Steve Louro, Founder and CEO of Professional Group Plans, the largest General Insurance Agent in the metropolitan area with business in all 50 states and 125 employees, grew up in o small town in Oakland, New Jersey in o normal, struggling middle class family with 2 older brothers and on older sister with o coring Mom and Dod. He admits he was never o good student because he just didn’t find school very interesting. As he always says “different strokes for different folks”. He does stress to parents and kids today how important it is to hove o good, comprehensive education. He took the more difficult route and always sworn against the tide. Here is his story.
Tell us about how you started.
I graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 1985 with o Bachelor of Arts degree thanks to my then girlfriend and now wife (aka my rock) Carolyn. If it wasn’t for her, who knows where I would be today. I started my career in 1986, after o couple of odd jobs, at Doscit White and Winston, on insurance General Agent in New York City, that specialized in Employee Benefits. I worked long hours, trained myself, developed my own brokerage following through cold calls, mailings, and stops ins, while marketing myself of industry trade shows. Money never drove me. I always wonted to do the right thing for my clients by being professional, honest, and knowledgeable while providing the utmost in prompt, friendly service.
What was a turning point for you?
In 1992, married with 2 infants living in Edison, New Jersey, in debt, but starting to make some money, we bought our first home and moved to Holbrook, Long Island. Growing frustrated with the lock of support at my current job, I decided to take a chance and start my own General Agency, with one employee, Steve Louro, and a handful of clients, out of a 10×10 bedroom in my home. The beginning was a nightmare. The broken answering machine, single page copier, and doing everything myself is a long lasting memory. As the Home Depot philosophy trickled into the health insurance industry, insurance companies began consolidating their distribution system in order to operate more efficiently. It become a reality that only the biggest would survive. I started hiring sales reps and support staff while investing in infrastructure, and moved out of the house into larger office space in Bohemia. We rapidly grew to 25 employees and I began opening offices in NYC, NJ, and CT to provide better service to our expanding broker network.
What is your philosophy at PGP?
I operate PGP with a simple motto, “treat people the way you wont to be treated”. That goes for my employees, the insurance companies we represent, and the insurance brokers and business owners we serve. Hiring the right people and providing on going training in a comfortable work environment is essential to long term success. Take care of your people like family and they will be there for you, the company and the client. With all the good and bod investments we hove mode over the years, nothing stands out more than our investment in on imaging system that got rid of all the paper and flies and enabled my employees to access client information from anywhere in the world with a computer and on internet connection. The large financial investment came back to us in spades by saving us money, providing better service to our customers and making PGP a more efficient operation.
Tell us about PGP’s profile today.
PGP is the premier and largest General Agent in the metropolitan area with business in all 50 states, 125 employees, 65,000 corporate clients, 2.7 billion in annualized premium, through a 5,000 strong and growing broker distribution network. Our Corporate Headquarters is located in Hauppauge, Long Island in a 22,000 square foot building I purchased with the help of an SBA loon with soles offices in NYC, NJ, and CT. PGP has diversified and expanded into other businesses:
- PGP life: Provide individual Life, Disability, Long Term Core, and Estate Planning
- PGP Energy: Saving businesses money on their Natural Gas and Electric supply costs.
- PGP Medicare: Providing our brokers clients with Medicare coverage solutions and top level
What opportunities do you see in the future?
Many people in our industry ore running for the exits because of the passage of The Patient Protection and Affordable Cure Act aka Obama that has wrecked havoc on our industry, businesses owners, and employees. In the chaos, we see tremendous opportunity to further provide value and help our brokers and their clients more than ever.
For more information on Professional Group Plans, visit www.pgpbenefits.com