<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=319290&amp;fmt=gif">

NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

38 min read

To Walk With You on This Journey

By NAIFA on 3/1/24 3:01 PM

Topics: Podcast
Demetrius Bryant

Demetrius Bryant is an insurance agent helping individuals safeguard their income against unforeseen expenses. He runs a multi-line insurance business that has been a NAIFA member since 2011. Through his company, Demetrius offers comprehensive insurance services, including automobile, home, life, and business policies. He believes that protecting one's financial interests is fundamental to improving the overall quality of life.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Demetrius Bryant shares how he got into the insurance industry and joined NAIFA 
  • Influencing community well-being through a multi-line insurance agency
  • What are the unique traits of managing an insurance business in Mississippi?
  • The future of Demetrius’ practice 
  • Demetrius talks about the connection between insurance and generational wealth
  • The value of insurance education and awareness in the black community
  • Demetrius’ leadership journey at NAIFA and how he increases its membership in Mississippi 
  • The benefits of being a NAIFA member 
  • How to overcome challenges in the financial services industry 

In this episode…

Older generations were taught to secure a stable job and work for the rest of their lives to provide for their families. Yet this doesn’t guarantee stability and success for their children and future generations. Older people, especially those in disadvantaged and underserved communities, don’t understand how to build generational wealth and leave sustainable legacies. How can you educate this group on insurance benefits and financial well-being? 

Insurance expert Demetrius Bryant bridges the knowledge gap in rural Mississippi by educating people about the value of home and life insurance policies for generational wealth. Insurance agents can offer opportunities for children to purchase life insurance policies, encouraging them to begin investing early to ensure lasting wealth. Demetrius also recommends hosting educational sessions and groups to teach members of the community how to invest, manage finances, and file claims effectively. By customizing financial and insurance education for each individual rather than simply selling policies, you can demonstrate the benefits of insurance in their lives.

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Demetrius Bryant, an experienced insurance agent, to discuss the value of insurance in building generational wealth. Demetrius shares his journey in the insurance industry, his approach to running a multi-line insurance agency, and the value of insurance education and awareness in the black community. 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:20

Hi NAIFA nation, I'm your co-host, Chris Gandy. I'm here with our other co-hosts, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:26 

Hey, Chris, how you doing?

Chris Gandy 0:28 

Thank you for tuning into Advisor Today's podcast. But before we get to our wonderful guest today, Suzanne, can you share with us our sponsor for our wonderful podcast today?

Suzanne Carawan 0:40 

Yeah, as we wrap up, February, we're wrapping up, ensure your love month so this month, or this episode's sponsor is Life Happens. So again, we're happy that Life Happens is now part of the NAIFA expanded family. And if you're a NAIFA member, just remember you get special assets from Life Happens if you're not a NAIFA member? Well, you really should think about joining you can go to belong.NAIFA.org/join. I'm sure we're going to hear from our guests today about some of the benefits of belonging. But we are very happy to partner and be part of the Life Happens family.

Chris Gandy 1:15 

Thank you, Suzanne. And those who don't know or don't know that NAIFA has a family of relationships, and Life Happens is one that that is intertwined, and is mission set similar to the ones which we have, which is helping the world be a better place for all people, and providing security and services for those of those families out there in America and Main Street specifically. So with that being said, Suzanne, can you introduce our wonderful guest for today? I look forward to having a conversation with him.

Suzanne Carawan 1:55 

Yeah, today's guest is Demetrius Bryant. I have been fortunate now to know Demetrius for a couple of years, we've known each other right. And I was blessed enough to be able to see sit at his table during our national leadership conference two years ago, I believe, when he got sworn into being president of his state. And it was really a momentous occasion for me. I was there with his wife. And she was holding his hand and she leaned over to him and she said, I'm gonna teary eyed telling you this. She said, I am so proud of you. Right. And this is one of those things that only can happen, I think at NAIFA and understanding Demetrius, we're gonna hear all about his servant leadership heart today. So Demetrius, we're so happy to have you on the podcast.

Demetrius Bryant 2:40 

Well, thank you. I'm glad to be here. I was an honor to be just on the podcast, and this is where the heavy hitter, just mild playmakers.

Chris Gandy 2:53 

We've been talking a lot is this is where the champions, this is a Champions League, right? So we're gonna go from the amateur level, right? And we're going to where the champions go and where they win, and they win consistently. So with that in mind, let's talk a little bit about your journey. People may have seen you, but they may not know who you are, the goal of this podcast is for people to kind of get to know you. So do you share a little bit about how did you get into the industry? And what attracted you to join an association like NAIFA?

