How to start a company
Compass Insurance Agency is the insurance company for the New York City area.
They’ve been around since the early 90s and they specialize in life insurance, personal injuries, property insurance, and life insurance.
I recently asked the agency’s co-founder, Adam Zimkin, about his company’s history and what they can teach us about starting your own insurance business.
[Watch the video below to learn more.]1.
Where did you start?
I think my first job was at a large insurance company, but I think it was actually at a local health insurance company.
I was a receptionist there, so I guess it was a combination of both.
We had a very small insurance business in my city.
We would hire an agent and then just call them.
And we’d say, “How much do you need to pay?”
And they would tell us what the premiums were.
So I think that’s probably when I started.
I think when we first started, it was in the early 2000s.
I remember it was the worst of the financial crisis.
I mean, the industry was really in shambles.
And I was working in finance and I was kind of in charge of the company’s finances.
I got a call, and it was this young guy who was really really into the whole life insurance business and this guy called up and said, “Hey, can we come up to your office and we’ll have some help with your business?”
And I thought, “Oh, my God, this is insane!”
But we did have a few people from other companies call up.
And he’s a very smart guy, so we kind of set the table and then he went off and started his own company.
And then we continued to work with other companies that had similar needs, and we were always hiring people and doing business with them.2.
What were some of the most common issues you had to deal with as an insurance agent?
First and foremost, we had a lot of questions about things like credit card applications.
So we had people ask questions like, “What’s my credit score?”
“What does my insurance company need?”
And we had to do everything we could to answer these questions.
So, when I worked in finance, I would go to a financial firm and they would ask me questions like that.
I would get so frustrated and I would say, I’m sorry, I don’t have the answers.
I don, I can’t do that.
So they would be like, You know what, you’ve got a problem.
You’ve got some other issues.
And if you do have the right answers, you can fix them.
That was a problem for us.3.
Did you have to have a certain level of experience with life insurance?
I started in my early 30s.
But when I was in my 20s, I was probably the only guy that ever worked in the life insurance industry.
So there was always that challenge.
I definitely have a lot to learn and I think I have a great group of people who are super-nice and super-knowledgeable, but they were very demanding.
They were always asking me the same questions over and over again, and they were always right.4.
Did your experience as a manager influence your experience on the business side?
It certainly was a major part of it.
When you have a really high-stress job, it can be a little overwhelming.
So when I had the responsibility to manage the people that worked for me, it certainly helped.
I’ve worked at other insurance companies, but when I came to Compass, it definitely was an absolute blast to work there.
And it was just a lot more of a business.5.
How did you grow Compass Insurance?
I started the company in 1999, and I started it at a very early stage in my career.
So the whole idea was, when you’re a young person, and you don’t really know anything about insurance, you just sort of start up and you’re doing a lot and you can get some experience and then you start getting into the business.
And my background in finance helped me a lot, but also the knowledge and the experience and the connections with people.
So it was very much an engineering project.6.
How many people have worked for you?
There are now around 30 people that work for us in the New Jersey area.
The majority of us are in our mid-40s.
Most of them are people that were in the industry as long as 10 to 20 years ago, and a few of them have been around for years.
There are a lot people who have been here a long time.
And a few others have been in the business for as long.7.
What is your overall goal with Compass Insurance Company?
Our goal is to help people, not just people who come into our office.
We’re looking for people that have experience in the insurance industry, and people that are passionate about the insurance