When I was 14, my father did just about the worst thing a parent can do to a child. It was the kind of thing folks talk about in psychoanalytic therapy sessions or on Oprah. That’s right — my dad made me work in his insurance agency.
I recall that one of my first jobs was to produce big mail merges for the usual reasons: offering quotes to prospects with expiration dates fast approaching, birthday cards to existing clients, and of course the yearly calendar. It’s safe to say that I’ve recovered from this traumatic childhood experience. I certainly wouldn’t be doing this job now if I hadn’t.
I understand now that the work I started out doing in my dad’s agency was important. Those mailings were a small sign to his clients that he cared about them. Hokey, sure, but what do we have in this world but the lasting relationships we form with others, whether on a personal or professional basis?
I hope this premiere issue of Insurance Journal Midwest is the beginning of just such a relationship. While Insurance Journal has been published since 1923, in this new edition we aim to give you the specialized regional content we think is lacking in other agent and broker publications.
In spite of all the federalization talk, this is still a business that varies greatly from state to state, region to region, dependent on the fickle fortune of the newest insurance commissioner or the latest natural catastrophe. In addition to covering the regulators, legislators, carriers, brokerages and agencies making news in the Midwest — that’s Ohio to Kansas, north of the Mason-Dixon line — we’ll offer cutting-edge coverage of the markets, from E&S to BOPs, workers’ comp to EPLI.
As any insurance pro will tell you, this business is about relationships. The subject of our cover story, Near North National Group owner Michael Segal, built the success of his Chicago-based insurance brokerage on the relationships he formed with politically powerful people.
Those same relationships may have cost him his business. He faces trial in federal court on charges that he embezzled more than $20 million from Near North’s premium trust fund over 10 years. Many speculate that regardless of the merits of the case against Segal, the feds aren’t after him, but the political friends who helped make him so rich.
Well, you can’t make me rich by reading this magazine (I wish!), but you can help me do my job better. If you’ve got a good story to share, please give me a call at my Chicago office, (773) 381-1572, or e-mail me anytime.
Thanks for reading!
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