” says David Duncan. “Duncan offers a unique Premier Personal Risk Management Program for business owners and executives that connects their personal insurance to their business coverage, so it all fits together.”
“They obviously have more complex exposures and insurance program needs, so we have a team that integrates their personal and their business coverage, so that they don’t have any gaps,” he continues. “At the end of the day, they’re in the best place, with everything working together.”
For employers who are looking at the future of their business, Duncan also has a business perpetuity program. “With all of our expertise, we can help them make assessments of the tax impact, the estate planning impact, other legal documentation they may need,” says David Duncan. “Then, in many cases, the life insurance-related products, to help fund and make sure that the transition happens successfully, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Focused on the Future
Planning for the future is what Duncan does best as it looks for new ways to perpetuate success.
According to Duncan, a big part of that picture is by providing continuity through its team of professionals. The company provides a strong mentoring program to ensure that knowledge and best practices are passed on to the next generation, and continues to be pro-active in both its recruiting and retention efforts.
In fact, a 2021 calculation of Duncan’s retention put it at 88 percent — a credit to the firm’s four core values: stay humble, hungry, smart and dedicated to service. “If you go back 44 years,” explains Brian Duncan, “that was what we put forth. Really, all of those relate to delivering the best that you can for the client. Those are the kind of people who fit in really well here and have great careers as we continue to grow across all of our businesses.”
Just as Jack Duncan did in 1978, Duncan Financial Group understands the importance of staying focused on the future — and having the team that can “make it all work together.”
“We’re very optimistic about our growth, and we think we’ve got a strategy to grow almost no matter what the environment is,” says Brian Duncan. “We’re still very excited about wherever we can go next.”
Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Irwin, Pennsylvania, Duncan Financial Group is a comprehensive insurance, risk management and financial services firm. For businesses, Duncan offers insurance/risk management, group benefits, retirement plans, and accounting. For individuals, they offer insurance, estate planning, wealth management, and tax services.
Owned and operated by the Duncan family, the firm employs more than 100 professionals with offices located across Pennsylvania as well as Strongsville, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia; and Laguna Nigel, California, serving clients nationwide.
Headquarters: 311 Main Street, Irwin, PA 15642