It’s time for our next Local Business Spotlight and this time we are excited to be featuring our friend Ken Weikum of The Weikum Group. Ken has worked in the insurance industry for more than a decade and used his many years of experience to build a business that makes insurance simple and accessible for his clients. Keep reading to learn about his experience starting and growing his business.
|Q: What is the name of your business and when did you get started?|
My name is Kenneth Weikum and I am the principal agent of The Weikum Group. Before opening the agency, I spent 10 years handling claims from auto adjusting, subrogation, and catastrophic property adjustment. I volunteered to go in after catastrophes, to deal with the tears, to face their fears with them, and to deliver on the promise that they have been paying into. Yet, as an adjuster, you can only do so much, and it only comes to pass if the worst happens.
Therefore, I opened The Weikum Group to be in the business of helping people. As an Agent, I can insure that each one of my clients has the right policy and is matched with the right company. That way my clients do not have to worry if the policy they bought online is going to cover them or not.
Q: Tell us about your business. What products and/or services do you offer?
The Weikum Group is an Independent Insurance Agency with a laser focus to “Make Insurance Simple” and to place the “right customer with the right company.” We have appointments with a wide range of insurance carriers, giving us the options to accomplish just that. We can offer our customers coverage for auto, home, life, umbrella, and business insurance.
Q: How did you get the idea or concept for the business?
Insurance is not a tangible product and what it covers is often a mystery to most people. Most Insurance companies are not advertising how their product is different, just that is better than their competitors and its cheap. With so much mystery behind a product, having an agent is almost a no-brainer. Then the question is, do you want an advisor who can only advise you with one solution, or with a toolbox of solutions?
I wanted to create an agency where my clients knew what products they were purchasing, what their policy covers, and to know that their policy was tailored to their needs.
|Q: Why did you choose your industry/business?|
This one is always a funny one. Nobody goes to school to become an Insurance Agent. Like many in my field, we fell into it and fell in love with it. We would spend weeks out in the field, but we were changing people’s lives!
Q: What was your mission at the outset?
Our motto has always been to “To make Insurance Simple.” Insurance policies are contracts and read like them too; similar to those terms and service agreements that everyone agrees to but has no idea what they mean.
Imagine having the option to call someone each time you came across a terms and service, and we gave you the abbreviated version and could educate you on what you were agreeing to. That is what having an Agent is all about! Just like you have an accountant, CPA, or lawyer to advise you, insurance agents can be your partner to build coverages that are right for you.
Q: Which channel(s) do you feel has been the most beneficial to the growth of your business (Social media, web-presence, word-of-mouth, networking, etc)? Why?
I fundamentally believe that people like to do business with those whom they know and trust. In fact, trust is half the equation when it comes to services like The Weikum Group, Levesque and Associates, or Active Financial. That is why we do not cold call or buy lists. We aim to make valuable relationships with other professionals, meet the customer when and how they want to purchase insurance, and then follow up with yearly reviews to make sure we are upholding our end of the bargain.
Q: What do you feel has been the biggest contributor to the success of your business?
I firmly believe that the only real currency in the world is relationships. I would not be where I am at today if it was not due to the generosity, mentorship, or contribution of hundreds of people.
We are in the same building as Levesque and Associates, and it wasn’t on accident! I had known Conrad for years, and it was happen stance that he reached out and wanted to help. During coffee we found out that we had a very similar dream and decided to team up add even more value to our clients.
|Q: Can you tell us about a client experience that made you think, “This is why I do what I do!”?|
I am blessed to be able to have that feeling almost every day! About 80% of our clients walk away better covered and spending less money for that policy. That is a real impact on peoples lives! Even if we can price match and add coverage, once people understand what they are being protected against, it is a no-brainer.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote, book, or blog that has inspired you as you have grown your business?
“How you do anything…Is how you do EVERYTHING…”
It means that the little details matter. It means who we are after 9-5 will reflect who we are during 9-5.
|Q: What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced while starting and growing your business?|
I often remember being resentful when management would take action and it wouldn’t make sense to my role. I would often talk about ways I would do it better or how that idea was silly. Now that I am a business owner…everything I do or don’t do comes down to me. Yet, what is equally gratifying, and terrifying are those moments when it all comes together!
Q: What words of wisdom or advice would you offer to someone starting their own business?
Surround yourself with good people who want to see you succeed. Know WHY you are doing what you are doing. Take the leap and keep flapping!
Starting a business is tough as nails and nobody is going to do it for you, yet if you know why you are doing it, surround yourself with good people, and work your tail off, only good things will come!
The Weikum Group