Demetrius Bryant 3:30 

Okay, good question. Well, let's start with how did I get into the industry, I spent 15 years in the automobile industry, which was a sales oriented industry and kind of reached a pinnacle in that industry and wanting to make a career change, I needed to make a career change. And there were to other industries that I was interested in, which was insurance and real estate. And I felt that I could help my community more being an insurance than I could in real estate, because obviously, I would only be able to maybe sell on one house per family. Whereas in the insurance industry, I'd be able to do multiple facets and also teach them about the importance of insurance. So that was my decision for insurance and NAIFA became, I was invited to a NAIFA luncheon when I was actually writing business for Mutual of Omaha. And their office was members of knife and they invited me out and I walked into this room that was filled with people and I say, well, this has got to be something to this because people just not coming for the lunch is just a buffet, so I was okay, but it's just the buffet. Got a chance to sit in and listen to some speakers and just talk just a few of the people there and how long they have been a part of NAIFA and kind of get the impression that people don't stay attached to an organization if it's not helping them in their career or help them make more money. So I understood that this was something that I want to be committed to. And that's where I started.

Chris Gandy 5:25 

So can you tell us a little bit about how long have you been in the business? And we know you said, Well, I'll talk about leadership here in a minute. But can you share with us a little bit about how long you've been in the business? And in what is your primary practice? Is it money management? Is it multi line? Tell us a little bit about your practice and where you practice it? Because I know most people don't know where you practice, but it's an important part of who you are and where you come from?

Demetrius Bryant 5:55 

Okay, yeah. Well, my practice is in Byron, Mississippi, which is just on the southern edge of the Jackson, Mississippi, it's in Central Mississippi. But I am a multi-line, Insurance Agency, I'm an independent course. And I've started this in 2011, Bryant Agency, and it's been an incredible journey to be here. Going on 13 years later, I've had the opportunity to pick up three books of business over those 13 years, and it has helped me grow I have three full time employees here. So, the insurance industry, in itself is a great industry, but to be able to employ people and teach people and how it can help them and their personal journey as well as their community. And they can tell they could change lives and things like that. It is just, that's more money than I could ever except myself, I get the privilege out of helping people and I do the money that comes with.

Chris Gandy 7:15 

Awesome, so that feeling of, of, of being the catalyst for change in their lives are important. So tell me a little bit about your in the South. Right. So you're a missionary from Mississippi, where you originally from? I am born and raised. Okay, so tell us how different I mean, I think some people sometimes don't understand the differences of a business. As a producer myself, I understand that there's certain places in the country where business is a little different, right? It's different. If you're an outsider, it's like, no, like, Chicago is one of those I got to get right. And so if you're from Chicago, can you do business in Chicago? Yeah. But it's a lot easier to do business. If you're from Chicago, and you're in Chicago. Share with us a little bit about kind of the business acumen if I was going to move down to your area. What are some of the unique traits of doing business in the southern district or the Mississippi area?

Demetrius Bryant 8:20 

Well, I mean, we are friendly. We are the hospitality state. Some people may not agree with that. But we are actually very friendly. I think one of the important aspects of doing business here in the south, is just being able to look at people speak to people face to face, and they want to know who they're dealing with, they want to feel that you've been here all your life, and that you're concerned about something that if they pass along to their children and children's children, they got someone that they can deal with, and not have to be, oh, well, they used to be this company used to be this company, I don't know who my agent is now. And so it's a real, friendly environment, once you can come in and sit down in front of a family, and you can explain to them the benefits of what you're doing for him. I think it's a lifelong commitment, then no one's leaving you after that. And if you remove it here, I would suggest that you get out get in with someone that's from here that's deep rooted in the community in this area, and let them walk you into some houses and speak to some of the people and get to know some of the people and from that, I think you can grow be just as successful.

Chris Gandy 9:40 

You mentioned the fact that you're an independent multi-line, and you've been able to employ some people can you share with us a little bit about your vision for your practice and where you're trying to go with it and why that's meaningful to you?

Demetrius Bryant 10:01 

Yes, of course, being a lily Brad. And one of the things we had to do in the course was talk about your plans, what was the ultimate goal of The Bryant Agency? And where did you want this to go. And of course, early on, when I started, I was thought about, I want to scale the business to be able to be a Southeast United States, think big. And, as I got into the industry, and started to understand that that personal touch, I mean, if I can, just for Mississippi, just doing business here in Mississippi has shown me that I don't necessarily have to be the biggest and brightest in this particular industry, but I can be the best here in Mississippi that they have to offer. And I could be so satisfied with that. So I've dialed back the thought process of scaling to be this enormous southeast company, Southeast United States company, but I want to just really be a fingerprint in every household in this area. And I want to being that there are so many of us that don't really understand what insurance is, what it does, and the legacy that it can leave for generations to come. And I just tell you, if I can just reproduce myself through my employees, and they can do that and explain that to their clients and get that this place would be so much better. And I'll be okay. Would it be better?

