College: Michigan State University, 2000
Organizations: Multiple chambers of commerce, Young Agents Council, Michigan Assn. of Insurance Agents
Balancing time spent on state association work, as chair of Michigan’s Young Agent Council, producing new business, maintaining renewals and adjusting to life with an amazing new baby. I don’t know how I handled it, but it all seemed to work out. I guess when I noticed one area was suffering, I gave it more time.
Agencies have three legs that keep them up and operating; think of a three-legged stool. One leg is their clients and community, the other their carriers, the third their employees. If you lose any of the three, you are in trouble. So how do you keep young talent? Know what motivates your employee. Do what you can to take care of your employee and be flexible. If they want to earn more money, offer ways for that to occur. Do they want to leave at 3 p.m. to pick up kids from school? Work with your employees to help satisfy their needs. As a result you develop long-term employees, who work harder and are more productive.
Interestingly enough, my mother was an agent, and my grandfather. I work in a family agency, but I’m unrelated and never worked with the same company as my mother and grandfather. I do work with my wife, who is a CSR at Hartland Agency. It actually works very well. Hartland has four married couples that work together. My wife and I will discuss work at home, but we don’t feel overwhelmed by it. It also is nice that we can attend industry events together. It’s much easier then when we worked for competing agencies!
When I first started as a producer at another agency, one of the owners mentored me by helping to hone my prospecting skills. David Walker (one of my agency’s principals) is my mentor now and he is a guru of insurance. He’s selling, managing the agency, teaching, doing expert witness work and serving previously in the state association’s leadership and now for IIABA.
It was the only career that presented itself as an option to me when I was closing my trucking company, and so I thought, why not? I don’t have anything else to do.