Frank Pingelski credits his military career with developing his philosophy for serving insurance clients. Contingency planning for hazardous operations in the army “correlates a lot to the risk management side of insurance," he says.
Tooher-Ferraris Insurance Group
An army veteran, Pingelski served six years as an infantry officer with the Ranger Training Brigade and the 82nd Airborne Division. After transitioning out of the military and working for a defense contractor, he began searching for a career he could see himself growing into in the long-term. With multiple people he looked up to involved in and happy with their insurance careers, Pingelski pursued the insurance track and landed a job at Tooher-Ferraris, a brokerage owned by his wife's family.
Pingelski credits his military career with developing his philosophy for serving insurance clients. Contingency planning for hazardous operations in the army “correlates a lot to the risk management side of insurance," he says. “How do you prevent claims from happening in the first place?"
Biggest industry challenges?
Most people don't ever have a claim, so their experience is limited to the buying and selling of the policy. That's why we get such a focus on price and commoditization. The toughest part is guiding people over the mental hurdle and helping them understand that there are specialized coverages and programs for different niches. They should be focused on not just price but also what the policy covers and, more importantly, doesn't cover.
Advice for other agents?
To pass on advice I got early in my career: become more than just a policy sales channel. Become a trusted advisor. If you've done your job successfully, clients are calling you about areas not even strictly policy-related, because you've established that position of trust by demonstrating your experience or knowledge.
Connecticut has a large condominium market. Serving that niche through insurance, we work with professional associations to educate and make people more aware of the importance of solid coverage. I was recently elected president-elect for the Connecticut chapter of the Community Associations Institute.
Favorite thing about working in insurance?
We do a lot of work rehabilitating accounts with multiple claims. Those customers tend to appreciate the value-added services, and it's more focused on risk management, improving history, and potentially saving premium dollars down the road.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.
Photo by Donna Callighan