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Episode 8: Kyle Corbridge: Running a High Powered Insurance Team with Life Balance

Mon 03/27 4:00PM 43:05

Episode 8

Why is hiring the right person so critical? On today’s episode, Nelson Barss & Liz Sears interview the owner of Bon Agency, Kyle Corbridge. Kyle discusses his success in purchasing an established business and hiring employees that last.

Kyle Corbridge


  • Podcast = Increase your Impact with Justin Su’a

Liz Sears 0:01

Welcome to the Business greater than you podcast, where we dive deep into the stories of men and women who have successfully transcended the fragile solopreneur life and built protective teams with federal lifestyle and income. I'm Nelson bars, the founder and owner of Utah Independent Mortgage Corp. And I'm Liz Sears, founder and co owner of My Utah Agents.

Nelson Barss 0:21

We're excited for you to listen and grow.

So please share your comments below. And let's get started.

Okay, today we have an exciting episode. We've been waiting over a month to get Kyle in here, Kyle Corbridge, the owner of Bon Agency Insurance. And a good friend of mine, and I just have been eager to pick your brain Kyle about your business.

Kyle Corbridge 0:49

I've been waiting a month for the invitation.

Nelson Barss 0:52

So thanks for joining us. Thank you for being willing to let us I know you're a little reluctant to come and talk about your business. But I've been so impressed with so many aspects of your business. So your business is an insurance agency started in Wyoming. Correct? You expanded into multiple states, you have an office here in Utah, you moved to Utah to bring your business here, right.

Kyle Corbridge 1:14

Yes, that's right.

Nelson Barss 1:15

Tell us a little bit more about your company.

So before you started the buyout, you were working in the business for how long?

Kyle Corbridge 1:16

So the long story is, so I'm the fourth owner of the line of this company, we've been around for about 126 years. Sounds like just a little bit, right. So we are actually technically the oldest independent agency now in the state of Wyoming because of some of the buyouts and closures but the name Bond agency comes from the original proprietor, Cecil Bond started the company back in 1895. And so it still bears his name just because of branding and other issues there. But it's it's been kind of a family business for most of that time period. My wife's grandfather took it over from the original proprietor, and then my father in law. And then I bought it. I started buying it from my father in law back in 2006. And then we've had finalized that buyout completely a few years ago.

Yeah, so I started working in the insurance industry kind of fresh as a fresh off an LDS mission. I was a college student at BYU and gotten to some financial stuff started working for my father. Well, my future father in law was my father at the time, just as a salesperson as a starting to sell the insurance doing the whole Manado stuff, right. And I

Liz Sears 2:27

Oh, well, I have to interrupt. So did you meet him through your soon to be wife at the time? Or did you meet her through getting the job?

Kyle Corbridge 2:34

No, no, I've known him for a whole lot his my parents and his him and my wife's parents have been good friends for my whole life. So we've known them. That's why he invited me to come work for him. He was having some health issues, I needed someone to he trusted to kind of care and come up to the business. And so I started there, that process and then eventually married his daughter. So it worked out really good for me, especially. So yeah. But I started just doing sales, right and home and auto. It's a little monotonous. I didn't really care for it that much. But I was really good at it. I was good with people, good with sales, understood the concept of what I was selling very well.

And then I started selling commercial insurance a couple years later. And I started selling to businesses and corporations and big and small. And that's when I fell in love with the insurance world because I got to meet people who were building important things and doing things that are important.

Liz Sears 3:27

And a lot like our listener base.

And when you got into it, there was one location, right?

Kyle Corbridge 3:29

Yes. Right. And, and it was fun for me because I got to go in and see what they were doing, how they're doing it and what their risk assessment wasn't able to protect them in their company. And so I loved getting to rub shoulders with those individuals. It was very exciting, powerful for me. And that's when I fell in love with it. So shortly thereafter, approached the owner, my father in line, told him I either wanted to buy the company, or I would like to step off on my own. And of course, then we made an agreement to start buying the company at that point, but he was too young to retire. So he stayed on for many, many more years. But 14 more years, as I started that buyout process, and now he has since retired just a few years ago, and and we finalize his buyout completely, but that's kind of the start of how I got into the business originally.

One location, yeah, Casper, Wyoming. It was located and we sorted the state and we did a really good job at servicing that state. You know, we didn't have computers, we had paper files when I started. We didn't have enough stuff. So yeah, it was just that one location.

Nelson Barss 4:28

And how has the business changed since you started the buyout.

Kyle Corbridge 4:31

So a lot has changed. In the years that we started the buyout back in 2006. We have since implemented computer systems. We do everything electronically now. So we can, you know, we have a client walk in our office, we would go to a filing cabinet and pull a file out literally so we could see their portfolio of their policy information. Well, that has obviously long since gone away and everything's done on computer systems. But growth wise, we have really expanded so outside of just Wyoming I mean, we now service many states in the Mountain West area. I think we're at 18 states. Now we just added,

Liz Sears 5:06

Oh my gosh!

