Kurt Sieve has been a Clovis-based State Farm Insurance agent since 2014 and Central Valley resident since 1970. Representing State Farm since 1991, initially as an agent in Sanger and an agency manager in California and Florida, he is a second generation State Farm agent.
Sieve’s area of expertise includes professional, financial services and retirement planning. His agency is A+ rated and accredited with the Better Business Bureau of Central California. Sieve is a 1983 graduate of Sanger High and 1987 UC Davis graduate with a degree in computer science and engineering. An alumni of Leadership Fresno — class 11 in 1995. Sieve is also a member of several civic organizations including Clovis Chamber of Commerce where he serves as an ambassador and board member, Fresno chamber of commerce member, board member of the Clovis North Bronco Foundation and member of the Rotary Club of Clovis. He is also a member of the Fresno Society of Financial Service Professionals and member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
Q (Sheldon Baker): How did you get started in the insurance industry?
A (Kurt Sieve): My father started as a State Farm agent in 1974 is still an agent in Sanger. As a child, I grew up in the insurance environment. I appreciated the work that my father was doing but wasn’t sure it was for me. After completing an computer engineering degree in Davis, I had a decision to make. I could pursue a corporate career in the big city or return to my roots and help people in the Central Valley. I know computers are valuable in our lives, but they don’t compare to impacting a person’s life with proper education and protection.
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Q: Have you always been based in Clovis?
A: I originally began my career as a State Farm agent in Sanger. After a few years of success, State Farm asked me to join the Agency Management team. After several moves from California to Florida and back, I chose to re-establish my roots in the Central Valley. Looking at the area, I found there was a lack of State Farm presence in the north Clovis area. That’s why I chose to develop a team and bring my experience to an office at Willow and Nees near Trader Joe’s and Save Mart.
Q: Do you specialize in certain types of insurance policies?
A: State Farm is the largest provider of home, life and auto insurance in the United States. My office clearly provides the personal insurance that people in Clovis expect from State Farm. My focus has always been on helping people build and protect their financial futures. Whether it’s providing a business owner with proper liability protection and a solid retirement program or working with a young family to secure a mortgage on a new home and put some money away for their children’s education, I can be there to help things go right and help leave a positive legacy.
Q: Has the insurance industry changed since you became an agent? How so?
A: Clearly, technology is making a difference in terms of access to information and communication. But, I’m happy that the thing that drew me to insurance remains the same. It’s about relationships. Having a local agent and team to turn to when things get rough is still important to most people. We provide a local contact and a personalized approach to our interactions that a computer or phone cannot. We are there for both the positive and difficult times in a person’s life, and that makes a difference.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever given your clients?
A: Start early and stay the course. Most aspects of planning require time and commitment. On the insurance side, most protection gets more expensive as you get older. Starting early to save and secure protection will make a huge difference. Early in my career, I worked with a client to begin a systematic savings and life insurance plan at age 25. At 50, they now have access to money to do the things they want to do and have protection for their family when the time comes.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing business leaders today?
A: Getting information to the consumer seems to be the biggest difficulty for most businesses. With so many messages bombarding people, there seems to be less actual information being shared. This is why dealing with a local business is so important. For one, your money stays in our community to support employees, schools, programs etc. Also, you have a trusted resource to turn to for advice and quality information. This is why I focus my efforts on community involvement, from Clovis Rotary to charitable causes to the local Chambers of Commerce, I do what I can to make a difference locally.
Q: Is there one thing do you want to accomplish by the end of 2017?
A: Help 365 families. Our goal as a team is to help educate and develop life plans for one new family each day. Through these personalized efforts we can make a lasting, positive impact on the Valley.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: My activities focus on my family and their interests, that means many band performances as well as dance and cheer activities throughout the years. Personally, I enjoy giving back. My membership with Clovis Rotary allows me to work with the Buchanan High School Interact Club where I help students experience the value of servant leadership and giving back to the community.
Sheldon C. Baker is chief executive officer for Clovis-based Baker Dillon Group and has created numerous brand marketing and public relations campaigns for companies and brands. For Q&A interview consideration e-mail Sheldon at SBaker@BakerDillon.com.