The Hive Five Podcast
5 Key Takeaways from John Roan
1. Treat others as you want to be treated.
2. Be yourself at work.
3. Do the right thing for other people.
4. Be a part of your community.
5. Education is especially valuable in insurance.
In this episode of the Person Behind the Professional, we are excited to be talking with John Roan, a Farmers Insurance agent in Sachse, Texas. John started his agency 2016, but before that had 23 years as an executive in the retail industry with multiple department stores. He and his family also own and operate horse stables as well. All of these ventures stem from him and his family’s desire and love of serving their community.
We discuss with John the events that spurred his transition from being a corporate executive to being a local insurance agent after 23 years. The thought process began when his community was hit by a devastating tornado and he knew people directly that had lost everything. He became intrigued when he began hearing stories and news reports that around 100 homes in the community weren’t rebuilt by their owners due to a lack of proper insurance coverage. John and his wife did a lot of thinking and research about how they could address this problem and serve people in their community. They ended up settling on Farmers Insurance and he’s grown his agency for the last two years.
John’s agency offers personal lines coverage including auto insurance, home insurance, motorcycle insurance, boat insurance, RV insurance, life insurance, and more. He also offers business insurance for general liability and/or workman’s comp for both large and small businesses. Lastly, they offer financial services through their agency as well.
Some other topics discussed in this episode include what it’s like to run a horse stable, how John’s teenage daughters are both helping in the stable and what benefit it’s been to them, the enjoyment of working with family, and his transition of experience from corporate America to local insurance agent. Please rate and review this episode to let us know what you think!
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So yes, it is an every day event, so every day before I come into the office I’d get up early and go out into our horse stables and we’ll feed in what we call, we’ll clean the stalls where we call it mucking and then we were at least the horses into the pastures and uh, I do that every morning before I come in.
Thanks for listening today. My name is Keagan, and this is the Person Behind the Professional, we’re excited to have John Roan, Farmers Insurance agent in Sachse, Texas. He’s been an insurance agent since 2016. But don’t let that
time for you. He has had an amazing amount of experience as an executive for over 20 years at multiple department stores in addition to running his insurance agency. He owns and operates horse stables. So if you’re looking for him at his office and he’s not there, he may just be feeding his horses or doing what he loves most. Serving this community. John, thanks for being here today.
Thank you for your time.
Hey John. So tell us just a little bit about yourself. I mean, you, you started in the insurance agents out in the world, 2016, but you have a wealth of knowledge. I got to talk to you a little bit a couple of weeks ago and man, you, you started out in the retail industry many years ago. Tell us a little bit about what made you come from the retail to insurance.
Sure. Yes. So my background obviously, um, that you mentioned earlier is I was an executive. I’m in the retail industry for the past 23 years and I’m at the end of 2015. We had a tornado hit our community and um, it was very close to our home. So a lot of our neighbors and even a couple of family members were hit by the tornado and pretty much lost everything in the process. Um, as you know, we started going through, we get four or five weeks out, we start hearing the stories of there were over almost a hundred homes in our town that did not get rebuilt by the current owners. They just weren’t properly insured. They didn’t have enough insurance coverage to rebuild their home and they wound up having to just sell their property the land. And to me, that baffled me, you know, I didn’t know much about it.
I’d been, you know, obviously been with the same, you know, with one agent for a really long time. It just really shocked me that that could happen and that during, when things were at their worst, you know, that that was actually happening to some of my people, my community. So at that time I was ready, you know, we own horse stables. We were already working in the community and in my wife and I were wanting to know how could we get closer to our neighbors and do more in the community. And that’s how I got into the insurance business. You know? So the goal was to start our own company. We did a lot of research on who we were going to represent and just make sure that the people that we insure rather family friends, neighbors, that our number one goal was to make sure that if they were going to do business with us, that they were going to have proper insurance for the time of need. So that’s how we got into the insurance business
in retail for many, many years. Why did you, why did you decide to leave that?
It was one of those things where we wanted something different in our life and we wanted to be closer to our community and versus me running 1200 stores, which I was currently doing for at the time. Um, we decided to open our own business, started a second business and do something where we can help. It was just very rewarding and that’s really why we decided it wasn’t even a decision based on income or anything. We just, based on we wanted to work in our community and do something different and help others. And we thought this was the best way to do it.
Can you talk to us a little bit about your experience of being an executive and a leader in a retail company and how that has played a huge part in you opening the agency and in your success as an agent?
Well, as far as running the company, it helps me understand first of all, the financial side of running a business. Secondly, I worked with a lot of people. I hadn’t really large teams. I got to work. I was fortunate enough to work with some great people of all ages and it really helped me with communicating with people. I’m learning to listen to people, what’s important to them, and then helping them out after I’ve sat and listened and share with them what I’ve learned and listened to what they may think is important to them and share with them advice to help them now get proper insurance.
