Linda Rey from Rey Insurance thought insurance was boring and tried three times in her career to get out of the industry. She even sold yellow page advertising for three weeks to avoid working in insurance.
When that job didn't work out, Linda went to her father for advice. He told her to stop kidding around and work at his agency. That was 1999. Nine years later, Linda and her sister started running the agency. Then in 2013 they bought out their father so he could retire in Florida with their mother.
Running, and now co-owning, the agency has been a source of challenges and conquests. And, in the past 17 years Linda has learned more lessons than she ever anticipated. 'I love the strategy and the, arguably inherent, creativity this business provides.'
Always the class clown, Linda uses her sense of humor to have fun while building relationships and growing her agency. This is the way Linda Rey works.
Sleepy Hollow, New York, which is a small village in Westchester County. It shares the same zip code as Tarrytown, which is also known for receiving an honorable mention in a Seinfeld episode!
Co-owner and marketing director of the Rey Insurance Agency and manager of the commercial lines department for the agency.
One word that describes how you like to work.
Current mobile device:
MacBook Air at home. PC at work.
What is it you like about the industry?
Change. However, change is scary.
Most people complain about change and the havoc it wreaks. I think the status-quo is a default of the human condition.
The insurance industry presents change as a constant opportunity for growth, learning and expansion. You have to be resourceful, and if you're not naturally resourceful, you have to learn how to be resourceful so you can move with the times and trends.
This business can be unforgiving if you stand still.
Project(s) you're currently working on:
I'm writing a memoir that may require a pen name!
I'm on the board of the Independent Insurance Agency of Westchester County and helping to revamp their website and on the committee for E-Day 2017.
I'm recruiting to build the commercial lines department. I would like to attract young people into this industry even it's someone who thinks insurance is boring! Maybe they will discover similarly to how I did, that's it's a pretty good gig.
Anticipating for continued future growth, I have been drafting an official procedural manual for the past six months as a training and reference tool for new and existing employees.
Accomplishments you're proud of:
I'm probably most proud of failing at exiting the insurance business and successfully discovering how to leverage my strengths in this industry.
My sister and I acquired our father's agency after growing the book five times what it was and continuing to build even after the buyout.
I completed four sprint triathlons one year which expanded not only my fitness level but tested my level of discipline and commitment to myself.
I've jumped out of a plane twice. Once in 2003 and the other ten years later in 2013.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I would like to expand our production into Connecticut since I'm purchasing a home there and moving this autumn.
What tools or technology can't you live without?
My phone. It helps me to stay connected when I'm away from the office.
How do you manage your to-do list?
I have a white board in my office, a notebook on my desk, alarms on my phone and my computer and an email folder for open items that assist with relentless follow up to maintain the momentum.
Do you jump from project to project? Or when you finish a project, do you take time to relax and let your mind wander before jumping into the next task?
I always have a few things going on at the same time. Why else would I need a TO DO list?? If relaxing means successfully moving on to the next project, then yes, I relax A LOT!
What's your favorite part of your day?
I actually like the morning now, which is ironic since I'm only now appreciating morning as I get older. It gives me the quiet solitude to address how to proceed through the day with optimism.
What's your best time-saving tip or hack?
This could be my favorite but most difficult question. I don't know if this really would help anyone else, but I've practiced managing expectations upfront with prospects and to hopefully minimize and manage any potential confrontation. Confrontation gets a bad rap.
I also continue to practice the need to be conscious about picking up the phone to speak with a person vs. continuing a trail of emails.
What is your best everyday habit?
Saying thank you to those who make a difference and remind me that we can't do it alone.
How do you stay on top of what's happening in the industry? What are your go-to resources?
I enjoy speaking to the marketing reps with certain carriers to learn how they are reacting to certain types of risks. I like the educational forums of insurance organizations and continuing education courses that are relevant to my department.
What do you listen to while working?
I don't listen to music while working. I'm either on the phone or devising how to make sure I'm speaking to and meeting with the right people.
What are you currently reading?
'Stony Kill' by Marie White Small. I met her at a writer's retreat in Vermont. She is a gifted lyrical writer. You get lost in the details of her visual description of time and place.
YiShun Lai and Jon Reisfeld are in my queue to be read.
I've been consumed with insurance publications the past fifteen years as I've advanced my career. I'm looking forward to indulging in fiction work again.
What's your favorite blog or podcast?
I don't have one I'm afraid to say. I know they're out there, but I've been so consumed with reading resumes and awesome insurance articles like this one that I've not taken the time to enjoy the many productive podcasts out there. I welcome links so I can add to favorites.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In no particular order, and not limited to,
- Check emails to add any new priorities for client deadlines.
- Marketing posts via social media channels.
- Check client birthdays. Make calls or send emails.
- Follow up with any prospects for new business opportunities.
- Follow up with underwriters for any pending items that move an account closer to binding.
- Recruit new talent.
- Discuss risks with the team and with my business partner.
- Office and outside appointments with prospects, potential strategic alliances, counterparts, colleagues, associates.
- Lunch when I remember to eat (if I don't have a lunch appointment).
How do you decompress?
I love hanging with my favorite guy who has a mortgage practice and understands the challenges of business. We take the time to discuss our challenges and celebrate our successes.
I love cycling, the beach and writing.
Maybe most of all, I love weekend naps.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Then, the momentum of creating options, overcoming challenges and witnessing success. I'm not married; I have no children or pets. My agency has been my outlet for experimentation, growth and accomplishments.
What's your go-to drink at the end of the day?
Who are your favorite people in the industry to follow on social media?
Carrie Reynolds, Kelly Piro, Chris Paradiso
What's the best advice you've ever received?
The best piece of advice is really the informal training I received from my dad. He always said, 'Figure it out.'
In this business, you have to have the initiative to figure out how to figure it out. Otherwise, you are just managing the status-quo.
I also learned more than 10 years ago that creating options for ourselves helps to not only build self-esteem and confidence but to maintain a level of control in order to appreciate our value.
What would you be doing if you weren't working at Rey Insurance?
I hate that question because I feel like Zack Mayo from An Officer and a Gentlemen, 'I got nowhere else to go!'
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way profile?
Kelly Piro, Heidi Petschauer, Peter Aartrijk, Donna Chiapperino, Rick Morgan, Onofrio Colabello, Chris Paradiso
The This is the Way blog series asks ITC employees, agents, carriers and other people in the industry how they work and to share their tips. Is there someone you want to see featured or questions we should ask? Tweet us or leave it in the comments below.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their two daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder