This month’s “Agent Spotlight” features Andy Dressler of The Firm of Louisiana in Lake Charles. Dressler sat down with Louisiana Comp Blog to share his life-long love of Louisiana, the insurance business, and his grateful mentality. Read on to find out why Dressler will never be a “yes man” for his clients, even if it means a longer explanation.
Comp Blog: What is your family background (where you were born/grew up; spouse; children; any interesting details)?
Dressler: I was born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I have three boys: Jordan is 19, Noah is 10 and Dillon is 8. They are the joys of my life and constantly keep me on my toes with their words and antics!
My mother and father, Francis and Jan Dressler, have been together since they were fifteen years old and are still going strong and happy as ever, despite the many illnesses they have conquered. My two best friends in the world are my two brothers, Billy and Joey. I have the pleasure of seeing Billy every day as he is one of my partners at The Firm. Joey lives with his wife in Shreveport and my two beautiful and talented nieces. He also recently received his white coat at LSU medical school. I feel like I am the wealthiest man in the world when it comes to family.
Comp Blog: What is your agency or firm and your role within it?
Dressler: I am the owner of The Firm of Louisiana Property and Casualty, LLC and The Firm of Louisiana, LLC. I have two partners and we recently added a fourth. I am very active in The Firm of Louisiana Property and Casualty as an agent in Lake Charles. We have five agents, eight customer service reps, bookkeeper and a receptionist with our agency. We opened in September of 2008 and have been blessed and very fortunate with the growth and success of our business. We work on a referral basis and word of mouth.
Comp Blog: What are your areas of expertise in the insurance industry here in Louisiana?
Dressler: My area of expertise with our firm is getting to know the customers and finding a common ground with them. I feel like I know enough about the insurance products and coverage to help people and guide them in the right direction. I feel comfortable and enjoy talking to people. I love doing commercial insurance, but I also enjoy the personal lines side.
Comp Blog: How did you get into the insurance industry and why did you choose it?
Dressler: I graduated from college and immediately went into outside sales in the oil and gas industry. I enjoyed the people but the products weren’t very exciting. I stayed in that sector for five years and then decided to make a change and entered the life insurance business. I did well and eventually became a manager with my own team, but it became more of a daycare situation than a sales job.
In 2005, I went to work for an agency in which I could sell life and health insurance, as well as property and casualty. Armed with that knowledge, I opened my own agency from scratch in 2008 with the support of my partner, Barry Terrell. I thoroughly enjoy this industry and working closely with my clients. There is really no other occupation I would have chosen. I work with people that have to have the products I offer, making me an important part of their everyday business. There is a great satisfaction in knowing that you helped someone.
Comp Blog: What are your main recommendations/key considerations for clients as they shop for their coverage?
Dressler: When you are shopping for insurance coverage, don’t just be concerned with “price.” Many people who have incurred claims would have gladly paid more in premium to have some additional coverage. Have your agent go over each coverage with you and explain what it means, that is service that should be expected. Make sure you don’t have a wind and hail exclusion in the policy if you have property coverage. Get copies of all your paperwork. Always check your exclusions and endorsements. Don’t ever assume anything. Always check out the credibility of the company with which you’re being placed. Know what your deductibles are and how they function. Always ask questions if you’re uncomfortable in any way.
Comp Blog: What should a client look for in their agent?
Dressler: The best advice I can give to someone looking for an agent is to find a person who will listen and return your calls. You don’t want a “yes man,” you want someone to listen to your concerns and address them with actual solutions. Find someone that will go over your coverage with you and explain what you actually have. Also, always ask: “what am I losing if I move from one carrier to another?” As a client, you need to be comfortable with and trust your agent one hundred percent.
Comp Blog: How do you differentiate yourself in service to your clients? What makes you unique?
Dressler: As I mentioned, I work on a referral basis. I feel like I am always looking out for the client and my carriers before myself, which is how it should be. I go over coverage with my clients as well as my prospective clients. I am very good at getting back with my clients. I have a well-trained staff that try to treat customers the same as if I were working with them myself on whatever the situation is at that time. We have a very personable staff that are easy to work with and like their work environment. If we look high on a premium or we can’t get adequate coverage for the same premium, I have no problem telling someone to do what is best for them: whether it is to stay put or to look elsewhere.
Comp Blog: Could you comment on the local workers’ comp market: is it competitive right now? If so, how does this benefit your clients?
Dressler: The local workers’ comp market is very competitive right now. Many companies have taken price decreases in certain class codes, others have had increases. This is a benefit for the client and the agent because of the variety of options. Many companies now offer safety meetings for specific types of risks and loss control. One of the largest advantages for the client is that, because of all of the competition, the rates have remained consistently competitive and affordable.
Comp Blog: Louisiana has several local workers’ comp companies that together have the majority of the market. How important is it to you to have a strong local presence for workers’ comp markets and why?
Dressler: We, in Louisiana, have a great number of work comp carriers. Some carriers specialize in certain class codes. Other carriers may specialize in high risk classes only. Being diversified and having many local markets is great for both agents and their clients. Having experience with local carriers, and knowing where to market for a certain type of risk, can save the agency and the work comp underwriters a great deal of time and money.
Comp Blog: Finally, what is your favorite thing about Louisiana?
Dressler: I don’t know where to start! I love to hunt, fish, play golf, and watch my kids in their many sporting activities. I also love to eat and there is no finer cuisine than that of Louisiana.
I think the greatest thing about Louisiana is that people still say “thank you” when you help them – and they sincerely mean it. Our culture is wonderful and I am proud to be a part of it.