Kyle Corbridge 5:06

I added one more about two weeks ago. And so we were continually growing.

Liz Sears 5:11

Because most of your business you're able to do just like on Zoom and phone calls, right?

Kyle Corbridge 5:14

Yeah. And so we can serve zone for license, we can service that we give them the service they need, wherever it may be right and so phone, because the technology, phones and Zoom meeting type conference face to face conferences, we can do that anywhere we we want, it's really nice. In that process, and seven, six, we've done multiple acquisitions of competing agencies, you could say that would do the same type of thing that we do that were either looking to retire or to change their business. And so we went in and assimilated and brought them in and brought them into the bond, agency, fold and family. So we've done four of those in the last 10 years. And so it's really helped us grow. But that's also allowed us to open up an office here in Utah that we have as well.

Nelson Barss 5:56

And you moved here to Utah, as after you open the office right after.

Kyle Corbridge 6:01

So yeah, it was kind of interesting thing. So we, I bought one of my longtime associates out in 2011, is when it was he had a great insurance office here in northern Utah. And he was getting ready to retire I had known him for many years. And so he approached and said, I want to retire. So we bought his business from him. But since he had a good presence in Utah, we decided instead of just running it from our Wyoming office, to actually open a physical location here in the state of Utah. So it would be our second physical location. And at that time, we, we didn't have any employees here because it was just him and his daughter that were working in the office, and she didn't want to stick on. And so I was driving back and forth to Utah and Wyoming. Two weeks of time. It's been two weeks in Utah, two weeks in Wyoming, two weeks, and I got a lot of reading that while reading the audio books. So I learned a lot but so we had just those those two offices. But so we did get a team together took a little bit of time, but we got a team put together for you to office, it's worked out really well. Two years after that acquisition in 2013. We, my wife and I were here doing some family stuff. Some of my family lived in the state of Utah at the time. So we were a family union here. And we just kind of felt this pull, and this need to be here. And we sold our house in Wyoming and had a house under contract. Within just a matter of 24 to 48 hours. I quit. So we moved here in 2013. And decided to keep growing the business from here and it's worked out really well for us so far.

Nelson Barss 6:01

Yeah, that's great. And you still go back to Wyoming quite often?

Kyle Corbridge 6:01

Yeah. So go back. About every six to eight weeks. I'm back there for about a week at a time, sometimes more often, sometimes less. It's easy to for me to drive out there during the summer, the winter months, I don't get out as much weather in Casper is not as good as here. But yeah, I spend a lot of time out there. And of course I'm face to face with every day with our technology. Anyway.

Liz Sears 7:57

Nice. We'll talk to us a little bit about how you started growing the team here. Like how you put it together? What were some of the wins. That worked out nicely, and some of the struggles that you had to work through.

Kyle Corbridge 8:09

Yeah. So and here's here's the thing with putting a team together is that I found is you're never going to get it right every time. Sometimes you hit the jackpot. And sometimes you miss that jackpot. you're swinging a miss, you know, big time. And I'll tell you the first hire we had was a jackpot. Yeah, we were looking for a manager type personnel knowing that I couldn't be here physically every day, traveling back and forth. And Wyoming. We interviewed lots of people found some really good individuals. And I never was really settled. And I'm actually a little ashamed to say that. My father in law is one who approached me at the time as he was still in the business. And he said, Well, what about your really good friend from high school? Brian, he said, What about him is what's he up to? And I'm a little ashamed that I didn't come up with the idea. But anyway, I called Brian, he was managing Chase Bank at the time in a different state. I called him up and to see if he was interested in it. And he quit his job and moved up here in 10 days.

Liz Sears 9:04

Oh, wow, that was fast.

Kyle Corbridge 9:06

And he still to this day is with the company. And he runs our Utah operation perfectly and seamlessly. And he's in charge there. So that was a jackpot hit right? I wish I had come up with that idea. But it was a natural fit because we had, Brian and I have known each other since first grade we're together and and that stuff.

Liz Sears 9:21

So that's a really good one. But so a question for you before we move on from that is that your father in law bringing it up and you saying I wish I would have thought of that? Like what were some of the traits, the personality traits that looking back you're like, Yeah, that would have been exactly what I need to watch for because a lot of our listeners here, sometimes they're looking to hire somebody. So what like what are some of this specific pieces that could be a trigger for them?

Kyle Corbridge 9:45

Yeah. So no, I think all those traits that you're looking for. Everyone wants to hit these really good tricks, you know, the integrity, honesty, the longevity, the loyalty, right? I think the loyalty is the biggest one. You know, he had been you see that he had been With the Washington Mutual companies for many, many years, and they eventually got bought out by Chase, so that's why he was with Chase at the time. But he had worked his way up and was managing a branch and dedicated service to them. So I think that loyalty is really a big factor there. There's some familiarity, which you're not always going to have a familiarity with new hires, we had a very close familiar, because we've known each other for 30 years. Not everyone's going to have that, but that really hardworking, dedicatory spirit that they bring with them to do that. That's probably the biggest thing that really is that that they're they know that you're not bouncing around from job to job all the time, I think is a critical piece.

