John E. Horstmann jumped right into the life insurance business fresh out of college in 1958. His career choice transformed into a family business when his daughter and son joined the company later on. The three share how they continue to build one of the top agencies of its kind nationwide.
What's the nature of your business?
We are an executive and employee benefit company. We see ourselves as a team of specialists that work closely with CPAs (certified public accountants) and attorneys to solve our individual clients' and our business clients' needs whether it be estate planning or employee benefit planning.
What's the history of your business?
: Upon graduation from Fresno State in 1958 I started with New York Life Insurance Co. as a salesman and then the business grew over the years.
John H.: It started off in the life insurance side; as his (John E.) clients' needs developed and expanded, our business grew along with those of our clients.
What are your biggest rewards?
Being there for each other and then also passing that on to our staff. Our staff is an extension of our family and we want to provide that kind of environment for them.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest recent challenge is right now what we're doing with the health-care reform and with the new Affordable Care Act, pivoting into an entirely new different health-care instruction. And helping our employer clients and individuals understand what's happening. It's changing so rapidly it's very important for us to be on top of everything.
What makes you stand out from the competition?
We are affiliated with national organizations that nobody else is here in the Valley. It allows us to keep our local small-business feel but it gives us a national presence. We're part of the Nautilus Group, an organization through the New York Life Insurance Company of the top 150 New York Life producers nationwide and we're also a part of United Benefit Advisors, which is the top 140 executive benefit agencies in the United States.
What is your philosophy on customer service?
We are not an 800 number. If our clients need help, we are there to help them.
What is the secret for staying in business for so long?
Honesty and integrity. I don't know how many times I've said: Whatever I say and do today, would I have a problem seeing it on the front page of The Fresno Bee tomorrow? If I have a problem, I'm doing something wrong.
Horstmann Financial & Insurance Services
Owners: John E. Horstmann, John H. Horstmann and Katherine Horstmann Huebert
Location: 205 E. River Park Circle, Suite 202
Phone: (559) 447-3965
Annual sales: $1.8 million
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