We’re celebrating insurance agency owners for International Women’s Day
- Sunday March 8 is International Women’s Day. We’re celebrating women insurance leaders all month.
- Shabana Moloo, first up, is a Core Commercial producer and owner/manager of US#1 Insurance in Frisco, Texas.
- She attributes her success to being a hands-on agent for her clients.
International Women’s Day is Sunday, March 8, so for the entire month of March, we’re celebrating women insurance leaders. First up: Shabana Moloo, owner/manager of US#1 Insurance in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
“Shabana is an insurance tornado in her area. She gets things done, and her clients love her for it,” says Jill Johnson, Arrowhead’s Core Commercial Texas underwriter.
Moloo got her first taste in insurance as a service manager at a Georgia BMW dealership, working with numerous claims and insurance companies. She went on to purchase and run several Liberty Income Tax offices in Georgia. She continued to dabble in insurance: a friend owned an insurance agency and she helped in the office fairly often. At the same time, she began selling life insurance through TransAmerica.
“I was one of their top salespeople and trained 200 other life insurance agents,” she recalls.
When she and her husband moved from Georgia to Texas, Moloo called upon her 14 years of experience in the insurance and financial industries and started US#! Insurance Agency from the ground up.
“I’ve always been in the service industry, and insurance was always on my radar. I used to love (and still do) reading articles about insurance, so the move into this industry came naturally for me,” Moloo explained.
“With a strong background in life insurance and a little experience in P&C, I was able to convince carriers to contract with me to write their commercial lines. My sweet spot? Gas stations, hotels, restaurants and landlord policies.”
When business grew to be too much for one person to handle, she recruited two of her best friends. “They knew nothing about the industry, so I trained them from the ground up, calling on my earlier days of training the 200 life insurance agents.”
We chatted on the phone with Shabana a couple of weeks ago, asking her about being an agency owner – and a woman.
How have you found being a female agency owner a benefit?
Because I’m outgoing and friendly – so my clients say – I’m easy to talk to. I listen carefully. My success has been because I focus on quality; I shop around every year. I am basically a hands-on clients’ agent.
How, at times, has it made business more difficult?
At times I hit up against a good ol’ boy system. Sometimes clients would rather talk with a man. But I’ve learned to handle it well. I do my homework – sometimes spending hours – before I meet with a client. If they have questions or are not sure I’m offering the best solution, I’m prepared with back-up. Facts, figures, data and materials, to make my case. I try to strengthen their comfort level that I know what I’m doing. Mostly they’re quite welcoming once they hear my response.
What advice would you give to other women agency owners?
Meet with your clients personally. Show them confidence. Another key to my success is customer service: answering all calls within 12 hours is one of my hard-and-fast rules.
Also, do your homework ahead of time so that you know their industry, their place in the market and their specific needs. I recently wrote a client who earns nearly $10 million a year. I knew very little about his business or his industry, so I spent six hours researching what he does. That clued me in on what coverages he needed. Many of those coverages he hadn’t thought of. I was able to sell the entire proposal to him.
What made you decide to work with Arrowhead’s Core Commercial?
I first learned about Arrowhead at a convention, when I met one of your Texas marketing reps, Rich Dern. My underwriter, Jill, makes the process very easy. She’s willing to dig in and help me understand, walking me through the whole process to get the quotes I need. She’s the best!
What do you do different from your peers?
We shop from all carriers at every renewal to ensure the most competitive rates. And our personal customer service goal? To treat each client and their policy as if it were our own.
What misconceptions do clients often have about your job?
Well, many clients think that we set the premiums, and somehow we can wave a magic wand to change the premiums. Others simply think that I own the carriers, so they give lengthy arguments as to why certain ways of underwriting are unfair. I can only respond that I understand, I see their point of view, but this particular carrier won’t budge. Let’s either try another carrier or work to alleviate some risks.
What’s the worst part of being an agency owner and how do you deal with it?
At the risk of being a bit cheesy, if you love what you do then there’s nothing that will seem like a “worst part.” The only other thing I can think of is that some of the software dealing with personal lines could be improved.
What’s the most enjoyable part of the job?
My staff is the most enjoyable part of my office. Then comes the excitement of shopping with different carriers for different types of risks and winning the deal!
This is a rewarding profession. I get satisfaction knowing that my client is well secured. There is lot to learn in this field; hence there is never a dull moment.
Throughout March, we’re interviewing women agency owners and other key leaders to celebrate International Women’s Day. Watch for next week’s blogpost on another woman leader.