Nelson Barss 10:38

You know, that stands out to me, though, is your hit. You went for a leader first. Right? Yeah, we're looking for someone to run your Utah operation, someone with management experience. And I think that's almost the exact opposite of what most people visualize, right? It's like, well, I'm gonna get a really cheap assistant, maybe an intern or, you know, VA or some virtual Yeah, right, and go cheap. And that's the 10 times less likely to work out that if you someone who you're looking for who comes in with that experience.

Kyle Corbridge 11:07

That's a good point. And so I think part of the reason I was wanting to hit that high level individual versus is because I wasn't going to be there for a while I was still traveling, I didn't live in Utah full time yet. And so I needed to have a high level person. But looking back, you hit it right on the head is that's why it's been so successful is because we hit that high level person first. And instead of trying to build up to that and start out on the lower entry level person first, hitting that high level job, I think was critical to the success of an operation.

Nelson Barss 11:34

And was he the one then that was interviewing and hiring and building? Yep. So he helped do that process. And I ultimately had this final say, and he would, he would kind of filter him through to me, and we would do some of that. But he ultimately was wasn't involved that process very heavily as well. And he had been doing it in previous positions anyway, so he was familiar with that process.

Liz Sears 11:52

I think it's so interesting and amazing and awesome when you hit that level where you're opening another location, or you're opening another division of your business, where the person that you put into that position is the one who does all the hiring for you. Yeah, just finally reaching that level myself. And it's different. It's interesting.

Kyle Corbridge 12:10

Its nerve wracking, because, I'm a control freak. Right. And I have that death grip on some of those things. Yeah, it's hard for me to let go of those. But when you find a person like Brian, who I have in place, it makes it gives you that breath of fresh air, you can, it's easy to let go of that a little bit. Right. So hiring the right person, hiring the right person is so critical, it lets you loosen up that death grip just a little bit.

Nelson Barss 12:29

I've I thought for a long time, I just was a terrible. delegator until I hired the right person, right? I went through three or four or five of the wrong person that I could never trust and never did.

Liz Sears 12:44

Or when you did trust them, it came back to bite, right? Yeah.

Nelson Barss 12:47

And the lack of trust, they could sense that they didn't enjoy it either, Right? And just the night and day when when there was finally a person that I could trust. And they felt that and they took the trust and ran with it and built upon it.

Kyle Corbridge 13:00

And they build it. And they feel like they've succeeded then to write because they have built, they have your trust, and they have that and they they feel like they have really grown at that position on their own. And so it's, it's really a benefit both ways a win win.

Nelson Barss 13:12

So that was a win.

Kyle Corbridge 13:13

Yes so that was a win. So another story, a couple of swinging misses in between after him, right. And we had a couple that didn't work out so good that, that maybe they were good, and just maybe not the right fit a job because this job isn't for everyone. But we had a couple big strikeouts, we had a couple of really good ones and just end up you know, getting married and moving away out of state and something didn't workout. But then another really good critical hire honestly come are a lot of our really, really good hires that we've had have come from people we know and trust and have those that refer people to us. Funny, Nestle, one of our other key critical employees in my youth office is a daughter of a client of my Wyoming office. And so she called and said, Hey, Are you by chance hiring and your Utah office? My daughter's looking for a job, and because of the relationship I had with her and her husband? I said, Yeah, and so we brought her in and hired her and she's been with us around nine years now in our in our Utah office. And it's just so critical to the operation has been really, a really good hire. But again, it could came from another familiarity. Right? And so.

Liz Sears 14:20

Yeah, they say word of mouth is almost more powerful than all of the great online employment sites. Yeah, question for you on the swing in a miss people. So on some of those, what were some of the lessons learned that in hindsight now, if you find yourself in a similar situation, and if you could give the, you know, terrible, awful details, so that way, you know, we can learn from it too. That would be fantastic.

Kyle Corbridge 14:43

Well, I think the biggest thing that I've learned in those mistakes, is when you as soon as you know what's wrong, make a change. I have in many occasions because you want to be the nice guy. You don't want to hurt people's feelings, you know, whatever. Maybe you hold on to them too long. And I think if I've learned anything, and I have tried to implement, even sometimes when we still make the mistakes, is, when you figure out that it's wrong, don't wait to make the change, get rid of them, they're going to be grateful for it. Because if you're not happy, most, most likely, chances are they're not happy with what's going on either, right? And they're, they're frustrated, they're unhappy with whatever may be going on. And so when you figure that out, it's easier just to make the change sooner rather than later. That's probably my biggest thing I've learned. It's hard, because you don't want to be the bad guy, you know?

