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Agency Nation Meets: Peter van Aartrijk

In a new monthly column, get to know Peter van Aartrijk, principal of Aartrijk and all-round insurance industry icon.
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agency nation meets: peter van aartrijk

Get to know the individuals that ignite the insurance industry as they answer our icebreaker questions. 

Peter van Aartrijk founded Fairfax, Virginia-based, Aartrijk ( in 1999. The firm provides branding services exclusively for insurance industry partners. For 40 years, van Aartrijk has worked with carriers, agents, wholesalers, tech firms and other industry organizations. He started his career as a newspaper reporter and later served as vice president of communications for the Big “I." Earlier this year, van Aartrijk's achievements were recognized by the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association with the Icon Award.

Pete, thanks for joining us. We're not in a bar right now, but if we were, what do you normally order?


Same here, except we normally have a double. This is virtual, so we can't buy you a coffee either, but how do you take your caffeine?

The boldest of bold coffee you have. Just black, please. And it's a large, not a venti.

Well, now the drinks are ordered. Onto the important questions that only Agency Nation can ask: Where would you go during a zombie apocalypse?

We already have plans to head to a place owned by some good family friends. It is hard to explain, but imagine a perfectly round house made out of concrete that sits on 85 acres in the country out in Rappahannock County in Virginia. It has all supplies, including guns and ammo to shoot the zombies.

Let's say you somehow survive the apocalypse. What one piece of advice would you give to your great grandchildren?

 Travel. Go out and see the world. “The more I see, the less I know," as the saying goes.

So, what is your dream vacation?

Argentina to go fly fishing and drink malbec.

We're sensing a theme here ... let's change the subject. What is the moment that you realized you were an adult? 

 May 1982, when I walked into AM Best as an entry-level editor. Corporate world, baby!

A lot has changed in the world of work since then, obviously, but what is one productivity tool you couldn't live without?

 Pen and paper.

Old school. So, if you could travel back in time to see a band play live, who would it be?

I would have loved to have seen Peter Frampton on tour in summer 1975, the concerts that led to the January 1976 release of “Frampton Comes Alive," one of my top 10 albums. The Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco must have been quite the scene for that particular show, based on what you can hear from the crowd. Firecrackers going off. Bongs being passed. And people not truly understanding the magnitude of what they were witnessing—musical lightning in a bottle.

Aren't live albums for artists who've run out of ideas, though?

 Like writers who do Q&As?

Ouch. Moving on, what's the best phrase or slang people use in your hometown or family? 


Thanks, we will. So, what's your biggest pet peeve?

People who are a***holes. They must be avoided in life and business at all cost!

We'll take that advice. Last question: What is something you're looking forward to? 

Tomorrow. Like my late father-in-law, who was an independent agent, used to say, “I can't wait until tomorrow; I get better lookin' every day!"

This is a new monthly column for Independent Agent magazine and To be featured, email

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Sales & Marketing