Today I would like to discuss the insurance industry leaders and mentors who have helped with my own personal progress in the industry. The first person I want to talk about is a gentleman named Dan King who works for Travelers Insurance and teaches a personal lines course on agency development. If you represent Travelers Insurance, I highly recommend you ask your insurance rep for the information required to enroll in Dan King’s personal lines class. I personally feel it’s only just beneficial for personal lines, but for anyone within the insurance realm. The effect Dan has had on my personal growth in the insurance industry has been tremendous. Early in my career I took Dan King’s class and learned an immense amount of information regarding process, procedures and the everyday running of an insurance agency. What makes Dan an excellent mentor is his passion and love for the independent insurance agent. Dan is one of those guys who truly loves his work, and it really shows through his performance in his workshops. If you’re an insurance agent, you need to take the opportunity and attend Dan King’s workshop.
The second person who has had a significant influence on my insurance career is Nick San Filippo. Nick is the owner of American Insurance out of Clark, New Jersey. Nick is an insurance agent second, but a businessman first and foremost. His impact on my career is to think and act like a business person first, and then an insurance agent second. A very interesting story that I heard Nick talk about was back in 2010 when he was discussing his role as an agency owner and how his business decisions affect the families of each and every one of his employees. With great passion, he talked about the children of these employees and how it was so very important that he run a successful business so that he would never have to worry about laying anyone off and having to worry about the children of those employees suffering the financial backlash. Another interesting fact about Nick is that he is about 30 years my senior, yet has he mind of a 20-year-old when it comes to technology. Nick believes strongly in the investment of technology which can greatly improve his overall business, and he’s certainly unafraid to take chances. Nick is definitely someone you should be watching because you quickly agree with me that he is a leader and trendsetter within the insurance world.
The third person I would like to talk about today is Eric Hall, Executive Vice President of Rough Notes magazine. Eric has worked in the industry for over 30 years and in many different areas of the business, from the association side, the agency side, and now the magazine side. Eric brings is a vast wealth of knowledge to this industry that few others can duplicate. Not only is he a great friend, he is also a great mentor to me. Eric is very similar to my father in many ways in that he will not provide an answer to a question or situation without first thinking the whole process through. That trait is invaluable to me and has taught me an awful lot about not only of the insurance industry, but about life as well. Eric is the guy in the industry who has always challenged me to think outside the box, and an example of this is that he is one of the creators of Producer Online– one of the best programs that any agency could utilize. Producer Online is the largest database of insurance information in the world, and I cannot thank Eric enough for creating this wonderful vehicle of information that has helped my agency in so many ways. If you ever get a free moment, I highly recommend you to reach out to Eric if you are an ambassador of this industry because there aren’t very many people who know as much as he does and are willing to take the time to share that knowledge with you like he will.
The fourth person is Bob Mackoul of Mackoul Group/New Empire Group located on Long Island. Bob is the quiet mentor who has so much knowledge and expertise in the industry that I call him the ‘godfather of insurance.’ Bob always shakes his head when I call him the ‘godfather of insurance,’ but I have to say there are very few people who are as respected in this industry as Bob Mackoul. He has had a tremendous effect on my career because he always challenges me when I call him with a question, concern, or idea that I may have. Bob is the guy who brings out the process in me to make sure that I’m making the right decisions and what I’m planning on doing in the future. Roughly two years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a little time in Bob’s office and let me tell you, I have never seen or been around an agency owner who has led his team the way he has. It was amazing to see the respect his staff had for him. Bob is says only a few words and instead allows his actions to reveal the leader he truly is
The fifth and final person of discussion today is actually a group of individuals known as the Greenwich Group . The Greenwich Group is a collection of CEOs/insurance agency owners who gather together for one main purpose- to better each other in this industry. I’ve been blessed to be accepted into this group, and I have to say, it’s amazing to be around such influential agency owners who are at the top of the insurance world. This group comes together twice a year to share not only fantastic ideas, but also to share faults and failures that we have experienced. At the end the day, this group comes together for the betterment of each other and each other’s agencies. I would challenge any owner to get involved in a CEOs group that comes together for the same reason. If you really want a better your agency, you need to associate yourself with owners who are on top of the industry. A good friend of mine always says, “you are who you hang with.” Invest some time and money into your agency with a CEOs group.
In order to continue to grow and succeed in the insurance realm, you need mentors within the industry. I am very blessed to have had the opportunities to have the wonderful mentors who I have just discussed, and it’s because of them that I will continue to grow in this industry and become a better agency owner.