"My dad is still definitely my biggest motivator," says Bruce Messier, independent agent. "He's 90 years old now and he still comes to work. I do my best to ingest all the knowledge and experience he has to offer."
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Currently streaming: Bobby Flay's cooking shows
In your earbuds: The Insurance Guys, but at two times the speed to get it in on a short commute
Preferred social media: None
What's changed over the last five years?
I purchased a personal lines agency. I was also appointed to the Rhode Island Governor's Insurance Council. I've been working with our state association along with the council to help check out new laws being proposed and trying to make sure the insurance market stays competitive.
In August 2019, I got married, so that was a big change! My wife is originally from Austria, and she came here for her master's degree and to play hockey. She still plays professionally for the National Women's Hockey League. I get to watch her play a bunch and it's good to grow the game of women's hockey.
Last time we talked, you said your dad's example and dedication was one of your big motivators. How have you seen that in the past five years?
My dad is still definitely my biggest motivator. He's 90 years old now and he still comes to work. I do my best to ingest all the knowledge and experience he has to offer. He's just an invaluable resource to not only the agency but to our state and industry. With that being said, I've taken over a lot of the operational roles in our agency now and am the decisionmaker moving forward—so a bit more pressure since the last time I talked with you guys!
Five years ago, you saw perpetuation as one of the industry's biggest challenges. Do you still believe that's an obstacle?
Unfortunately, I still do. Attracting young talent is very difficult, especially in our state since it's so small. I think we can do a better job of getting an insurance program into the educational system. On the flip side of not having young talent, all the people aging out means that the whole merger & acquisition game is strong right now. A lot of people don't have a perpetuation plan and are looking to sell out. If you can buy an agency at the right price, it's a great way to grow your business.
Advice for Gen Z?
Read. Not just insurance publications, but also the policies that you're selling. It's what we sell—you should know it like the back of your hand. If you understand the policy, it's so much easier to sell and fill gaps and poke holes and offer more coverage.
Educating the customer?
Realistically, when you're talking to a prospect about auto, homeowners, or renters, they know nothing about it. That's okay, because we're here to help them understand. But with the national push on price, price, price, sometimes you're not even given the time to delve into what is and what is not covered in the policy.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.