Why do you guys enjoy horses so much?
Well, we got into the business initially, got into the horse stables. We had teenage daughters. They’re twins that are 15 and years ago. They started riding horses and we’re taking lessons and the opportunity came up for us to buy a piece of property that also had large facility on it for stables, indoor arena, outdoor arena and horse stables. So we got there, we decided we were going to turn this into a business which would allow our daughters to take care of their horses, work around other horses, even school on the grounds you do online schooling on the grounds. But, but what it turned into is it turned into a way where we got into the community that we just never thought would happen from we are now, you know, taking care of horses for local police department. We are taking care of horses for some retired people, some college students, some high school students, some Rodeo riders.
We have all kinds of clients in. Every one of them are different, have some type of different personality along with their animals. But we, I’m in the process. We’ve, that’s allowed us to do other things such as we’ve been able to rescue animals from rescuing horses, donkeys, cats. Um, and it’s even allowed us to help some of the disabled, um, kids in the community to use maybe you know, our facilities as a way to help them either deal with some element they have or help them in some time of need as a release for them. So we’ve been able to use the staples is not just a small business but as a way to help and give back to the community
and being a part of the community. This community that you’re in,
well the talent we live in is only about or the town that, that the agency is open. It’s only about 20,000 people, but with how close to the communities are, you know, it’s probably about 100,000 people combined between the three different communities that we really service
to serve with you and your wife in these community things that you’re doing as well.
Yes. So, um, our entire family operates the horse stables. And so for my daughter’s seven, seven days a week, no matter what’s going on, they are out there taking care of other people’s horses, rather be just taking care of them or helping them train them. Yes, they’re very responsible for their age.
Do you guys have any other employees or anything? But I think that you actually do some of the workers.
It is owned and operated by our, by our meaning myself, my wife and my two daughters. So yes it is an everyday event. So every day before I come into the office I get up early and go out into our horse stables and we’ll feed in what we call a clean the stalls or we call it. And then we were at least the horses into the pastures. And uh, I do that every morning before I come in.
So let’s talk about your family just a little bit. If you don’t mind. And you know, I, I respect you so much for having your twin twin daughters. I’m actually a twin myself and I know that’s, that’s a special thing there. But, but also having your daughters working together and just working at an early age I think is just so important. What have you seen has, has been important in that scope of working and training your, your children, your daughters to, to go out into the world and actually provide for themselves and in and work for themselves.
Such a young age, mature for their age. So not only the girls are getting exposure to a lot of different adults, you know, different owners from them being policeman to just other owners and they have relationships with each one of them. So, so for me, um, you know, my daughters as they do an online school format, which is very similar to what a lot of college students do, their professors are online. It’s allowed them to set their own schedules, understand what they have to do to meet all their deadlines for their schooling, which they do on their own and you know, and keep good grades. But then it allows them to decide when it’s best for them to do their school and what time they need for that. And also to still, you know, to meet whatever demands they have to take care of their own horses or help someone else with the horse. But it’s made them very, very mature, very responsible at a young age. And there’s not a lot of distractions that sometimes some kids, I think it caught into these days, um, that I see some of my other friends and other kids get caught into. I really don’t see that or we’re not facing that at this point with our 15 year old girls
taking care of horses is much different than taking care of a dog.
Oh, absolutely. Yes. On a horse you can, um, uh, you can, you could do something wrong and it could kill the horse. You could just speed at one night the wrong way or do something, make a mistake and you could kill the horse. So you have to be, um, you have to understand. And these are animals that you have to be very careful with what they do. You have to understand what’s going on with them. And same time, like I said, you know, one of my daughters is already deciding that she wants to be a vet, so, you know, on a monthly basis we may have five or six, six different vets out at our facility treating different horses. We have horses fairs that are there that may be there taking care of the horses feet and shoeing the horses. So there’s a lot of different exposures they get ’em while they’re out there with stables.
And if I say what it was, I’ll probably mess it up here. But. But there were some intricate details on you that you were involved with yarn and the selection and the actual production of yarn. Is that true?
Yes, it’s true. So I spent 11 years as director of merchandising at Michael’s arts and crafts. Um, at one point during that time period I was responsible for different parts of the company. And at one point I was responsible for the yarn and fabric that the company sold. And when you have 1200 stores, it’s a large category. It could be three to $400,000,000, their responsibility. So I was responsible for yarn and when your response for yarn or when I’m a merchant, has a merchant, I would not just determine the product that we bought. When you go in there, when you walk into a store, the way it was merchandisers setup was coming from directions for me. The prices that was on the product was coming from me. The cells that were on the practice coming from the marketing that you would see twice a week was coming for me setting it up. So basically as a merchant you were running all aspects of the company they have to do with that product and yarn was one of the categories I ran. So that involved. I’m not just meeting with vendors to buy it, but also creating a private brand label. I’m developing yarn, working with factories both local and abroad to create that yard yarn. And so I did that for almost three years.