Nelson Barss 15:30

Well then you want to coach them up, and you want to help. And I've been through that, too. It's, it's always, I mean, I have yet to see where there was somebody that was kind of heading down the wrong path that I was able to somehow miraculously turn around, right or change the relationship, but it always ended bad. And and the fact that I tried so hard, made it worse, right?

Kyle Corbridge 15:51

Right and some people are natural fit for the job. And some of the people who don't work out, they're a natural fit for another job. And so by letting them move on to something else, you're truly benefiting them just as much as you're benefiting your company by making that change soon.

Nelson Barss 16:04


Liz Sears 16:04

Yeah, we have one right now that the conversation actually was that we really did realize the job description we had given her was not in alignment with her strengths. It was like in alignment with somewhere she really struggles. And as we had her doing that job, we realized, oh, my gosh, this is not working the way we wanted it to. And so how to have that conversation to say, look, we want to transition your job description,not because you suck at this, but because well, you do. But it's also because your strength is here, and you're not enjoying your job, we're not getting our money's worth. And it was funny because I did use that term, and it kind of hurt her feelings. But later when we were talking about it, I'm like, when you can have that empowerment feeling of you don't have to be good at everything. And it's fine, that that's not your strength, let's maximize where your strength is, because that's what we need. Have you ever heard that?

Kyle Corbridge 16:55

Well if you have an organization large enough for you, when you were you find someone whose strengths aren't right in a position to have and you can then transition them into a position that is their strength? That's really, really amazing. And sometimes not every organization is going to have that opportunity to transition into a different part.

Liz Sears 17:10

Or not an opening.

Kyle Corbridge 17:11

Or just not an opening, right? or something, but, but if you have that ability, and you recognize the strength and you need it in your company somewhere, that's a great ability to have to do that. Recognizing that is huge. I think there was as a boss, if you want to say you're an entrepreneur, or a business owner, be able to recognize your strengths and be able to to tap into those is critical, I think in having your organization be successful. Yeah, exactly.

Nelson Barss 17:35

Well, I have for a long time, I've really admired your work life balance. That's one of the reasons I wanted to have you here. Okay, I know you're your family, you have a wonderful family and you you have a wonderful business as well. And they don't rob each other. Right. I've seen how, you know.

Liz Sears 17:51

Yeah he talks about how he sees you going on vacations going on. He's like, "Wait, I want that."

Nelson Barss 17:55

I call you on like a Friday afternoon. I'm just drowning. And he's like, Yeah, I'm on the way home for the week.

Liz Sears 18:01

I'm voting!

Nelson Barss 18:03

And I just I'd love to just get into the nuts and bolts of of how your operation runs. And if I could use an analogy, this comes from a book I read, clockwork business by Mike McCalla wits, who we heard of that, he talks about the difference between a player on the field, a coach on the sideline, and an owner in the owners box. Right. And I feel like you may be one of our guests who's more living the life of a business owner, and you have coaches and you have players. But I'd love to just hear the organization. How does it work? And and what advice you have for someone who struggles with work life balance?

Kyle Corbridge 18:40

Yeah. So this is so that people when they start a business, we got to start off from the beginning, I think is they they started because they want to do this because of the benefits it brings, eventually. And I think they forget that eventually sometime. Right. And so there's a lot of work that goes into getting to the point where even Imad, I don't think I've made it all the way for sure. Because I, I still put a lot of work in. But I definitely have the ability to take some of the Leisure's that business owners enjoy. But it's, it doesn't start off that way immediately. So I have a great team, I have 15 employees that work underneath, underneath me in some way, shape, or form. And because we take the time and opportunity to make sure we hire the right people at the right time. And they are very good at what they do. It frees up so much of my time and my ability, they're a lot better at their job than I am at their job. I can't do what they do. I don't want to do what they do. That's why they're doing it. And so I have the opportunity to watch them succeed and grow and do the things but by them being so good at what they're doing. It does free up so much of my time to to be outside looking in and kind of running the business like you said maybe up in the owners box a little bit right and so the work life balance is nice. So I do enjoy to travel. That's probably one of my favorite things in life to do is to see different places in the country and different places in the world, but allow my kids to enjoy those experiences as well. And so there are opportunities that we do take on occasion to leave the office, leaving go places for three, four or five days at a time. And do I stay connected the office long way, of course, I mean, as a business owner, it's hard to really completely disconnect. But instead of being right in their face, in my voice background for eight to 10 hours a day, I'm on the phone with them or an email, 30 minutes a day while I'm away. And so I'm able to do that, because they know that I trust them to do their job, they know that they're better at the job than I am anyway. And so they know what their duties and responsibilities are to do that.

Liz Sears 20:45

So part of it, like you just said, is getting to the point where the job description that you expect them to do has been very thoroughly documented. It's been very thoroughly trained, and then now you're supervising to make sure that it happens.

Kyle Corbridge 20:57

Yeah, so that does start at the very beginning. So we have an employee manual that we have that they've got to understand. And we have a procedure manual that helps them identify their job duties and responsibilities for that particular position. And sometimes it's even shared position, because we have three people do the exact same thing,

Liz Sears 21:13

Which is nice, because then when one's gone, the others cover.

