“Some people see risk in every opportunity and some people see opportunity in every risk.”
If you have not had a chance to listen to Isaac’s interview with Mike Oberther of Supporting Strategies for our Constructing a Business podcast, I recommend it. From the first twenty minutes of the interview, his love of construction shines through.
He sounds just like many of the tradesmen I know, pointing to buildings they have worked on as they drive around town. It’s clear that he feels he is making a lasting contribution to the city.
But at the heart of his work, Isaac Schwadel has a desire to educate contractors. He understands the construction business, the individual trades and how the work is done, he knows the insurance market and carriers, and he keeps up to date. Finally, he must understand insurance coverage and be able to read the full policy and identify what is and is not covered.
If you are not properly insured, you will not get the job. If you want to do small jobs for the rest of your life, stay on the path you are on. If you want to take a step up, you really need to invest in your company. Issac has a saying, “If you want to play in the big leagues, you need big league equipment.”
That was key for me because Isaac knows the intricacies of the construction industry and how to position his clients to their advantage with the carriers. During the conversation with Jose, he made it clear that his fiduciary responsibility is to the customer. But it takes open communication to move things forward.
It’s helpful to note that this next section of Isaac’s conversation is strongly reminiscent of my own experience as a project manager on large projects. A lesson on the importance of communication at all levels, this of course applies outside of the insurance industry, but being transparent and clear and having open lines of communication. We have to be responsive and practical, and there have to be open lines of communication. That owners feel comfortable sharing information and why communication is the key to the best outcome.
In his five years of experience in the construction insurance industry, he demonstrates an excellent sense of the nuances of each trade, citing the example of an HVAC contractor whose policy excluded lifting operations. This is not a reasonable exclusion because, as you probably know, heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractors often need to lift equipment onto roofs. If this exclusion is not covered by your primary insurance policy, it could pose a serious problem for the handyman in the event of an incident. Their expensive insurance will not cover them when they need it most.
You can not do it without information. Build trust between the parties and realize that no one can act without information.
A forward-thinking business owner understands that you have to invest, especially in insurance because it requires a financial investment, and that you have to think long-term instead of saying, “How much is my bill going to be at the end of the month.” As a business aspect and to see if you are in the game every day. You really need to invest and set goals. The only way to move forward is to push yourself.
Isaac attributes his success to being more than just a salesperson. If you have been a business owner for any length of time, you are always approached by insurance agents who say, “I can give you the best deal,” “we have the best service,” etc. Every insurance agent has the same sales pitch. What Isaac does is hide knowledge and value from the sale.
I know for a fact that Isaac likes to review policies. He does this for our members when they go through the Foundation program. He is exceptionally good at bringing information to the table and resolving any issues that may arise when a contractor is embarking on major projects or entering a new market.
Another aspect of his job where Isaac’s interpersonal skills shine is his ability to speak to underwriters in a way that puts the contractor in the best possible light.
He has a technical background in insurance and has spent 18 months in operations learning what contractors need and use. He knows the elements of policies and the details that go into building a policy the right way.
A new person, social and human interaction. To be good, you have to deal with what you are selling and the legal aspects of helping people do business, either saving money or getting better insurance so they can make more money.
Everything is a process in life, each phase is better than the last. In the last 5 years he has transitioned from his previous work into the new world of insurance for businesses in NYC.
Do not limit yourself to the situation you are in now. Cultivate within yourself a long-term, greater belief in your ability to grow your business.