Personal service is their policy

Insurance agency marks a whopping 105 years

If you got all your information about insurance from TV commercials, you’d think the industry had something to do with lizards and chirpy sales ladies — unless, that is, you happened to walk into Muller Insurance at 930 Washington St. in Hoboken. And “walk in” is the operative phrase. Unlike many household-name insurance companies that operate by phone or Internet, Muller has been doing face to face business with real, live people for 105 years.


“I enjoy selling, and I love dealing with the local people who are great.”— Roger Muller

Here’s the line of succession: John Muller founded the company in 1906. In 1948, his son R. John Muller took over and is the current owner. His wife Hetty is an accountant with the firm, son Roger manages the office, daughter Erika is assistant manager, Roger’s daughter Kelsey works there in the summer, and Erika’s dog Toby is a constant presence. (It’s lucky there are no geckos lounging around).

The Muller method

“The difference between us and the Geicos of the world,” said Roger, “is that we are an independent agent representing different insurance companies, whereas companies like Geico, State Farm, and All State are captive agencies, meaning the agents are employees of the company.” Roger said that Muller agents can go to other companies to get a better deal for their clients. “As an independent agent, we deal with 13 different insurance companies but are not controlled by any single company,” Roger said.
Muller Insurance, which is licensed in 17 states from Maine to Florida, does a lot of local business with homes, retail stores, condo units, and apartment buildings. While its expertise is in homeowner’s insurance, it can handle anything, including car insurance.
“We have a main street office,” Roger said. “We can help you physically, with the policy in hand. It’s a hands-on personal relationship.”
The company has had some exciting clients, including the late TV talk show host Morton Downey Jr.; former New York Giants player Adrian White, former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, actor and director John Sayles, and former New York Giants quarterback and sports commentator Jesse Palmer, who also appeared in the TV reality show The Bachelor. Several of those mentioned are past Hoboken residents.

Let’s get real

“I do enjoy selling,” Roger said, “and I love dealing with the local people who are great, but insurance, how exciting can it be?”
It’s possible that a lot of Mullers have been asking themselves that same question, because it’s apparently a family trait to arm yourself against ennui with myriad outside activities. Roger and his sister have started a hockey team called the Hoboken-Muller Rockets that play in Hackensack. Erika was such an accomplished hockey player that, 12 years ago, she came this close to making the U.S. Olympic team.
But Roger’s main love is underwater photography. He’s a certified underwater digital photography instructor. He does most of his underwater work in Dutch Springs, Pa., though he and his daughter once dove at the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn.
He’s also active in community groups, including the Hoboken Lion’s Club, Elks Club, and emergency response team. He just completed a stint as co-vice president of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce.
Decades ago, insurance was just one of the jobs handled by Roger’s elders. Roger’s father was a New Jersey state detective, real estate broker, and public accountant. In addition, Roger said, “My grandfather was a theatrical agent, justice of the peace, and real estate broker. Insurance was more if a sideline.”
Roger said that all customers are treated the same. In a venerable family business, customer service is like an old heirloom, handed down through the generations.
“I learned from my father to be very honest and straightforward and treat customers like family,” Roger said. “My father is a straight shooter who enjoys — no, demands — that things be done the right way.”

Visit Muller Insurance at

Kate Rounds can be reached at

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