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Declaration of Independents: Jonathan Lugo

A two-week internship changed the trajectory of Lugo's life. At 22, he has found his strengths lay in homing in on a niche and becoming an expert in it.
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07 DoI Replace Resized.jpgJonathan Lugo


FirmSecured powered by Veritas Risk Management

Johnson City, Tennessee 

When Jonathan Lugo was 18 years old he didn't necessarily want to go into insurance. But a two-week internship with Veritas Risk Management during 2020 changed the trajectory of his life! At 22, mentored by Andrew Darlington, president of the agency, Lugo has found his strengths lay in homing in on a niche and becoming an expert in it.

After graduating from college, Lugo was encouraged to become a full-time producer at the agency and can now add being one of the founders of the FirmSecured program, a real estate insurance program, to his name.

“Veritas is allowing me to do this—starting my own brand within the agency for a specific niche," Lugo says. “Some days it feels like I have my own business."

What's the FirmSecured program?

We help real estate agencies in 30-plus states with their errors & omissions, cyber and general liability coverage. There was a huge need for experts in that space. Some of the coverages are very specialized on those policies, so we decided to grow our business from just a few accounts by putting all of my time and energy into that.

Hopes for the future?

My hope is to grow the book of business, grow the program and eventually hire people, such as an account manager and more producers. I've talked to our agency owner about that and he's been fantastic in letting the two brands work together. It's a win-win for all of us.

Challenges in the hard market?

The commoditization of insurance where people think it's apples to apples. You're just comparing quotes and finding a cheap rate. Once you start going down that road, it's a race to the bottom. 

Favorite thing about being a specialist?

Being able to feel like I know what clients need and see the problems before they do. That's just one of the reasons I love specialization. All a client has to say is the name of the carrier and I can immediately identify if they might have a coverage gap or an exclusion, such as selling properties that the client has an ownership interest in, that we will need to talk about.

I try to make it understandable, but then also try to keep learning, too. Reading policies has been huge for me to be able to do that, so I can break down comparisons of what clients have and what they need. I enjoy doing that.

Most important aspect of providing coverage?

One of the things I'm working on is focusing on quality, offering a good product and selling based on those benefits and not just price alone. That's been a huge push for me. Also, trying to find good wholesalers, brokers and underwriters who are on the same page and then going out and looking for the clients who are interested in that quality product.

If we just present cheap quotes, the industry would become a technology-only industry at that point. For some home and auto insurance that could be fine, but for these business insurances that are very complicated, it's a dangerous direction to go in.

How attending a Young Agents Committee conference furthered your career?

I met David Carothers, principal, Florida Risk Partners at a Young Agents conference and I was on the Protégé competition that he put out. That competition was super influential in the direction that I went in my career—it's where I came up with all of my business ideas. And once that was over, I just took the business plans and stuck with it as much as I could.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

Thursday, February 1, 2024
Commercial Lines
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