Kyle Corbridge 21:15

The others can do it right. So they all have a very clear and good understanding of that. But then having it documented, you mentioned were documented, so that it's clear, so they have a reference come back to you, if they're not sure what to be done. They don't have to come to me every single time like what am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to do this? It's a written document a procedure that they can refer back to.

Liz Sears 21:35

So is it in a physical book? Or how do you have that?

Kyle Corbridge 21:37

It is and well, we do print it, but it is a digital format, we have it online in our on our shared file on our computer system, but it is printed the most of them, keep it in a drawer in the desk and pull it out and refer to it, some people pull it up right on on their PDF on their computer to refer to it when they need to. But having that is really helpful to them, because they know what to do the responsibilities are and if we add and take away sometimes their duties, but not just knowing their duties, but how to do their duties to and so that they're they're performing it efficiently and well.

Nelson Barss 22:04

So tell us some of the roles, some of the different jobs in your office. But one of the different roles?

Kyle Corbridge 22:09

Yes, we have two full departments. So we have what's called a personalized division, they handle you know, the home and all the boats and all the toys. That's what they handle, they intake that a from beginning all the way through to the end, and then continue to service it throughout time. We have a commercial lines division, which is all your your business owners, which apparently your audience today, right, and so what they handle all the servicing of the commercial insurances that there are. So in each division, they kind of have a lot of the same levels of people. So we have customer service reps, they handle the incoming phone calls, they handle some of the smaller service needs that they may have, then we have account executives that kind of a little bit higher, where they're really dealing face to face with the intricate details of their policies, servicing them, what's covered what's not maybe making some of the important visits to and from the office. And with those individuals, they're kind of the face of my company with that client. So client a, they know that they have a site account executive. And they know that instead of reaching me and contacting me, they'd work directly with that account executive to handle all their business needs. And sometimes that account executive will hand it off to one of the CSRS for one of those things to to handle some of that processing. And then you have producers like myself, who actually bring in the business who helped sell and bring those in. And they're kind of the initial salesman, if you will to bring the business and it kind of help the marketing of the of the company. So those are kind of the levels of individuals we have in the they each kind of work harmoniously with each other to make sure that it all is handled seamlessly and each of their divisions commercial and personalized departments.

Nelson Barss 23:43

So your producers the sales people. Do they have assistants in teams? Or is it really the team's not stepping until after the deals done?

Kyle Corbridge 23:50

Yeah. So they they don't really step into all of the deals. So they'll sell the business. They may have some help in the office, getting those those quotes and policies, everything put together. But once that business is sold and brought into the office, it's handed off to one of those account executives, and they help service it from there so that the salesman producer can go out and continue to work on other new business.

Liz Sears 24:11

Yeah, so thats a very clean handoff.

Kyle Corbridge 24:13

A very clean handoff. Yeah. And does that salesman still involved? Sure, but not on the day to day operations at the account executives are there their job is to bring in the new business and account executives and CSRS is to maintain that and service that business that they're bringing in.

Liz Sears 24:27

So how give an example of how the conversation looks to a client for that handoff.

Kyle Corbridge 24:33

Yeah, so it's simple. As they sell a business, they say, Hey, so you have a point of contact day to day so you know who you're going to deal with. I'm going to hand you off to the account executive a and they we have a name we have a picture. You know, sometimes we even have a video now due to some marketing companies that we work with that we can email that for an E for a video introduction, so they have a face and name, a little bit of personal info about that account executive at that salesperson is handing them off to. So they know who they're doing with and has all their contact information right there. So it's done a lot of it virtually, of course, and they had they make that handoff virtually. And then that account executive then reaches out to them proactively and sees what they need from there on. And so that person that client knows from day one, who they're supposed to deal with, there's no ambiguity, it makes it a little bit easier for them to to know a contact directly hitting me.

Nelson Barss 25:27

I can imagine I mean, think if I, if I think about my own life, and what took me so long to actually build a team, it was fear of that handoff, right? It was like, Okay, I don't want someone to feel cheated, because I'm the one that sold and now they get someone else. Right?

Kyle Corbridge 25:43

Yeah, so I have that same fear, even still to this day, right. But by putting the right people in place, it does make it a little bit easier. But I think as a business owner, and as a salesperson, as a leader, you're always going to want to have that connection with that person that you dealt with initially, right? But knowing that by having the right people in place, it makes it easier, because I know that my team is going to service them faster, more efficiently, and way better than I can. Now there might be some coverage questions and some things that come up that they come back to me with. But overall the connection with that person, it's so much easier with my team than it is with me.

Nelson Barss 26:23

And what I found now is that if I have a team who's handling well, all the all of the hard parts, when I make a contact with the client, it's more of a relationship call, right? It's, it's how is my team doing? How are we taking care of you? What else can I help you with? It's, it's a different kind of call, it's still a relationship, but I would never have had that call. If I was buried in the weeds of the process. Right, whatever.

