The Hive Five Podcast
5 Key Takeaways from Thomas Hoffman
1. Cheaper is not always better in insurance.
2. Know your policy coverages.
3. Bundle your insurance policies when available.
4. Do annual reviews with your insurance agent.
5. Take an inventory of your household.
Today on the Person Behind the Professional we are glad to be talking with Thomas Hoffman. Thomas is a Farmers Insurance Agent in Forney, Texas. He has been with Farmers in a variety of positions, but before that, managed restaurants for a well-known national pizza chain. Through his agency, Thomas can meet almost any of your insurance needs through Farmers, Foremost, or Bristol West.
Thomas just started his agency last year, but had been with Farmers for many years prior in different corporate positions. When he started there, he was single with no kids, and had a very flexible lifestyle. This worked well for his position which required moving locations every three years or so. However, since then he got married and has two kids, so after two moves with the family, they decided to take an opportunity to open an agency and create a more stable lifestyle for their kids to grow up in. It also allows for Thomas to be his own boss and provide him with a more structured work-life balance.
Having just started his agency last year, Thomas talks about some of the things he’s learned in his first year, but also about some of the skills that transferred over from his career in the pizza industry. Adapting and learning from your mistakes is one of the biggest things he’s learned in insurance. He has learned to accept challenges, because as he puts it, if you don’t experience challenges, you won’t know how to overcome them in the future.
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South Korea is very eye opening, very old world culture, at least when I was there were like, um, I remember being at a restaurant. Parents left the tip, they left and the waiter actually checked him down to get a tip back. Says, apparently, they don’t accept tips, which was surprising.
When the going gets rough, you know how the saying goes. Sometimes things happen, life happens and it’s not always our fault. And this podcast will feature real life testimonials from people like you, from good times to bad, funny memories and hard lessons learned. Everyone has a story and everyone has been there from business owners to parents to young adults. The Hive Five aims to tell stories of overcoming the struggles that adulting while celebrating the little victories of life in each podcast. Our guests will give insight to five key takeaways from someone who’s been there and done that, leaving you better than when you started. Thanks for listening today.
My name is Keagan with BriteBee where insurance quotes just don’t sting. And today on the Person Behind the Professional, we’re with Thomas Hoffman, Farmers Insurance agent from Forney, Texas. Thomas has been with Farmers in some way, shape or form for almost 12 years now. And before that was a manager for a well-known national pizza chain. Thanks for being on. Thomas.
Thanks for having me Keagan.
Hey, we’ll go ahead and tell us just a little about your agency and also a little bit about your background.
Sure. Um, my agency located in Forney, Texas. I’ve come from a military background where I got to travel the world. I’m just pretty good experiences. Has his pluses minuses. After that, went to school, graduated two degrees, worked in a pizza chain, chase the money instead of the career and come to the realization I didn’t want to work nights and weekends and 60 hour weeks I, uh, decided to further my career and do something more meaningful. I’m alive and basically grew up, if you will.
Awesome. Well, so tell me a little bit about your military background and that’s something I didn’t know about. So you said you traveled the world. So where would you say some of the best places you’ve visited?
Um, so it was about father that was in the military with that I got to be in Hawaii for nearly five years. That was pretty amazing and I got to be in Korea twice. And just experiencing the Eastern culture, it was pretty eye-opening.
What did, what did you learn from that?
Meaning the travel itself or the, uh,
well, yeah, just what, what did you learn from experiencing those different cultures and also traveling? You mean that? I know that seems probably fun for some, but also I know probably hard for, for a kid and traveling so much.
Are there any experiences you have your pluses and minuses? So being in travel you got to see different parts of the world cultures, but then again, I never got to make those lifelong friendships. So yeah, no, we were at one location. We make these great friends. Next thing I know I’m living somewhere else and start all over. Um, so you gotta take the good with the bad. The friendships, you know, I wish I would’ve kept them longer. Um, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that.
So what would you say with the culture too, what did you learn from there?
So, in Korea is very eye-opening, like they’re still very old world culture at least when I was there were uh, and they’re very honest people to like, um, I remember one time being in a restaurant, um, my parents left the tip, they left and the waiter actually checked him down to get a tip back. Says apparently they don’t accept tips, which was surprising. And there’s the whole old world male dominance where it’s very accepted by the women in Korea where the older generations, the wife never walks in front of the man or a husband, excuse me, or the man has ultimate say. So in a household it’s just something that we’re not used to. Um, I guess here in the states.