You would never think that that yarn would be that big of a deal, but it really is. I mean, this is a big deal for a lot of people and it takes a lot of work to just get that yarn sold from, from what I can.
Oh, absolutely. And again, there’s a yarn community out there. It’s just like we talked about with horses. There are people that are passionate about that, that is a craft. Anybody that has a craft or there be yarn or paper crafting, wherever that may be. They’re very passionate about it and there’s a lot of community around that. So for instance, in yarn there’s, there are people that meet even in their jobs. Um, we would go see them, they would meet at lunchtime, they might get together with 20 people and they might do, you know, be making scarves that they’re going to donate in the wintertime to the homeless or there’s a big community. So the community is a great community there. They’re really pleasant people. And so yeah, that was an enjoyable job.
Yeah, it sounds fascinating. Well, John, tell us a little bit about the, the products that you offer and also the companies that you represent.
Well, I’m an agent of farmer’s insurance, so I am representing farmers insurance, um, with the exception of business, you know, we can issue farmers and then there’s some other alternatives when it comes to business insurance, but as far as insurance, we’re going to offer personal lines, which means your auto, your home, any of your toys you may have. And when I say toys, it could be motorcycles, boats, rvs. We also offer a business insurance here so we could help any small or large business with whatever needs they have, whether it be general liability or workman’s comp. And then, you know, we also offer financial services here so we can pretty much help you with everything in insurance with the exception of health insurance. And then we can also help you with any of your findings with any financial services.
That’s great. And one thing we do like to ask from you for our listeners is five key takeaways that maybe you’ve learned over over the years of, of working or family or community. What would those five be?
Whenever I think of five things that I would take away, one would probably be treat others as you want to be treated, respect everyone, be yourself when you’re at work, don’t act the way you think people want you to act. Do that. Be Yourself and be yourself and treat others the way you want to. Um, when I think locally it’s like do the right thing for other people. So I think about insurance and for me when I translate, when I say do the right thing and I think about what I currently do, that’s making sure people are properly insured. That’s not hitting a price point to make someone happy with a premium. We don’t do that here. We will not do that. We will first present them with this is what proper insurance looks like and if the price is right, fantastic. If it’s not, at least we can advise you and help you someplace else. For us, it’s also been part of your community, helping your, your family, your friends, your neighbors, whatever. That may be an example, just yesterday we have a brand new client we saw on facebook that she had just had surgery and had something go bad and she needed some things just to get by food just to get by and was asking the community. So we went and bought her groceries yesterday and delivered them
just just a new client and we were doing it even if she wasn’t a client we would have probably done, but it’s just helping people in the community. Um, and I guess the last thing is to us, um, when I think, because you know, we are talking about insurance here, it’s education. Um, uh, for us, every person we meet, we briefly educate them just something they can take away that will probably stick with them the rest of their life to make sure that even if they’re not with us, that they can make proper educated decisions. And if they don’t understand that, where they can go and get that information in something they need, they’ll do briefly.
How do they get in touch with you if they want to learn more? If they want to be educated properly or just learn even more about how your agency is involved in the community, where do they go to do
well first you can just call us at nine. Seven, two, four. One, four. One. That is the office number, something that’s unique about us. When the office is closed, we’re not close. We will answer that number 24 slash seven. And we do, we help people in the weekends. We help people at the evenings because when the office is closed that number is going to our cell phones and uh, and so we will help people at any time. So we’re always available or you can go to j dot Rowan. That’s j a r o a n at farmer’s agent.com is our email which you can reach set also. But we think it’s important to always be available for our clients because typically when they really want us for advice, it’s not during the office hours. We found that it’s evenings and weekends. And so we make ourselves available. And you know, my, my wife is also an agent here. So if you don’t get me, you’ll get my wife when you call that number.
Fantastic. Thank you again for being on with us today and thank you for everyone listening. We want to make sure that everyone that subscribed to the podcast and also gives us a review on what they thought of John Rowan and his community involvement and everything
he’s doing. It’s, it’s definitely inspiring to see someone so involved with community and serving people. Don’t forget, if you are looking for insurance quotes that don’t stink, checkout BriteBee.com. Click get a quote and then type in John Roan’s name and you will find tim there on a profile that gives a little bit more insight on who he is. Everyone have a wonderful day and we will talk to you very soon.
Check out John’s Farmers Agency: https://agents.farmers.com/tx/sachse/johnathon-roan
Connect with John on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-roan-a7561210/
Follow John on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnRoanFarmersInsurance/