A flexible environment "drives me to produce as much as I do," says Kenny Bakko, independent agent. "The low stress environment definitely motivates me to work harder and without that I would not be as successful as I am today."
Morris Insurance Group
Recently binged TV show: Tiger King
In your earbuds: Eric Church; Sam Hunt; Lee Bryce
Most used app: Slickdeals
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I started my career at a commercial real estate company and got into insurance through one of the tenants at the properties that we managed. A cousin of theirs owns an Allstate agency, so I started there. I ended up talking with Vince, an independent agent that insured all the properties for the real estate company. He convinced me to join the independent side. I was only selling personal lines insurance and I wanted to dive into commercial lines. The independent side gave me more opportunity.
I say it all the time, but I don’t think I would be where I am today without Vince. I don’t know anyone else who would have given me the opportunity or pushed me to work. It was nice that I was able to be very close to him, because I could always walk over to his office and ask a question. He was very willing to help me. I’m thankful for him, because I hadn’t had anyone in my life in a long time who actually wanted to see me succeed. And he still helps me today.
Our agency owner doesn’t expect us to be in the office every day. He gives us a lot of flexibility and lets us work at our own pace. That’s what drives me to produce as much as I do. The low stress environment definitely motivates me to work harder and without that I would not be as successful as I am today.
The agency owner also said, “In the future, if you have a family, if there’s a day you want to take off just to spend time with the kids, you can work from home or you can leave early.” That’s what drew me in, because it’s the balance that I want. Growing up, my dad worked two jobs to keep a roof over our heads. My siblings and I hardly saw him, and I want to spend time with my kids in the future.
A lot is going to start being done remotely. The in-person appointments will probably transition into videoconference appointments. Most people want things done faster nowadays, so technology will be used a lot more.
Will Jones is IA managing editor.
This interview is the fourth in a series that profiles 10 millennials in the independent insurance industry, based on Independent Agent magazine’s July cover story.