Suzanne Carawan 11:55 

So how do you? That's interesting, because how do you explain that generational wealth piece of it? And then do your clients get it? I guess, I'd love to know how you're actually explaining that. Because it is really exciting. And it's, it's amazing that more people, I feel like don't get excited by that and say, I can make a difference in this long term piece of it. But how do you explain that? How do you connect with them? Explain that piece?

Demetrius Bryant 12:23 

Well, the biggest the generation, I should say, after me, My children, they get it, because they understand that they don't want to work for anybody, they want to work for themselves, they want to be self-sufficient. And things like so they get that point. But it's my generation and the generation before like my parents, they were unfortunately, they weren't taught everything there was to know about insurance and generational wealth, it was getting dark. I'm sorry, oh, to get asked to get a job, get a good job, the entry job, get married, buy your house. Tada, you're gonna be successful? Well, they didn't know. So it was up to us, which I think we're the first generation really to have as much middle income wealth, as you want to call it that we've amassed in education. So in building that education, now, I have to go back and try to fill that gap because rural Mississippi, still are living off of burial policies, terminology, burial policy, I got a very there's a debit person they come by every week, or once a month and collect, you know, 20 $30 for a 5000 $6,000 burial policy, because that was what their parents told them. And that's what they still remember. So you have to explain to them that in the burial policy is really taste like and check. It's just a small amount. And if you say, well, Mr. or Mrs. Customer, I know you have $5,000 of life insurance that will, you know, obviously take care of some of your final expenses. But what about your children? Have you ever thought about if you could write a check for one of your children today and say, take this check and go and live life accomplish what you need to accomplish? Wouldn't you do that? Well, sure I would. But I don't have that kind of money. I said and this is why life insurance would be that avenue for you to leave your children that legacy. And because children, their children may be older now I need them in the room to explain to them, your parents would love to leave you a legacy. However, at this point in their life, they can't. But they are willing to allow you to write a policy on them that will allow them to leave that for you. I get the children saying, oh, okay. So let me write a policy because of as a parent, I want my children to write as much as they can afford it. Because it's not a matter. It's not a matter of if I'm going to die, no matter what. But if you can afford to write $10 million on you, I'm an insurable interest. I'm saying go for it. Because that's going to change your life, your children's life, and your children's children life, because you got to do what you're supposed to do with it, and invest it in the right way. So if I could get more people to understand their parents need ensuring and to take to write policies on their parents, outside of just the basic burial policy, it can help change their lives. I mean, it's other people do it, other people do. It's just what other people do, we have a half a million dollar term policy that's coming up to expire in, when we get 70 years old, it's like, well, we don't need that anymore. I really can't afford I don't need it, kids are good. Why not converted house and give your children equal, you can let each one have equally on their policy, and let them continue to, to keep this policy out here, instead of spending 30 years of paying for it, now that you didn't need it. And you just want to let it go. Converted to whole life, and allow your children to take that money as a legacy when you leave here. I mean, we just got to educate, we got to continue to educate, because, unfortunately, the majority of our community don't know that.

Chris Gandy 17:26 

When you say our community, can you share with us a little bit about give us some point at some point of reference, when you say our community, what do you mean by our community? And then what are you doing in the community to continue to further those missions? Are there any initiatives that you're doing? Are there any unique sales things that you're doing? Or is there any to help create those generational wealth? Conversations?

