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Gilston Insurance: 60 Years and Counting

Illustration showing that insurance helps pay for health expenses that pile up.

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When David M. Gilston began selling insurance in Charleston in 1962, he had no official name, no clients, no office and no standard hours – and he made calls door-to-door any time day or night. He did, however, have an idea to build his efforts into a name people would trust. That idea soon became the David M. Gilston Insurance Agency.

While Gilston hasn’t had to sell door-to-door in a long time, the company he founded 61 years ago has become an iconic Lowcountry business and is now one of South Carolina’s most trusted and far-reaching health care insurance brokerage agencies.

“We celebrated our 60th anniversary in 2022,” said Gilston, who doesn’t look or act as though he plans to retire anytime soon. “And we represent many different health insurance carriers to try and provide each client with their best possible choices.”

Those choices now represent a much wider range than when Gilston began. For example, the agency now offers health care coverage, which at one time was a comparative blip on the insurance landscape because people often paid for health care out of their own pocket or worked for an employer that offered basic coverage such as hospitalization.

Now even longtime agents such as Gilston must stay abreast of all the annual changes, additions, deletions and new health care coverage laws. So when you call Gilston’s agents for any kind of health coverage, they will advise you on the coverage you need and help you explore options you might be considering.

“We are a full-service brokerage house that represents various carriers for lines of insurance such as health, life, disability, vision, dental and the growing senior markets arena,” said President Melanie Ensminger. “We work with brokers to help them find the most comprehensive benefit package available to meet the needs of the client. This advantage leads to faster resolutions to clients’ concerns.”

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Unlike 1962, clients are now advised on an array of individual and group options that include: major medical; short-term medical; short- and long-term disability; dental; Medicare supplements; Medicare Part C; and Medicare Part D.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Ensminger said. “Once brokers place their clients through us, each one is assigned an internal dedicated customer service representative who works with the carrier representatives to provide an additional layer of support to the agent, HR manager, and employees.”

So far, 61 years and counting, the Gilston Agency has grown from one policyholder to around 10,000. It is recognized year after year by major carriers in South Carolina as one of the state’s leading health insurance agencies.

“Instead of just me knocking on your door as I once would have done, we now have around 100 independent agents and three locations to serve you,” Gilston said. “Many have more than a decade of industry experience, and all will provide you the best support before, during and after enrollment to get the best health care plan for you.”

To learn more, visit dgilston.com.

By L. C. Leach III

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