JDC Insurance Group
Awards: IIA Illinois Young Agent of the Year
Why did you decide to start your own agency?
I decided to start my own agency because I realized, like everything else, the insurance industry is changing, and it is changing fast. Yet the owners of many agencies are understandably resistant to the change that needs to occur. I hear this from many agents. We must understand that the client’s needs are demanding change. Starting my own agency was hard because the agency I was leaving was a great place, but I needed to look long term.
How do you balance work and personal life?
In my opinion this is one area that can really determine how successful you will be in your business life. All things in nature and life are balanced. I have a family with two sons. The quality of the time I spend with them is more important that the quantity of time. When I work, I work. When they want to play, I play. Very rarely do I ever mix them.
What's a secret to your success?
Being involved in your state and national associations is a huge investment in your personal and business goals. This was another thing shared with me by my mentor and it has paid huge dividends. Participating in a learning, networking environment with enthusiastic young peers, as well as "tenured," wise agents, will greatly shorten a new agent’s learning curve.
Describe your agency model.
I have a mobile agency. I flipped the traditional model of an agency and instead of changing my business to fit the client, I search for clients who fit my business practices. I live in a town of 15,000, and I would have to perform my job differently to appease everybody. I may have to travel 100 to 200 miles for the clients I want to work with, but I’m going to find people who do business the way JDC Insurance does business. My mobile office is wherever my clients need me to be. I have a portable printer and scanner. I can pull over on the side of the road and issue certificates of insurance. I can conduct business and my clients have no idea I am sitting in a hotel in Washington, D.C. This saves me so much time and money.
What new technologies should young agents use to get a leg up in the industry?
Agents should implement real-time rating, quoting and servicing for fast, efficient and paperless service. Cloud communications allow you to travel and always be found, as well as having remote (cloud) access to information you need to help those who find you. Your office is always with you, if and when you want it to be. Also, blogging is the No. 1 way to be seen as a knowledgeable expert who knows how to help people.
What's your mantra for success?
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." I was told this early on in my insurance career by my mentor. This is a relationship business. Show people you care about them, their businesses and families and your prospects and clients will then listen to you. This is a great way to get around all the current objections about age and experience that young agents face.