Demetrius Bryant 17:59 

Well, of course, when I say our community, I'm speaking about the black community, the Hispanic community, the Asian community, I'm thinking about every other community that has never taken on this role, and been aware of what insurance can do for them and their family as a legacy. So that's what I'm talking about, because other races have been able to date they got this, they're the ones who started this, they're the ones who mastered how insurance would be paid. They're the gatekeeper. Okay, so I want to talk to everyone who never knew they could do this never knew these opportunities were here in our community, and I want them to know this, and I want them to at least, even if they don't do it, I want them to at least be able to teach their children that this is an opportunity, if they start soon enough, that will change their lives, but ever and you say what am I doing what we do, we are always at, you know, Turkey advance when they first have Educational Affairs where they may have people in the banking industry, people in the auto industry, people in the insurance industry. And they talk about people with credit in the credit industry or whatever, and they help all of us in an environment on a Saturday or whatever and they have all the members and guests coming in to sit down with smiles in small groups and just kind of come around to each session and learn a little bit about their credit and learn a little bit about the insurance for them learn a little bit about financing with automobile, normal bills and houses and things like that. Those kinds of things that we do and that we continue to do to one be viable nine in the community. So that people when people think about insurance and stuff, other than seeing me on a shopping cart, they understand that, oh, I remember we went to the thing at the church and he talked about, and things like that those are things in the community that we try to do it every opportunity to so that people get a chance to hear about insurance and what it can do for them. Just one small thing, and we'll be talking more about life insurance. But the small point about property and casualty and auto insurance. One of the things that really drove me into this industry was the fact that people think about auto insurance is this is what they know. I want full coverage insurance, and how much it is. And does this cover a rental car? That's it, our community, our community? Nobody's talking about what uninsured underinsured motorist, for your policy. And if you have more than one vehicle, how that can stack, how that money stack can help cover and allows in the event, it was something whether you did it or something you didn't do. People don't understand that here 50% of the people out here driving don't have auto insurance. So if I just got liability, whoa, I need some uninsured motorist because I need because the guy next to me or the lady next to me probably don't have insurance that if they hit me, and I got a car that's paid for, and it's just liability. And they don't have any insurance. I'm in trouble. Uninsured, underinsured motorist takes care of it. So now if they hit you, and they don't have insurance, and you have that, on your policy, guess what? Now you can get some bags for your vehicle. And when you explain it to them, it's helped me they told me that I just, I just wanted insurance, nobody explained it to me. So that's a lost piece of the insurance industry, I think I think people are so busy trying to sail that they forget to inform. Because I'm an advisor, I read contracts as well, that's what I do is in the show I explain contracts, this is a contract with the insurance company. And this is what it's saying. And these are the coverage’s you have. And if this happens, call me call the office first, don't call the 800 number, we don't know if this claim is really gonna be worth filing, because we don't know how much damage has been done. So what about the rock picks, and I go get my oil change. So we can find this on your insurance. And I got this car, and my wife drives this car, and we can fix this on your insurance. And then when you come up for renewal, the insurance company said well, we either gonna increase your premium or we're not gonna rewrite you at all because you got a lot of claim activity, and you haven't found any car. Every time you file every time there's a towing roadside assistance comp claim for windshield those claims but we don't recognize those as actual fine. So again, education for our community is so important the key keeping them educated and keeping them on our books, at least for me.

Suzanne Carawan 23:59 

What I think's important there, though, you said Demetrius, which is sad, but I'm gonna articulate it is that I don't think those contracts and all the things that are in all these pieces, most people don't understand what's in those insurance policies. It's right page after page. It's like okay, whatever what's, how much is per month, but what you're doing is you're giving them use cases, right? You're saying if this happens, you do this and the big piece there's just like, no matter what call me I'll be that interpreter because, don't feel stupid that you don't understand this contract stuff like this is your license to do that. But go ahead and just rely on me when those situations arise. And then of course, that you being able to translate that of course that does increase the trust factor, opens the door to more conversations, but I think that's a nice, that's a nice peace of mind. That's a nice way to explain it. Right? And to tell the person hey, listen, nobody understands what this is saying. Like I to study for it and get license for it, but you call me and we'll take care of it. Exactly.

Chris Gandy 24:02 

Demetrius. Kudos to you. Because, you know, I think a lot of people on the sales side, they're looking forward in the next sale, like, hey, I got to get to the next year, I'll get to the next sale, you take the time to first educate, three types of people in this world, those need informed any uninformed. And many times we ask people to make informed decisions on information they don't have. So taking the time to educate people, so you can empower them to make educated decisions is super important. And kudos to you for doing that. But let's talk about leadership, servant leadership for a moment, let's shift gears. So we've talked about the industry a little bit. You went to a meeting, but all of a sudden, now you're leading a state? I mean, that's a big gap. That's a job, like so. So how do you go from going to a meeting, a luncheon, which, Suzanne, we got to bring those back. I remember when I first started, we go to lunches so loud, it's like, this is where all the champion, this is where all the players go. And we were able to put down our corporate affiliations and go to these lunches and, and learn and respect each other, and do business amongst each other. So we need to get back to that. I think COVID did not help. But we digress. But let me get back to how did you get from point A, to saying, hey, I, yeah, you know, I might I think I have what it takes to lead and then jumping into the role of leadership share with us, kind of your journey, and what were the key things that you looked at that made it pretty obvious for you that this was your path?

