Houston became part of the family business after finishing school in 1966. Now the principal of the agency, Houston Insurance continues to be family-owned and is taking care of its client like they are part of the family too.
David J. Houston Jr
After his father's death in 1966, David J. Houston joined the family business while he was still a student at Boston College. Now the senior member of the firm, Houston says “we remain committed to helping our clients navigate their insurance needs, as if they are part of our family."
“Working in the family business is wonderful, especially as so few businesses even get to the second generation," Houston says. “Our agency started in 1894; we are now in our fourth generation and both my daughters, Robyn and Marci, work in the agency. It's just terrific."
Local Agency Challenges?
Businesses used to be very localized. We knew the people in the area, their families and their history. With online communication the norm, we do not see our clients nearly as often and that hometown feeling has somewhat gone away. On the other hand, we now have clients all over Massachusetts and other states.
Biggest Change from When You First Started?
Interaction with insurance companies. The digital age has sped everything up. We used to rate policies by hand, type up the applications and letters and put them in the mail. A week or so later, you might get a telephone call or letter from the underwriter. Today, we do most things online. The speed of transactions with the companies is almost instantaneous.
Advice for Another Agent?
Take the courses offered to you by your agent's associations. I'm a certified insurance counselor, as is one of my daughters. My other daughter is a certified insurance service representative and of course and we are all licensed. Education gives you the advantage.
Agent education should be focused on analyzing policies to find the gaps that other people don't know about, whether it's the client or other agents. Slow down, take your time and make sure that you're well-educated in whatever line of business you're discussing. Continue to get education in your field, whether it's an insurance certificate or another designation. Really drive yourself to the get the best continuing education so you can continue to be the best advisor.
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.