Before I worked as an insurance agent for over 20 years and went on to found Hometown Quotes, I mentored children and young adults in my community. I come from a long line of teachers and community leaders, and I love connecting people with ideas. That’s one of the reasons I became an insurance agent. For me, it’s all about getting people what they need, helping them out along the way.
When I first started, I had that “deer in the headlights” feeling I’d learned to recognize on my students’ faces when they were confused. I was all green as far as the industry. I pounded the pavement, dialed the phone, but new customers were hard to come by. Newspapers and lists didn’t always work. The Yellow Pages were expensive and, just like today, I couldn’t write to the whole universe. And the call centers were no help. Anytime I’d have a question, I’d be told, “Next customer.” Plus, there was more demand for insurance leads than what was being generated. I thought, we agents deserve more than the 800-number approach, and I can do better!
I partnered with other insurance agents and hired my first employee, Elaine, who moved her desk into the spare room above my garage in 2005. My priority was building valuable relationships with my clients, so I started with my employees. This ensured Hometown Quotes would have a foundation of trust and teamwork that could extend into our partnerships with agents and beyond us to their own clients, as well. At Hometown, we all have a deep understanding of the insurance lead business and work closely together to achieve the same goal: honest, trusted quality as the standard. By 2006, Hometown Quotes had to move office spaces several times, because the calls poured in. It was amazing to watch the potential of our idea become a reality, like closing a lead, only I knew we were helping agents close thousands of insurance leads and all of them quality.
Still, the big-box internet leads industry took a turn for the worst, selling people aged, incentivized and recycled leads. I saw how the industry was changing and understood I needed to be creative and take action quickly to meet the needs of Hometown’s agents. I met with Jon Kelly and Matt Macchia, both innovative, insurance-technology experts, and quickly realized a merger would absolutely make Hometown Quotes the kind of company I’ve always wanted to be—the best in the business! Together, we work hand-in-hand, their expertise dovetailing with mine, to provide agents the highest quality, self-generated insurance leads service in the country. But no matter how large we’ve grown or how many agents and customers we’re able to reach, this is still my shop. I still answer my own phone. I’ll always be the guy pacing in front of my desk, coming up with new ways to do it better and make it right.