Demetrius Bryant 26:57 

Well, honestly, I've basically Excel to a leaders role in everything that I've done. And honestly, going to meetings and sitting in and listening and having questions and asking questions, and not really, always getting the answers, I started to think about that, they talked about this board and getting on a board. And I said, I have a lot of questions. And a lot of times I'm not getting an answer or getting the answer that I think is really, to the heart of what I'm speaking now. So maybe I'll try this board thing here and just see how this goes. Because I want to out because I'm asking questions, then there are other people that have questions, and they're going to want answers to. So during this journey, after a couple of years, I just decided to volunteer and be on the board. And the first year, I think I kind of just sat back and listened and learned. And after that, I was like, well, now we're not doing that anymore. I'm not going for that. I'm not nope, nope. This does not benefit people. No, no, no. So I kind of became a kind of outspoken person. Yeah, man, you ever think about going through the chairs? Like, what's the chair? So we can't get into the chair thing, and it's odd, because I want people who don't know, to know, I want people who aren't, as you say, uninformed, to be informed about what this organization does for the industry as a whole and why we can't get more people to become attached what this organization does. And I think we had some, again, we had some energy, we had COVID. And then we just kind of was looks at us and steel. And the whole idea for me has been the just trying to get the train moving again. So if we can get the train moving, the next person can jump on and we got momentum. And we can keep moving. So again, I'm just not a status quo kind of guy. I mean, if it don't fit, I'm not gonna force it, but I'm going to ask the question about it. For sure.

Chris Gandy 29:48 

So we know that membership as this will ring, true to Suzanne's ears, we know membership, membership, membership is such a vital role to a non for profit. You know, we are volunteers, right? And we jobs and you know, we choose to do this job. We're paid in other ways other than monetarily. So membership, what unique things is Mississippi doing? Because we don't get a chance to talk to you. I mean, even in Mississippi, I played sports. So at the end of the day, you guys may not be on ABC or ESPN, you guys may get ESPN too, or you may be on Fox prime or something. But syndicated TV, but my question is, what are you guys doing this unique to bring value, and to increase the membership in Mississippi, perhaps you could share some of those gems, some of those secrets that you guys are utilizing and doing?

Demetrius Bryant 30:48 

Well, I don't know if they're really considered secrets. But basically, what we've tried to do is one take advantage of our associates in the states, we have associates in, you know, Northeast Mississippi, of course, Jackson is central, we have southeast and southwest Mississippi, and we've just tried to take advantage of, of the people that we have in place up there to try to have more lunches, we try to bring speakers in, to get them together to come in and say, oh, this is interesting. And we did some different things, we've got some different things. Because the lunches were the things that we've always had, we started doing some things afterward, we started from five to seven, something we have some little light snacks and things like that. And people come in, we have our laser gear out and stuff and have, trying to get new people to come in, it may be interested in this that didn't know about this, but lots of things that are going on, it's not something that if you're not a member of NAIFA, a lot of times you don't really have that opportunity to hear about or go to those events, but you will be more willing, and an afternoon after work setting where it's a little bit more laid back a little bit more relaxed. And you just as I say you can just slide it in and just kind of see what's going on. And we got to welcome you in there and just, you know, ask a little information about you not gonna put any pressure on you at this time. You know, but just give you some information to learn about what NASA does, and how this can help your practice. And those things have helped. We get we do have some traction. It's not enough. But we do have some traction. I don't know You know, you know, with everything being like zoom, everybody's doing you know, you know, sometimes that makes a generation really, really lazy. Like they're you know, I can't do a zoom meeting and so I can see what it's like selling a car years ago. Somebody's just on the phone on the couch. Say yeah, what kind of saw you got this character? What kind of price can you get for him? Well, I don't know when you go come look at it. Well, I don't know. You just tell me what kind of price you I can't sell your car sitting on the couch. Because all you got to do is hang up for me and call somebody else. And tell them the same thing I need you to come look at my car and why my car is different. Come look at NAIFA and let's see why NAIFA is different into the building. Let's talk about it. Let's talk about what about NAIFA. Most people don't know anything about NAIFA. I promise you so have you ever heard a NAIFA of what's there? Is you said NRA no NAIFA, NAIFA. And that's always a starting point. NAIFA. What is NAIFA? And then I explained to him what NAIFA is there? A lot of things that it has done to help their industry and what it would take, why don't you come to a meeting or whatever. People are just sometimes slow to want to come in especially if they've been in industry for a while because I feel like they got it figured out all right, I got I got this figured out. I don't need this whatever this knife or thing is I don't really need it. I'm good at whatever they've been doing. I appreciate it because I'm still here I still got my business. So I don't see a need or value and be having to spend 800 bucks a year to do this. And honestly the season agents that I have spoken with that literally, what they're saying, Hey, I've been around for 1520 years, and I'm doing fine. I never been a member of NAIFA, but why I want to pay $800 a year? Do some I've been here this long, I'm gonna be here.

Suzanne Carawan 35:21 

Yeah, exactly. So how did you get involved in the advocacy part, Demetrius?

