Johnny Craven, LUTCF, is a stalwart of the NAIFA community and a veteran of the insurance and financial services industry.
Craven joined the insurance and financial services industry over 20 years ago, but that’s not where he started out. He spent 13 years in the grocery industry, but when one of his coworkers became an insurance agent and suggested he give it a try, he decided it was worth exploring. His coworker called Craven on a Saturday night and they planned to meet the next morning. Not realizing it was a formal interview, Craven showed up in shorts and a t-shirt and met the man who would become his boss. Fortunately, he saw potential in Craven and decided to give him a shot.
Craven enjoys his work because he gets to connect and grow with his clients. He loves helping them design, and achieve, their life goals. Despite the unlimited earning potential, he doesn't see income as a driving factor for his career. “The income will always come if you do the right thing for the client,” he says. He was told early in his career, “You can consider yourself successful in the industry if you make it to the third generation.” Over the years, he’s earned the trust of his clients and is serving the second, third, and even fourth generation of families.
Making a Difference
The most important quality an agent or advisor can have, Craven says, is caring about people and having a genuine desire to help them. He relates one particularly memorable experience. In 2012, he met a man selling vegetables on the side of the road in rural South Carolina. He bought some vegetables and gave the man his business card, saying, “If you make a million dollars and you want to invest some of that, give me a call.” As Craven headed back to his car, the man caught up with him and said he was looking for someone to help him gain access to a financial account he had.
Over the next two years, Craven worked with the man to set up a financial plan to protect his family. When the man passed, his family invited Craven to their home to thank him and gave him the greatest compliment he’s ever received. They told him that, at the end of his life, the man said to his wife, “When I pass, you're going to be in a lurch, but you call this man. You can trust him.” During their years working together, the man had accumulated $1.3 million that passed to his spouse and protected his family. The same year, Craven opened 4 Corner Financial Group.
Craven works with a variety of clients, but he specializes in helping seniors who are retired or working toward retirement. He considers himself an old soul and quotes Stephen Covey’s mantra, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Political Advocacy and Leadership
Political advocacy is at the center of all that NAIFA does. Over the years, Craven has often attended NAIFA’s annual Congressional Conference and has met with several U.S. Congresspeople. He talks about his friend and colleague Mary Anne Cannady, a loyal NAIFA member since 1967. “She impressed upon me that the advocacy starts at the local level, making sure the political candidates understand that their word, their viewpoint, is very important to what moves to the state capital and what goes from the state capital to [Washington] D.C.”
Since joining NAIFA in 1995, Craven has also served in a number of NAIFA leadership roles, including Public Relations Chair at the local level, Southern Regional Vice president, and Secretary/Treasurer of NAIFA-SC. He has served through all chairs at the state level and is currently serving as President of NAIFA-SC.
The Value of NAIFA
NAIFA introduced Craven to several professional designations, including the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), as well as the Financial Management Association International (FMA). In his first year as an advisor, he won NAIFA’s National Quality Award (NQA). He is also a graduate of NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a six-month leadership development program devoted to advancing personal growth and professional success.
Getting to know like-minded people within NAIFA also benefited Craven. “Quickly, I recognized the great value of having mentors in this industry,” he says. “So, from the very beginning, NAIFA provided me with a mentorship out of my local organization of American General.”
Craven describes the benefits NAIFA has brought to him and his career. “NAIFA has given me the icing on top of the cake,” he begins. “But they have also been the baker, designing that model that helps me to reach higher goals.”
To industry professionals who are not NAIFA members yet, Craven says, “It would be the best decision for your career that you could make. The new NAIFA gives us an opportunity to increase benefits to help an individual to create, nurture, and develop a career they can be proud of.”
Outside of the Office
When he’s not in the office, Craven enjoys spending time with his wife of 36 years, his two daughters, and his new granddaughter. He shares that he couldn’t have achieved all he has without his wife’s support and guidance from God.
Craven also stays involved in his community and his church. He participates in community events, including Toys for Tots and First Thursday on Main, a monthly meetup during which cultural institutions and businesses stay open late and host special events. Craven also has a passion for the Special Olympics and has been a community volunteer for over 12 years. He partners with his local NAIFA chapter and the family of the late David Williamson, Past President of NAIFA-Walterboro, to sponsor an award for a Special Olympics athlete in Williamson’s honor.
For his service to his community and our industry and association, we’re #NAIFAproud to have Johnny Craven as a part of our NAIFA family.