Kyle Corbridge 26:46

So that's, that's what I do like is because I get to manage those relationships a little bit differently than my than my team does. I get it reach out and say, Hey, I'm just checking in, want to see if you've made any changes? How are things going instead of like, oh, there's a problem. We reached out to you. I leave that to maybe some of them. And on some of those/

Nelson Barss 27:03

"Why haven't you signed this page?" Right?

Kyle Corbridge 27:05

Right yeah "why I'm still waiting for this?" like, why haven't I got it, like, my team can take care of that. So I get to do a little bit more of the building and maintaining the relationship on a good friendly basis. Because as most businesses, it's about relationships. And, and I can't contact every single person every single day. But having a team to be able to handle that stuff really makes a big difference.

Liz Sears 27:27

Alright, so next question I have for you, Kyle is I know that your company has a significantly lower turnover than a lot of insurance companies I know. And so I'd love for you to share with us, what are some of your ways that you do that?

Kyle Corbridge 27:37

Yes, that's, that's important to us, really is important. Our team members, we actually call them family members, we are a family owned business. And we have been and we maintain the family status, even inside the walls of our office, we treat them as family. And so we try to create that atmosphere, even during work hours where people can feel comfortable broaching any subject, they come into my office closed door, and if they can feel comfortable knowing that whatever we talked about can be private in there. But we also create an atmosphere where we felt they're our employees are our best asset we have as a company. And so we feel by taking care of them.

Liz Sears 28:17

They want to set the example Yeah, taking care of them.

Kyle Corbridge 28:19

They'll take care of us and also turn that around take care of our clients as family because we want to create that atmosphere. And so we try to create a benefit structure for them to feel like they can stay and make a career out of working for our agency. A lot of agencies

Liz Sears 28:36

Was that in place when you bought the business?

Kyle Corbridge 28:39

Mostly? Yes, it was. And I think I think I've inherited that desire, because of buying it from the previous owner, his desire to make it make it that way. And so most everything was in place that way, and had been really ingrained in me as I've grown in the business. I've seen how that's benefited our business

Liz Sears 28:55

No pun intended there? Haha.

Kyle Corbridge 28:59

Yeah and so it really has benefited our business atmosphere, right. And so we make sure that they have their emotional, their, especially their financial needs met. Because it's important, we want them to be taken care of, we want them to feel like they can be part there for a long time. We want them to belong because it's expensive to get someone in, it's expensive to get them trained, and the wrong hire the wrong hire. And so when you get the right ones, you want to make sure that they are there for a long time because that it takes in in our in our business when you get someone brand new, who doesn't have the training and licensing, it takes them six to 12 months to really be a profitable employee. And so you're spending a lot of time and energy and money to get them to be profitable.

Liz Sears 29:40

So what are some of the culture building things that you do that help have that feeling?

Kyle Corbridge 29:44

Um, so we we do have a family atmosphere so we we have we find every occasion we can have food at the office right and so but we all participate now everyone gets to bring stuff and we have it in the break room and we all kind of take a break and we have potluck type we go potluck type things Regular occasion, we celebrate family occasions, whether it's a birthday, or a wedding or a baptism, whatever may be in any of our employees we celebrate together as an office. And it's even during office hours, we participate in those things. And so we've we find it very opportunistic that we get to celebrate these things. And we all know the names of their kids and, you know, their boyfriends or girlfriends, you know, we get to know those individuals. And they're, they're like that family with us.

Liz Sears 30:28

So do you ever have dog day at the office?

Kyle Corbridge 30:31

No, but that's a good thought.

Liz Sears 30:32

I just popped in my head. I've never done that, either. Yeah, I mean, we've had like, we've had a couple impromptu where people will bring their dogs to the office. And it turns into like a party but not on regular plan.

Nelson Barss 30:44

We've had a couple dogs visit to it really does. We've like it.

Kyle Corbridge 30:47

We've had dogs, but I've never had a dog day. But that might be fun to do, because we all know our dogs and things. But we do feel like it's really nice, because people feel very comfortable when they need to take some time for family things. They aren't hesitant to make sure they they ask for those things. They feel like their family is protected in our office. They know that family is number one, they know that family comes first. And we know that we have a business run, we know that we have to run a business, we have to take care of those things. But families always first, if that includes our employees, families, their families are always first. You know,

Nelson Barss 31:21

The word that comes to mind with all that is commitment. I remember talking to a business owner who was so frustrated because of turnover. And he had an employee that left because all this other company offered full time 40 hours a week and benefits. And he said we'll never have that for our employees and happens to be in the same industry as you right. And remember thinking if you want them to be committed to you, you have to be committed to them as well. Right? Yeah. And what do you say? I mean, I think the struggle, knowing knowing his business and many businesses is the cost, like what does it really cost to provide that level of commitment to your, to your employees?

