Mark Acre, LUTCF is a Missouri State Alumni and has been a member of NAIFA since 2009. Mark owns his own company in Missouri, One Insurance Group, that he describes as a “one stop shop” for all your financial planning needs. Housing 23 advisors under one roof with each specializing in a different field truly is an anomaly amongst the industry.
Mark is on the national Board of Trustee, a YAT member, and a former YAT Leader of the Year. Mark’s success is something to be admired, however, this was not always the case. After graduating from MSU, Mark got a job (amusingly describing this initial career choice as “Just Over Broke”) at a hospital where he felt undervalued and underpaid. It wasn’t until he read a series of mass emails from different insurance companies recruiting members that he finally made the leap. Mark reflects on the moment that swayed him, “I picked [my friend’s] brain, [who] was in the insurance business and asked him what he thought, [and he said] Mark you will do great at it, give it a shot.”
There are many facets of the job that Mark enjoys, the compensation, the challenge, and the ability rely on only himself. He elaborates,
I came from an athletic background and played college sports and I am willing to put in the work […] the harder I work, the more I would be getting paid […] [Being a Financial advisor] gave me the ability to really perform and build something of my own. […] There's no ceiling so this industry doesn't cap you, it gives you [the] ability to succeed [by] as much as you're willing to put in.
Mark’s decision to join NAIFA initially was a result of his eagerness to learn. He was a new agent having just started his own insurance business and found himself searching for answers. In his quest for answers he found that the best way to learn how to make it with his new business venture was to learn from those who came before him, stating: “I've always thought the smart people learn from their mistakes and wise ones learn from mistakes of others [and] a lot of folks in that room made [...] mistakes, I could learn from.” He encourages those who are reluctant about NAIFA to consider joining for not only the educational aspects but for the comradery as well. Mark credits the comradery of NAIFA and its members for connecting him to his two closest friends.
NAIFA advocacy efforts are also very important to Mark, he describes the associations dues and thus their advocacy efforts as job insurance. He credits NAIFA with his job insurance but also protecting his clients from the potential legislative threats that could harm them. Specifically, Mark finds NAIFA’s 131 year fight to protect life insurance policies from taxation to be their most significant.
He recounts a conversation he recently had with congressman Jason Smith in relation to the Secure Act and a client of his. A feel-good story that both Mark and congressman Smith we’re very proud of and is a reflection of the importance of advocacy within our industry about a woman in rural Missouri who never made over $35,000 a year, retiring with over $1 million dollars in the bank, by participating in the company's 401k plan and purchasing preferred stock options. “The best part?” Mark says, “She had no idea!”
It is Marks hope that stories like this will encourage other members of NAIFA to get involved and view advocacy as an obligation and insurance to the profession. Mark ensures his fellow members, “legislatures want to hear from us. [You could] maybe even change the mind of a person who makes decisions that are going to impact mainstream America.”
Thank you, Mark, for your loyal service to our industry and association. We’re proud to call you one of our own.