Yeah, definitely. That seems like it would be really interesting. And how long were you there for? About two years. Two years. All right. And where else did you travel?
Um, well those are the most, uh, I guess Hawaii, not really an international, but it’s mainly just Korea. We’ve been in different places in the states as well. I’m from California to Texas.
That’s awesome. So you’ve been in insurance for a long time, but just last year you became an agency owner. Why this specific time?
Well, when I started with farmers I was single. I’m very flexible. So what are the department I was in, which is a distribution management. Typically you’re in a role for about three years and then they would put you in a different role in a different location, so you’d have to travel to a new location. So as time goes on, different moments happen with your life. So I got married and had kids and after about two moves with the family, um, you know, we made a decision that we want to live a more stability in our lives. So we have made a decision to take an advantage of an opportunity became available and uh, salaries down. Um, so going back to my childhood where I was moving, constantly want to give my kids an experience where they can grow up and make lifelong friendships here.
That’s, that’s understandable. So you said you have two kids.
I do, I have a four year old and a six year old.
Oh my. Okay. So crazy time in your life still. So what would you say has been the best thing about starting your own agency?
I think it’s a lot of it has to do with just being your own boss, making your decisions. I’m seeing those come to fruition a lot of times in the past you’re tasked with doing things that don’t necessarily involve what your position entails and now everything that do you know has a direct effect on the outcome. My business. And that’s a pretty good insight. You have to make your own decisions, if you will.
Yeah, definitely. What would you say are some of the struggles that you’ve, you’ve experienced in starting your own agency? You know, when anyone starting their own business, they go through different struggles and some are the same, some are different. What are some of the struggles that you’ve maybe experienced and had to learn and work through?
There’s a lot of struggles. The most notable one is trying to become more efficient and things that you do. There’s always ways to make things a little faster, better, um, and just adapting to those and learning from your mistakes, not making them again, but um, you know, challenges are always accepted whether you, because if you don’t experience something you don’t know how to overcome them. So it’s just learning to adapt and not change too quickly because sometimes certain changes need to take time to come to fruition. So learning to balance as far as, okay, when is long enough that I realize a certain aspects not working and adapting to something different.
So, you have a background in managing a well-known pizza chain and one thing that I respect I really respect because I was actually a management as well and in restaurant as well. And it’s something that a lot of people I don’t think understand how hard it is. And so what would you say are some things that you’ve taken away from that and transferred over into the insurance world?
Yeah, I think I’m actually, I actually transfer is that maybe people don’t realize first and foremost it’s got to be the customer service. That’s the core of any business of paying attention to detail. Um, you know, whenever you take action you always want to take it to a perspective of the customer so something might look good on the facet of the business side, but when you walk over to the customer side, it may not look so good. So you want to take different perspectives. Um, and also multitasking, you know, being in the restaurant industry, there’s so many different things that you got to do at one time with this inventory training, hiring, staffing of all those, all those things. You’re juggling a lot of balls, so translating that as well. And probably another key component would be cross training. So basically I’m taking a skill set, learning another one where that particular staff person might be better at and ultimately trying to put what I like to call it, putting their aces in their places.
Yeah. That’s great. So what about your family life work balance? I know that in the restaurant industry that is definitely something very hard to maintain. What about now
let’s key component. Um, so yeah, you’re absolutely right. Spot on. The balance is difficult, especially in the restaurant industry. You’re working 60 nights and weekends and that’s probably the primary reason why I did make the switch and now it’s better, like you’re constantly working, you’re working 24 slash seven, but the fruit of the Labor is that it all goes back to you and your agency and what you tried to accomplish. Um, you know, ultimately at the end of the day, at the end of my career, hopefully this is a legacy that I am able to pass on to my children if that’s something that they want to do.
So what does your wife think about all this? All the, all the changes that have been made.
Every, every major decision we make we make as a family. Um, so she’s on board. She’s actually in the insurance industry as well. And so she’s very in tune with what’s going on and I haven’t, she loves her heart. I have 100 percent support. It was a scary move. But, um, she’s on board and right now we’re loving it.
That’s awesome. And now does she work with you as well or does she work somewhere else at the moment? She works somewhere else. Okay. Awesome. So do you guys hope that one day you guys can be together or is it, is it better off just separate,
you know, we’ve talked about it numerous times at this point. In this stage, it’s better to be separate. Um, we’re definitely entertaining, um, working together, uh, you know, I talked to, I have a lot of friends in an industry where they do have the husband and wife relationship and a one key takeaway that I got from that is, you know, she owns a certain aspect of agency and I on a different aspect. And so we don’t step on any toes or family dinner night.
