For Tennessee insurance agent Roger Kane, life as a Farmers agency owner wasn’t busy enough. Last year, he ran against three other candidates to become the state representative for Tennessee’s District 89. Although he’s only sponsored two insurance-related bills, he stays active in the industry and says both aspects of his working life are very fulfilling.
Insurance Business caught up with Kane following the passage of a bill that would make sinkhole insurance an optional feature on Tennessee homeowners’ policies.
Q. How did you get into the insurance business?
A. I started with Farmers in 1988 in Houston, working in claims. Then I become a special investigator, moved to commercial and in 1996, I moved to Tennessee to handle personal lines claims in Knoxville. I became an agency owner in 1999.
I’ve also been involved in instruction for Caplan Financial. I’ve trained 3,000 insurance agents since 2007.
Q. What made you decide to also get involved in the state assembly?
A. I love Tennessee—everything about it and serving the people who live here. And from an insurance standpoint, the beautiful thing about my community is that nothing happens: no tornadoes, no hail and no flooding. It’s a very wonderful place to be.
Q. What should an ideal insurance agent be?
A. You should be a good listener and make sure you address all your client’s concerns, whether that means through your own agency or referring them to someone else who can help them.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?
A. Follow up, follow up, follow up. We pick up more business because people quote with us and we follow up until they make their final decision. Recontacting people does take time and effort, but it’s an easier way to get business in the long run.
Q. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to arrange cover for?
A. I had a customer that had a house that was built around a giant oak tree. It was a very nice older couple that just wanted to get back to nature; they had four rooms but the tree was literally in the dead center of the house and the roof was canvas. It basically looked like a structure that had a giant teepee coming out of it.
I never could find a carrier for that. I’m all about tree hugging and getting back to nature, but it kind of loses its charm when it’s 18 degrees out and you have to put on your coat to go to the bathroom.