For nearly 50 years, the throughline of Doug Lenhoff's career has been protection. A West Point graduate, Lenhoff spent 15 years in the US Army—including five years in Germany—before making the switch to insurance and financial services. Since then, he’s developed his niche and become an expert in disability insurance.
Making a Difference
Now a brokerage general agent, Lenhoff is passionate about raising awareness among producers and the general public about the importance of DI. In 2001, he founded dibrokerWest, a NAIFA 100% Agency, with the goal of helping more Americans get DI coverage by educating financial service professionals.
DI is often overlooked while other necessary coverages like life insurance and annuities are emphasized, says Lenhoff. He explains how neglecting DI coverage is detrimental to clients, saying, “Your ability to earn a living funds everything you do. [Most people] have car insurance and home insurance, but not the one that makes all those things possible.”
The key to dibrokerWest's success is in their approach, says Lenhoff. “We don't necessarily need [agents] to change what they do, but we do need [them] to ask an additional question: ‘What do you have in place for disability insurance?’”
Equally important to educating producers and consumers about DI is making sure it’s implemented correctly, says Lenhoff. He talks about his concerns about the trend of consumers getting DI coverage online without ever speaking to a licensed professional. “My value was never in delivering applications faster or better than anybody,” he begins, “But that’s all the internet does. It doesn't give you any advice. It doesn't give you the necessary tools you need to make the right choices.”
Lenhoff shares a personal anecdote illustrating the role DI has played in his life. In recent years, he’s had six back surgeries. Rather than being forced back to work prematurely, he was able to take the time to recover from each because of his DI coverage.
The Value of NAIFA
Lenhoff has been involved in NAIFA since the beginning of his career. He became a member in 1986 and has since served as President of NAIFA-OR and NAIFA-Portland. “NAIFA has been a great learning tool for me,” says Lenhoff. “I’ve been exposed to all kinds of people and experts in their fields I never would have had the opportunity to meet or talk to had I not been a NAIFA member.”
Lenhoff is a firm believer that insurance and financial service professionals should be NAIFA members. “If you’re not a NAIFA member, you don’t understand the bigger picture of the insurance industry," he shares. He adds that NAIFA membership is important for professionals themselves. “NAIFA protects our careers,” he says. “That’s the most important thing that NAIFA does for us and it's important that we maintain that ability.”
Lenhoff is a graduate of, and has moderated, NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a 6-week course in which small groups of financial service professionals learn and grow as leaders and as people. “When you get into an intimate setting like that, you learn so much from other people’s experiences,” he begins. “I’d had a ton of leadership training, but LILI offered me more.”
He has also taught the disability portion of NAIFA’s Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF®) certification course. He says of the experience, “It's been one of the best ways that we've been able to get the word out about disability insurance—creating, in these classrooms of 10 and 15 people at a time, some real experts in disability insurance.”
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Lenhoff stays active in his community. He loves being outdoors and volunteers with 4H and Kahola Ride Wild Club. With NAIFA-Portland, he has been involved with Portland’s Christmas for Kids for more than 20 years and he is an ardent supporter of the American Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society.
Lenhoff and his wife live on a ranch and raise cattle and horses. He shares that she has been integral to both the ranch and establishing dibrokerWest, saying, “I didn’t do any of this alone. She and I did all of this together and building dibrokerWest has been just a fantastic experience for us.”
For his service to his community and our industry and association, we’re #NAIFAproud to have Doug Lenhoff as a part of our NAIFA family.