Demetrius Bryant 35:27 

That, there we go again, here. We're talking about advocacy. And what advocacy does for the organization need people on the frontline need people out? Support, like you, but you may tell me, we got people that are working behind the scenes for our organization, and how is that? How are they getting paid? How, how does all of this work? You know, we have a pack, so we have to pay on the pack? And these are the things we have to do. And this helps them do that. Okay, well, let me I need to conservative with the pack and things like that. That's important. And then I got a chance to meet our lobbyist here. And I kind of watched, one day at the Capitol, you know, kind of walking around, hobnobbing as I would call it talking to all the different people, I was like, man, this guy's pretty influenza. If he's, you know, if all these people, senators and representatives know him and things like that, and they all say the same thing. Same, like, we really need to be more effective. And so I decided to up my game, because I was really underperforming in that area. And if it's something that's important to the industry, it's just important to what I do. And I'm just one of those dudes that I'm either all in or I'm gonna be all out. So as long as I'm all in, and we all good, but if I ever get on the outside.

Suzanne Carawan 37:15 

So have you seen a benefit to your business, from making all these connections and being Have you yourself become more influential? I know you're humble.

Demetrius Bryant 37:29 

Maybe I am. I don't know, a lot of people, obviously, recognize me when I'm in different venues and whether that's church, whether there's NAIFA, whether that's because I been hanging out with my lobbyists, I don't know. Maybe it's my shopping cart, as I don't know, but I'm definitely recognize. I don't know if I want to say I'm a big deal or whatever stuff. I just want to help you find this man. I just want to...

Suzanne Carawan 38:11 

Chris, one thing Demetrius didn't mention is that he is tall. He's tall. And so we got to talking. And I knew that just the way he carries himself and like, were you an athlete to play ball because I'm think he played basketball, right? Because he's tall. And he said, No, I played tennis. And I was like what his rotation is gonna be him with a tennis racket in his head. I had the wingspan. So I was like, how fast could you possibly right serve that ball? Because so he's got that mindset. He came into this business as an athlete, only that constant improvement always be improving mindset.

Demetrius Bryant 38:47 

Yeah, that was funny, actually. I guess I could admit, middle school, my seventh grade year, the last round of cuts. And I was like, man, I was so heartbroken. I'm like, Man, I was better than that. And I found at the park, I found a ping pong. They love a ping pong table, a part of paddle out at the park. And I'm messing around and people are on the tennis court. That's it. Well, let me just see if I can hit a ball with this ping pong paddle back on the tennis court. Course I couldn't. But up was pretty decent without ever really playing ping pong. And I said well, I might be able to go after tennis so they have tennis traps, which was after basketball. Went out didn't even have a racket or anything course. barred to coach racket. I'm left handed. Do a lot of things right handed but I'm left handed and I served about a weenie. And that was the rest was history. It was tennis, tennis, tennis, tennis, tennis, and that from middle school, high school, college. I played two years after college competitively because I travel and play around stuff. And after that, I gave it up. But I was decent. I was fairly decent in tennis.

Chris Gandy 40:39 

That's an interesting, kind of how you got here kind of the journey. If we looked at your, you mentioned the fact that you've never been one to kind of let's say you've, you've challenged the status quo, where I don't know, what you see and what you would like to see in the world. And so what do you see some of the challenges ahead, that face us now, as the industry is ever evolving? We've got aI being introduced into the industry, right? You've got industry, we've got organizations, companies, banks, now sample data, and social services come in, you can go the private room, eat the nice cookies. And you know, you got a lot of people now, and now you have the direct to consumer programs, where there is no advisor. So what do you see some of the challenges that are out there for advisors, such as his advisor, today's What do you see some of the challenges? And what are you doing to be ahead of those of you proactive on overcoming some of them?

Demetrius Bryant 41:49 

Well, the, I think the biggest thing is, know your clients, be a family member, to your clients. I said, because no matter what comes out, if you have that relationship with your clients, AI is not gonna take your clients. What will take your clients is you taking your clients for granted, I think it's never been more important for us to have those personal relationships with those clients, like never before. So a lot so that they understand that you still have their best interests, at heart, on every aspect of their life with every year managing for them, whatever, even if it's just again, just call me first. Something as simple as calling me first will allow you one extra phone call that you may not get otherwise, that could be a difference in someone deciding to stay with you. Or doing this online without an advisor, because I think it might be a little cheaper. You can't be cheap. But cheap does not always be in your best interest. So if you're interested in cheap, that's not, I'm not the right fit for you. But if you're interested in someone that's going to walk with you, and be with you through every step of this journey from now until we leave here. That's who you are. That's all you need. And that's what you get with me. And that's what I say, I say me, and me being the person that's going to be able to take the time to walk through every process of every policy that we do with you and how this is an advantage to you. And if you believe in your advisor, you believe that that person is part of your family and has done nothing but try to do what's in your best and you know, AI won't be it. Neither will doing it online, because your Echo GEICO can't take cannot keep a customer when they're unhappy. Especially when I get through talking to him. I'll get a guy called Customer Every Time because they can't even say a reason to their agent here. Who's your agent? It's usually the grocery store who's your agent? If you push up your agent now, you may say well, you pay and people you'll even know what your mind to go into. Why would you do it? Oh, okay. What would you mean? You're paying someone to do my job that you don't even know who they are. You don't have a relationship with them. How would you do that? Okay. You'd be surprised that when people start you can see the little hamster wheel turning left.

