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May Is Disability Insurance Awareness Month

 

In 2022, Joe Simon, LUTCF, will celebrate 27 years in the insurance and financial services industry. He’s learned a lot in that time and is eager to share his knowledge and expertise with his community.

A Changing Industry

When Simon began working as a group health representative, the world of employee benefits was in a time of transition with the advent of managed care. Despite the changing landscape, Simon learned as he went and quickly rose through the ranks. He became a regional sales representative and worked with top brokerage firms before transitioning to being a broker himself. As a broker, Simon took a two-pronged approach, continuing to sharpen his skills with group benefits while simultaneously learning the ins and outs of executive benefits.

Over the years, the insurance and financial services industry has changed dramatically. Simon refers to two aspects of the industry: high-touch and high-tech. Historically, the industry has been high-touch, with face-to-face meetings allowing for trust and relationships to grow in person. Over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, professionals have had to adopt high-tech methods of building relationships. Simon is an advocate of a hybrid model incorporating both—beginning relationships face-to-face, then using digital tools to maintain close contact.

After completing three of eight courses towards his CLU designation several years ago Simon recently reengaged in pursuing this. “I believe being relevant in this industry is very important,” he says. “The advisors at The American College were very helpful in this process. I find this challenging but rewarding. Glad to be back at it.”

Executive Benefits and Employee Benefits

While Simon still works with employee benefits clients, he has now incorporated executive benefits clients and appreciates the comprehensive view. “The perfect storm would be having an opportunity to know each one of those [executives] and to hear their thought process and the role they play at the company and the needs that they have there from a financial services perspective—” he begins. “And then, leading on into the employee benefits side and beginning with the well-being of each employee with group benefits.”

Simon saw the fruits of his labor relatively early in his career. About 20 years ago, he developed a business succession plan with three business partners. They were all in their early 40s. Within 12 years, one partner developed a medical condition, which required the other two partners to buy his share of the business. The succession plan, put in place so many years before, made the process simple and painless. Now, the first partner has recovered and the two partners, nearing retirement, have called Simon in to draw up a new succession plan. Simon adds that, while most business owners recognize the importance of a succession plan, only about a quarter are working to put one in place.

The Value of NAIFA

A former NAIFA member, Simon left the industry for a few years to pursue leadership coaching, sharing his knowledge through speaking engagements and radio. After rejoining insurance and financial services, Simon came across NAIFA's recorded webinar series in December 2021. When he saw experts discuss topics from advanced life insurance planning to business succession planning, he decided it was time to become a member again. Now, he's enjoying all the benefits of NAIFA membership.

Outside of the Office

When he’s not working, Simon enjoys great food, great wine, and quality time with his wife, children, and new grandchild. He stays active and participates in triathlons. He also volunteers in his community, aiding the unhoused populations in Wisconsin through local organizations.

Thank you, Joe, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.

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