You don’t want to be sitting around the table talking about all the bad things and in the agency every night. That’s great. So what do you do for fun? What do you do outside? You know, I know you’re not doing insurance every single minute of the day. What are your hobbies and interests?
You know, the kids being at the age that they are, where they’re in baseball dance class, that pretty much takes up a lot of our time and our world kind of revolves around them. Just playing with them. Outside of that. I’d love to go on trips, you know, the kids, the why of the family. We all love the beach so we can get away for a quick excursion. We tried to do that.
That’s awesome. Well, what about the products and the companies that you offer? I know that you offer Farmers, but do you offer some other products and companies as well?
Yeah, we do. So, uh, fortunately my contract with farmers allows us to get appointed with other companies as long as they don’t offer that product. So if we get a declination where we are able to place them in a different company, a farmer’s does have numerous companies within the farmers umbrella. So we have foremost, right, a lot of specialty business. Um, we have Bristol, west, which is a secondary auto company, but when I’m speaking of is more in lines with the commercial business where we don’t have an appetite for it, you know, we came down and find a place for it.
So tell us, one of the things we always like to do is have five key takeaways
from you. What are some good takeaways that you can share with our listeners that they can benefit from? I think first and foremost, I know a lot of people first look at the price when they are shopping and insurance. And one thing I want to tell everybody is cheaper is not always better. Um, there, there is a value component to it, right? So when you call into the agency, is there a person that answers the phone ready to help you do that, provide you a clear explanation of what you’re getting for your, for your money? Um, and lastly, we can do things like work with your policy, try to reduce your rate. If you get an increase, you know, we could work within the adjuster if you have a claim, we could make recommendations of people that we know are honest, loyal, and will do good work, you know, in the event of a claim.
So just always consider the value component that that’s available to you. Um, and what the agency offers straight. There were two, I would say know your policy coverages, so we sell a policy based on a promise, but the promise has certain limits to it and making sure that you know what you’re getting, um, so that you don’t have a surprise when you do have that claim. Um, so you know, what is covered, you know, on a home policy, there’s so many variables. I’m understanding what your deductibles are. Another thing is like, um, for replacement costs versus actual cost value home. So, you know, that can be a significant difference here in the metroplex of DFW. There’s a lot of hail that goes on here. So I’m making sure that you’re aware of what you’re receiving for the price. Definitely. Number three, I always recommend bundling and policies.
What is your auto and your home? If you have any boats and motorcycles for the customer, you get significant discounts for bundling it in one place, but on the flip side of that and the agency side, it helps us identify different gaps and coverages that you may have to make sure that you are properly protected to protect your assets. Number four, I would recommend doing annual reviews with your agent. Discuss changes that’s going on in your household, any changes, updates that you may have made to your property, what are your plans for the next three to five years so that way we can address them accordingly to make sure that we do take care of you. And so we don’t have any things that go on in your future that you’re planning that doesn’t align with, with coverages that you do currently have. Right? And lastly, um, it’s quite simple, but I always recommend everybody take an inventory of their household.
So whether that’s keeping receipts of high value items, walking through your home with a video recorder and keeping that in a safe place in case there is a total loss, you know, it’d be easy for the adjusters. Just review that to take account of what you have in that household, uh, whether that’s putting a safe deposit box or giving it to your agent to keep for you. Yeah, that’s great. Well, Thomas, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want to quote or want to get to know you a little bit more? What are the best ways? A phone call and email is definitely the best way. Our phone number is four. Six, nine seven. Oh, three, eight, two, eight, eight or email as t Hoffman at farmer’s agent.com. We answer the phone hopefully within the first five, 10 seconds. Email is always respond to within the same day if not the hour. That’s great. Well, we want to thank you again for being on a. We want to remind everyone to make sure and subscribe and give us a review of what you thought of Thomas. Nice conversation and don’t forget if you’re looking for insurance quotes that don’t sting checkout BriteBee.com. Click get a quote and type in Thomas Hoffman’s name and you’ll find him there with a nice bio, video and also a podcast. So in the end if you need anything else, please let us know. We’ll be more than happy to help you. Thanks again. Thank you.
Check out Thomas on BriteBee: https://app.britebee.com/agents/thomashoffman105
Check out Thomas’ Website: https://agents.farmers.com/tx/forney/thomas-hoffman