Suzanne Carawan 41:55 

It's crazy, right?

Demetrius Bryant 42:24 

Or why am I paying somebody, you know who they are with you. And if I do, same thing, you know me, you see me, I'm everywhere on the shopping cart,

Suzanne Carawan 45:11 

We got to get a picture the shopping cart.

Demetrius Bryant 45:12 

But those are the things that I think that that that will keep us relevant going into this next phase of the industry. And I think it's so very important that we do that, that we continue to do that. And I know a lot of our younger agents like to do a lot of stuff mobile, they like to do a lot of texting and if that's the group that they're doing it, that's our personal relationship. The same way they can take someone So can someone else takes them to, and you could lose by it in the midst of texting them because of how they're feeling that day when you're texting them, because that's how they're going to interpret your text message. Based on how they're feeling at the time they get that text message. Don't do it. Don't do it.

Chris Gandy 45:12 

Demetrius a couple of things that I'll just comment. I'll just say on price, you know, I've heard a couple of things. Price is only an issue in the absence of value. Right? And so when people start shopping, they instantly don't see the value in you being their person. I mean, it is what it is. Or like my father once said, everything that looks good to you don't mean it's good for you. Doesn't mean that the best thing for you? Right? Yeah. Or, he just want to sell so he says a really good two year domain is good. But yeah, that's what he's, that's how he's I formalized it so we could bring it to the north. But I think the solution, Demetrius, if we go back to as leaders, of people, and movers of hearts, I mean, at the end of the day, that's what we do. When we when we inspire people to be part of the NAIFA family. The simplest thing is, share this with someone else. You know, we asked our, you know, when I was in Chicago, and I let our board, I asked them one thing I said listen, I need for you to recruit, you have to recruit this many people. But if we ask it to come to an event, you have to bring someone what we would find out is there's no you have to bring someone who's not a member, you know, because we have a tendency to the member Hey, listen, you got to go yeah, we're already members. Okay, God, if they were they've heard the story. But now if we have to prospect with someone is just prospecting right? We have to look for someone who we have not invited. And if every event we had five events a year, and we invited someone who was not a member NAIFA would look completely different than it does today. As simplistic as that sounds. That's out that changes the environment, it changes the people that hear the message, it changes. And because I was on a call earlier today with our exec board, and I heard the conversation, I'll give Brock Jolly a shout out. Right, Brock said that enthusiasm is contagious. And one of the challenges that we all face in our dear NAIFA nation, is we've got to wake up the enthusiasm. Because people are part of something that people are super excited about, Demetrius use go up and I say, hey, Demetrius, good to see a man, I can't wait to me. I can't wait to share your gospel. What are we doing? Right? But if I show up, hey, nice to meet you NAIFA a member for 20 years, you know, right now. Good luck kid. Right. I'm not overly excited about being a part of that. And I know that you carry a level of enthusiasm and a conversation with you and I've spoken to you, but you carry a level then Tuesday as well. And I think the challenge ahead of us is we have to wake that up today. We have to light that fire again and get some young people in the business. I'll just throw this out to you since I know you're Mississippi we've been able to start to successfully build relationships with the org with the universities that are now starting to have curriculums around finance and NAIFA nation, we've got our college program. I think that'd be a fun not fantastic program to now start rolling out in your as a party of your state with schools like my home state town, Mississippi State of Mississippi. This I'll miss out on some of the what are some of the major universities and again, if you can inspire one person, that's significant, that's successful. But if you can inspire a group of people, because you've impacted the culture, I think that's so, so smart. So it just is something just a couple of things that are we've heard this working. We know it's working. And again, that's the younger generation of advisors and who they're going to be in the future. And we can influence them very early on, when they're still Greenpeace. That's always a good thing.

Demetrius Bryant 50:29 

It's interesting, you said that we went to insurance day last year, went up to it, it was at Mississippi State. And I actually did get a chance to speak to several juniors, that came up and what is NAIFA? And then they kind of asked about the insurance industry, because I don't know why. The insurance industry kind of got the stereotype kind of like the automobile industry, like, we were just shysters. YWe try to get your money. And it's not a profitable, professional industry. I don't know where they came from. But after having conversation with these young men and they were like, I cannot think I might want to look at doing this. And, I tell them, we'll be back this year in April, they have insurance that again, and we'll be back, we'll have a table and everything. And hopefully, they'll be there and they'll be getting ready to graduate and there'll be Hey, remember me? Like, do you remember me though? Because I knew you'd come in. But that's interesting. I think you're right, we should be more focused in the colleges and the universities and things like that, because this industry is definitely one that you people take for granted. There are a bunch of moneymakers in this industry and lots of mine are better than us. Right? That's right,

Suzanne Carawan 52:15 

New leaders than us. So it should be us. Well, Chris speaking that we were at our lightning round, we need to lightning.

