PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: PERSONAL PROPERTY
Lani Vo, owner of Lanivo Insurance Agency, Garden Grove CA
Arrowhead enjoys a working relationship with more than 6,000 insurance agencies, writing personal, commercial and specialty lines of insurance with us. This month we’re starting a new series of posts we’re calling producer spotlights, highlighting some of our high achievers.
First up: Lani Vo, owner of Lanivo Insurance Agency in Garden Grove, CA. Since opening her agency nearly two years ago, Lani has fast become one of Arrowhead’s top personal property producers in Southern California.
"Garden Grove is the perfect location for me," Lani said. "The people are very friendly; where I’m located, there’s a lot of retail and service businesses, and we all refer clients to each other."
Standing just five feet two inches, Lani is a powerhouse in personal lines – and an avid golfer in her spare time. We spent a recent sunny Thursday afternoon with her, and here’s what she had to say.
How did you choose your career path?
I worked for several commercial insurance carriers - Reliance, AIG, and Fireman's Fund - for many years. During that time they all went through multiple internal restructures, so I moved into underwriting for excess and surplus lines. From there I worked for a local broker selling personal lines (homeowners, auto, umbrella and earthquake). Although I’d worked in insurance for many years, I was new to personal risks and to the retail market, so this was an essential part of my career journey! Two years ago I opened my own agency and now am a producer for both residential and commercial lines.
What do you need to succeed in this business?
Anyone just beginning should first get their property & casualty license. You also must have a passion to pursue success, because your residual income won’t happen overnight. Building a mutual trust relationship between the producer and the client in order to establish a solid book of business takes time.
What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
I spend most of my time marketing to and networking with those people who I already know, to expand my client base. I also sell healthcare coverage and life insurance - I try to offer the whole package to my clients.
Can you think of a shortcut you’ve learned that’s made your job easier?
Oh yes - get advice or a second opinion from the insurance carrier when you’re not sure how to handle a particular scenario. Chances are they’ve handled the same situation before, and I’ll know how to handle it correctly next time.
What’s the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
When the carrier increases a client’s annual premium after an inspection, I have to explain to the customer why the premium increased. Most of the time the clients are OK with it. However, tough clients may refuse to accept the new increase and cancel at midterm. That’s disappointing.
What’s the most enjoyable part of the job?
When the client continues to repeat the renewal - with no losses. That’s the dream client we all want hundreds of!
What do you do differently from your peers in the same profession?
I allow a lot of time to go over the paperwork carefully to explain to my clients the meaning of each coverage before the policy is issued. That way there are no surprises for them, now or later, if a claim happens. The results show in their renewal business.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession, or advice to newbies in the field?
Learn the ropes by working for a brokerage to gain as much experience as you can before considering opening your own agency. Also – have as much capital put aside to pursue this journey as you can. I’d say $10,000 - $20,000. Remember – you’re going to start out sharing your commissions, and you won’t be earning a lot of money in the beginning. By having some money banked that you can live on at first, you’re giving yourself some breathing room and time to build your book.
How did you learn about Arrowhead?
The brokerage firm I worked for prior to opening my own agency was appointed with Arrowhead. I also saw their ads in Insurance Journal.
What made you decide to choose Arrowhead and its personal property program?
Arrowhead’s personal coverage is very competitive. Their inspection program is topnotch. They sent out an inspector, unlike others who put the responsibility on the agent to educate their clients. I think we make a great team!
What about Arrowhead’s homeowners program makes it an easy sell for you? What makes it difficult?
Arrowhead’s homeowners program is very competitive compared to other admitted carriers. The only difficulty I’ve had was dealing with a homeowner who had a pool with a slide. I told them they have the option to comply with insurance underwriting, or they can shop around to see if they can find another insurance company whose inspector doesn’t check the client’s back yard.
What are typical objections you hear, and how do you overcome them?
The only objection so far that I’ve heard was a client who thought Arrowhead’s homeowner products haven’t been in the market very long, compared with other admitted carriers who they’d seen on TV. I simply explained that Arrowhead has actually been in the California homeowners marketplace since 1995 with admitted A rated carriers. That typically satisfies them.
Thanks, Lani! Your hard work and dedication to your clients is evident. Keep up the great work!