Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Producer Profiles: Meet Your Peers Vol. II

Agents discuss life circumstances that led them to insurance careers and reveal their mantras for success.

Becoming an insurance agent can be a life-changing event for some, especially when the opportunity turns into a calling. The following five producers may have come into the business for different reasons, but they’re each staying in the industry for the same: to improve the lives of others.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Vol. I.

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Susan Bauman, agent
Western Risk Insurance

Las Vegas, Nev.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?

Formerly, I was the publisher of a multi-housing publication and sat on the local apartment association board. This is where I met Carrol & Perry Noonan, the principals of Western Risk Insurance. I left my publisher position to have child and then when wanting to return to work, Perry offered me to come to Western Risk Insurance as the Vice President of Marketing. It has been an exciting and adventerous career change.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?

The industry is facinating. I am never board and learn something every day. No matter what your interests are, there is a role in the insurance industry that will suite most people.

What's your favorite client success story?

One of our top clients had been with another broker and it took us about 2 years to earn its interest in allowing us to review its policies and business needs. Once we did, we earned all of its business and have been partnered with that client for 5 years now.

What career advice would you give new agents? Do you have a mantra for success?

We are here to help solve problems. Most peple do not understand and do not want to understand insurance. It is our job to learn about them and advise them on best ways to protect their assets.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?

Jacqueline Kennedy, She always presented herself as a polished person. She was devoted to her family.

What are your hobbies? What do you most enjoy doing outside the office?

I find enjoyment by spending time with family and friends. I enjoy hiking and traveling.

Ted Kluemper, Jr.
Ted Kluemper Insurance Agency
Huntington, W. Va.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?

In high school. My dad started the agency in 1935. He made me go to college before I could join the agency.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?

Explaining a difficult subject to someone, and being there for my customers when they have claims to make a hard time a little easier.

What's your favorite client success story?

A young couple walked into the agency and said they wanted to buy a tenant's policy. I said, "I'm sorry, I sold my last policy." They very nicely said, "Thank you," and started to walk out. I had to eat crow and tell them I was just kidding. They are both professionals today, and have been with agency for more than 40 years. We still laugh about my statement.

What career advice would you give new agents? Do you have a mantra for success?

Take as many courses in insurance as possible. If you have the opportunity, go to work for an insurance company and learn the other side; it really helps. Be honest or it will come back to bite you.

What career would you want if you weren't an insurance agent?

Exclusive paper saleman to large company or to the government. They sure use a lot of it.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?

Jesus Christ. He watches over me and I sure need help.

What are your hobbies? What do you most enjoy doing outside of the office?

Working out every morning and playing golf.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Vol. I.

Charles Raymond
Brown & Brown Private Client Group
Newark, Del.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?

I entered the insurance industry in 1993 as a necessity because I was being laid off from my position at a credit card company. I started as an assistant to a producer in a start up operation and over time, decided that it was a very exciting field to be in because of the various issues involved in the insurance and legal arenas.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?

I really enjoy providing the asset protection for my clients via a well-crafted personal insurance program. It makes me feel good knowing my clients' financial well-being is being protected from unforseen circumstances.

What's your favorite client success story?

I have a very high-end client who had a complete 'jigsaw' puzzle for his coverages in terms of multiple agents, multiple carriers, and no coordination between any of them. I was successful in providing a full personal insurance program with one carrier and one point of contact. He was very pleased with the outcome and I've been able to provide additional coverages for him as he requests them.

What career advice would you give new agents? Do you have a mantra for success?

In the insurance business, you need to take care of the details, and the accounts will take care of themselves. If you're not good with the paperwork, then you're doing your client (and your agency) a disservice because overlooking a detail could cause a loss to be uninsured and expose you to litigation from the client.

What career would you want if you weren't an insurance agent?

I probably would have liked to have been a writer, as I like to create characters on paper and bring them to life in fictional stories.

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?

I admire the late President Ronald Reagan because of his sense of duty to our country and how he could relate to the common man back in the 1980s when I was in my 20s.

What are your hobbies? What do you most enjoy doing outside the office?

I enjoy writing fictional stories as well as reading history novels.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Vol. I.

Ben Guttman
West Insurance Group
Baltimore, Md.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?

I was always interested in marketing and helping people. Insurance is an industry that provides me the opportunity to do both on a daily basis. I decided to go into insurance when my cousin bought an agency and was looking for team members.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?

That there is never a dull moment. I am always either prospecting, helping a customer, helping someone in the office, or out networking and meeting people.

What's your favorite client success story?

Anytime I can educate customers and help them understand their policies is a success. My favorite would have to be a customer who had his fence damaged by someone with a different company. They said he could file a claim against them, but the adjuster never showed. I spent weeks trying to track down their adjuster and get him his check. In the end, I got him everything he deserved, and earned his respect for giving him the attention I feel all my clients deserve.

What career advice would you give new agents? Do you have a mantra for success?

The more you focus on helping the customer the more willing they will be to buy from you. The more you push the more they think you just want their money. I guess my mantra would be "Treat people the way you want to be treated, and they'll take care of you, too."

What career would you want if you weren't an insurance agent?

I would definitely be a professional musician (I do some gigs on the side).

What public figure (past or present) do you most admire, and why?

Itzhak Perlman. He became a world class violinist despite his polio. His vision and ability to overcome all obstacles in pursuit of his dream is truly inspiring.

What are your hobbies? What do you most enjoy doing outside the office?

Music, reading, basketball, couponing, and most importantly, spending time with my wife!

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Vol. I.

Lorraine Marcano
Gentry Insurance Agency Inc.
Apopka, Fla.

How and when did you decide that an insurance career was for you?

I was in a car accident in my early 20s, and my agent, who had been my parents' agent for more than 20 years, told me that because I only carried liability coverage that there was nothing he could do to help me to file a claim against the person who hit my car. I thought, "How could that be, you're my agent, aren't you supposed to help me?" I contacted several other agents who were recommend to me and they gave me advice on how to file a claim against the other person's insurance and what to do to make sure that I was prepared by having my documents, receipts and police report. This was information that my agent should have been helping me with. After that it sort of snowballed with other people asking me what to do for their claims. After my daughter was born, I had the opportunity to work with a brand new insurance office in my area, and that began my career.

What do you love most about being an insurance agent?

I love working one-on-one with my clients. Helping them to secure the best coverage at the lowest cost makes me feel great.

What's your favorite client success story?

We had a client whose mother passed away out of state. While at the funeral service, he received a call from a neighbor that his house was on fire and the fire dept. was on site. His home burnt down to the ground. We worked with the adjuster from day one to make sure that we were able to ease the way during this awful time. Because they had several pets and lived in a rural area, the insured did not want to relocate while things were being settled. He wanted to remain on his property. We were able to work with the carrier adjuster to have a mobile home dropped on site just a few yards from the burned house, we worked with the adjuster to make sure that we were able to get the utilities turned on and local officials to approve dropping the mobile home on their property. It took many calls but we got them taken care of in way that worked for them, and 11 months later they have a brand new house on the same spot.

What career advice would you give new agents? Do you have a mantra for success?

I tell my clients that my job is not to sell them insurance, my job is to educate them about the coverage available to them and help them to make an informed decision regarding the protection of their assets.

What career would you want if you weren't an insurance agent?

At this point in my life, I could not imagine doing anything other than working in the insurance industry!

What are your hobbies? What do you most enjoy doing outside the office?

I love to read for pleasure and take family day trips.

Want to share your own insurance story? Click here to tell us about your life as a successful agent. For more producer profiles, see Vol. I.

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