Kyle Corbridge 32:02

A lot. So our our benefit package, it far exceeds any of our expenses and our office. When when you mentioned that benefits, offices, my size and in my industry don't normally offer the benefits that we do. We're one of the very few of the insurance brokerages are size that offer full benefits. So we we pay 100% of our employees health insurance, we have a retirement plan, that is 100% employer contribution, it's not a match, we contribute 100% of their retirement. And it's a profit sharing plan. So some years it's 7%. Some years, it's 13%. But we've never been lower than 5%. And usually people are getting their annual salary. Wow, usually employers are doing a three to 5% match. If they participate. Well, it's hard to participate sometimes in those. And so we want to make sure that they're taking care of so we give 100% of the contribution depending on what that level is, but we've never been under 5%, we pay 100% of their health insurance.

Nelson Barss 33:02

Which is big. I mean, we do health insurance in our office, and it is a huge expense. And it is we do not pay 100% I can't imagine it would.

Kyle Corbridge 33:10

So it's with an office our size. I mean, it's literally hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year between all the benefits. But do you want your employees to stick around? Is it is it easier for me to have an employee where I spend a little bit extra time and money on every single month or over the years, and I have them stick around for 7,8,9,10 years, or to have a turnover wherever 18 months I'm trying to get someone new and a hassle training. Does it cost us money? Absolutely. But it it makes it so much easier in the long run for them and for us, because they feel like they're taken care of and they are dedicated to the business just as much as we're trying to dedicate to them.

Liz Sears 33:47

That's amazing. I feel like I haven't grown up yet. Because we don't really have a benefits package. And Nelson was telling me about, you know, kind of the starting one with the dental vision, you know, life insurance, things like that. And then also medical whether, you know, you give them a stipend that they can use towards whatever or offering like so you have in your own company. You have the medical like group plan, basically?

Kyle Corbridge 34:10

We do. Yeah, so we provide it in it's a group plan for all of our employees that they participate in.

Nelson Barss 34:16

group plans are not I mean, I have a very small team, I think we did our group plan when we had less than 10 people, right? It's not, it's really not impossible to get it if you want to offer it and you don't have to start by paying 100%. But I think that you know the key I keep thinking of as your your assistant who's nine years with you, right? Can you imagine how much easier your life would be if you had someone who's nine years in and knew that much about your business about your your clients and their processes.

Kyle Corbridge 34:47

Well the nuances of how I worked. I mean, so that person understands how I work and my workflows and they're ahead of things faster than I can be ahead of things right. I get a phone call, and she's typing me all the information on my little you know, chat screen. And so by the time I even get the phone call answered, she's got all the information of what she already knows I need Yeah, up on my screen. And so there's nuances by having someone long a long term there with you that make it, make it worth that extra time.

Nelson Barss 35:12

Definitely worth it, I think, I think like I said, you just got to show some commitment, it doesn't have to be, you know, all the way there. But if you're if those who are listening, if you're struggling, because that intern just went back to school and quit, right, I gotta get another intern because I can't afford? Well, I think, I think you can't afford to keep doing this on the cheap. At some point, you have to commit to some people, so they can commit back to you, and you can build a true team.

Liz Sears 35:38

And, you know, let me actually just pause here to because you were talking about the hierarchy, the breakdown of that, or structure of your company that you have those that are sales, people who earn, you know, go find the clients and things in your in that group. And then you have your account managers who are like the ones who own the client, you know, portfolio or whatever it is for each client. And then you have the customer service representatives, who kind of take care of just all the busy work title pieces to assist them. And so when somebody feels like they can't hire somebody, in your opinion, you know, getting those people below so that you can focus your time and effort on finding new clients. That's right, that's where the money comes in.

Kyle Corbridge 36:17

That's where the money and that's where you really see your, your, your company growth, right, you get to a point where, before you're hiring people, you're trying to do all those jobs, you can't grow anymore, you've reached a limit. And by able, by being able to get these people put in place, you're able to focus on that growth. And it really makes that growth come exponentially once you get the right people in place on that.

Nelson Barss 36:39

And I would say living at that limit is miserable. Oh my gosh, it's usually limited. It's usually not a real good profitable place to be, you're not really flying high enough above the ground to avoid those occasional crash months. And those crash months come because you have nobody to take care of the busy work the business so you can prospect, right? It's just a it's a horrible lifetime, I probably spent 15 years on that personal limit of what I could do all by myself, never trusting the team members that I had. And so just I just want to encourage anybody who's living at that limit to really consider the minute I hired a person who could take over the loans that were locked for me and I trusted her. It was like, it was like taking the lid off the top of the jar. And there's just so much more business to be had that I was missing, because I just didn't have the time to do anymore.