Chris Gandy 52:22 

We got to shoot, we got to shoot we got we have a lightning round. This is not the hot seat. This is just an opportunity for us for people to get to know you personally. And again, you don't really have to think about these answers. The answer they're probably gonna come to you in the first answer comes to you typically as the right answer. Okay. But I will say something easy, right? When you were growing up, what was your favorite cereal?

Demetrius Bryant 52:46 

My favorite cereal was processed flakes. I never go. Never go, Yeah, we got cornflakes. And you better put some sugar on.

Chris Gandy 52:58 

All right, see, see that? Those are easy. So Demetrius, you're most? Well, I'm not gonna ask this. You're in Mississippi. So I got to ask Ole Miss or Mississippi State.

Demetrius Bryant 53:13 

Well, my daughter was Ole Miss and ran track. So I was Ole Miss while she was there. But I was kind of like Mississippi State.

Chris Gandy 53:21 

Okay. Your proudest moment? In the industry so far.

Demetrius Bryant 53:30 

Proudest moment. When I bought my third book of business, I think I really felt like we really accomplished some things and to be able to do that was pretty, I was pretty satisfying.

Chris Gandy 53:47 

Mentors, who's been your most pivotal or most significant mentor during your career? 

Demetrius Bryant 53:57 

I have a really, dear friend that has been an Allstate agent for 35 years. And he has helped walk me through some of this journey, and I take a lot of what he has done and I take what I can use, and I put it into me and how I can make it stand and, and I think he has probably been the most influential in this industry for me.

Chris Gandy 54:30 

It's Black History Month. So let me ask you the question. In a pivotal month, like this month, what is a message that is still resounding that you would say that significant in the way in which we see the world and that's that you would like to share during Black History Month?

Demetrius Bryant 54:54 

We still have a long way to go. I mean, we just do, we just we've made a we've made a lot of strides. I mean, I think about when Howard catches, how his story, I had a conversation with him how his story how he got to where he was how he even got into the industry, because he was a teacher. And how he noticed the janitors and cafeteria workers were not insurance people that were coming here, we're not talking to them in the bus drivers, he found that niche. And that got him to where he is and his determination in this. He always said that money is green, no matter where you get it from money is green. And he said that was always the focus of his but I think we have to continue to understand that we are still have a long way to go. We've made some strides, but we got to respect, we got to respect one another. We just sometimes it just shows like there's no respect. And when you can expense it and not even have a conversation with somebody, it really demoralizes you in this respect. We got a long way to go. And let's keep talking about it because I don't let it go. I can't let it go.

Chris Gandy 56:23 

All right, last thing, NAIFA nation so those young advisors out there someone listening to Demetrius for the first time? What words of wisdom would you give somebody who's starting in the business today?

Demetrius Bryant 56:36 

Words of wisdom would be find you a mentor, to walk with you in this journey, it's very important to have someone that has experienced that has been through maybe is they're still going through some of the issues that you may come up with, that could be defining moments to work through that will allow you to stay in the industry or get out and find you a mentor, and walk with them through this journey to make your life a lot easier.

Chris Gandy 57:10 

Thank you, Demetrius. We appreciate you. We appreciate you leading Mississippi, we appreciate you being a leader stepping up, not just sitting on the sidelines coming in, it's in serving, this tennis reference company, I make sure you ace and serve perfect game and continued success to you. We appreciate you and thanks so much for being on the podcast. Suzanne, do you have anything before I close this out?

Suzanne Carawan 57:35 

I just say thank you again, Demetrius that echo all of that you're one of my absolute favorite NAIFA members. I just enjoy. So keep doing what you're doing.

Chris Gandy 57:44 

Thank you guys. Appreciate it. Thank you, Demetrius. Thank you, Suzanne. Thanks, everyone for tuning into Advisor Today's podcast where we uplift and promote, the better the good of all advisors and insurance professionals for the greater good. And thank you so much for tuning in. And we'll see you next week. Same time, same place, and have a great day. See you soon.

Outro 58:10 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes. And if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



AT Podcast Ad
LECP Blog Ad





NAIFA-FSP-LH with tagline - AT blog email ad (300 x 250 px)
2024 Congressional Conference (728 x 89 px)