Kyle Corbridge 37:38

That makes a big difference for sure. I want to if I can I want to go back just briefly and I don't know. But I want to go back briefly talking about the employee benefits for just a second. I want to mention that there's a lot of gratification as a business owner, to be able to provide those, those benefits to an employee at that gratification makes a lot of it worth it to me because they really are making my life in case of my employees, they make me look a lot better than I really am. They do so much they really have earned the ability to have those benefits. And so is there a lot of gratification and being able to say, we're going to provide this for you, because they do so much for the company. And like I said, they make us look so much better than we really are. And so for anyone who who does listen to this, is it a? Is it a leap of faith is a leap of money? It is and when you're able to get there, I mean, you got to make sure you're financially stable to do it. But push yourself because it's worth it because the employees do know and recognize that as the benefit. And it really binds that loyalty to you. I think that's why into your case that we've had so little turnover out of the last 20 years of business. So

Nelson Barss 38:59

Yeah, yeah, that's a great, that's a great story. Well, are you ready for our fire round for our rapid fire? Questions? Yeah, that's good. We'll wrap it up with these are questions we ask every guest and we want you to answer them in one minute or less. All right, okay. All right. What is your favorite podcast

Liz Sears 39:17

Besides ours. Of course,

Kyle Corbridge 39:18

Yeah. Well, since you put that caveat, I was gonna say that but with that caveat, I will say "Increase your impact" by jet with Justin Sua.

Nelson Barss 39:25

Justin Sua.

Kyle Corbridge 39:26

Yeah, awesome. It's just a very short podcast. daily things but it's super powerful. I really like it

Nelson Barss 39:31

Cool. I'll check it out. What's your favorite business book?

Kyle Corbridge 39:35

There's lots I'm gonna say like 21 irrefutable.

Nelson Barss 39:44

Laws 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership?

Kyle Corbridge 39:46

Jhansi. Maxwell.

Nelson Barss 39:47

Okay. Yeah, I have that I've like read twice.

Kyle Corbridge 39:50

Yeah, it's good luck.

Nelson Barss 39:52

How many hours a day do you work?

Kyle Corbridge 39:54

But six to 10

Nelson Barss 39:57

hours a day. Do you want to work?

Kyle Corbridge 39:58

Right now? Six to 10 Because I love what I do. I like doing what I do. So right now, I do want to work six to 10 hours 10, 12 years from now, two to five.

Nelson Barss 40:08

What do you, who do you really look up to in the business world as a role model? And why?

Kyle Corbridge 40:14

This is a loaded question, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna go with something that maybe a lot of people don't know. But it probably my brother. He really is the epitome of an entrepreneur. He started many businesses. He's seen the height of success in his businesses, and he's lost his businesses and how to do bankruptcy. And so he right now does have a very, very successful business. He's built an amazing team. And I run things by him all the time. He is a great, great leader, a great business mind, and he would probably be probably the business leader, I would look up to most.

Nelson Barss 40:49

What is the one best piece of advice you can share with our audience?

Kyle Corbridge 40:53

Ah, I'm going to I'm going to put into and apologize, I'm gonna say do what you love, and love what you do. Because if you're if you hate what you do every day, you're gonna do some of the wrong, you've got to love what you're doing. That's the first thing advice. My second one is to be kind. There's a lot of opportunity in this world for us to not be kind. And I think one of the greatest things in my life that has allowed me and my business to grow, is simply being kind to people I run into every day.

Nelson Barss 41:23

Yeah. Well, awesome. Well, I would say that level of commitment you have to your business being being there six to 10 hours a day and being kind of committed, it really is paying off for you. I think your people can tell I think the employees and your customers.

Kyle Corbridge 41:37

Thank you I look up to both of you immensely is watching you. I knew you both before you both started your brokerage. Use your services before you started your brokerage and to see where you guys have come in a short period of time in the teams that you have built. I can see why you have this podcast to build teams because you guys are living what you're preaching and are building it. And so I hope the listeners to your podcast really understand the influence that you guys have on everyone's life that you're affiliated with. So I look up to you guys immensely as well.

Nelson Barss 42:05

Thank you. Well, how can our listeners find you and get a hold of you? And

Kyle Corbridge 42:09

That's right, you know, our website, There is no D bond. A lot of people say we're James like James Bond, we're not here

Liz Sears 42:17

Like Bon Marchais, but old school Bon agency.

Kyle Corbridge 42:21

And then our phone number is on there as well. 801-773-7570. I'm not really active on personal social media, I have them but I don't really participate in them. But then we do have some social media sites on there and Facebook and stuff for our our businesses out there. So.

Nelson Barss 42:38

Well, I couldn't speak highly enough of your service as an insurance agent, specially you do some of the stuff for my business, all this commercial stuff. He does all the commercial stuff for my business and just have really appreciated your expertise and service and so I highly recommend you if somebody is looking for a good business consultant and a risk advisor. I think they couldn't do better than to hire you.

Kyle Corbridge 42:59

Thank you. That means a lot coming form you thank you. I Appreciate it.

Nelson Barss 43:01

Okay, thank you, Kyle.

Kyle Corbridge 43:02

Thank you guys.

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