Tim Clements of Clements Insurance Services is not Elvis, but his personality comes close. As the 2014 winner of the PIA Young Insurance Professional of the Year award, Clements is a leader in the world of independent agents. The man known by his friends as Tim-A-Rim-A spoke with Louisiana Comp Blog about his life, growing family, insurance philosophy and Mardi Gras fanaticism.
Comp Blog: Tell us about your background: family, hobbies, growing up, etc.?
Clements: I was born and raised in Chalmette. I finished Holy Cross in 2001 and then I graduated from Nicholls State University, Harvard on the Bayou, in May 2005. I originally went to NSU on a cheerleading scholarship. Although my degree is in Government, I spent most of my college career majoring in fraternity, TKE [Tau Kappa Epsilon.] After falling deeply in love with Melinda Rome, we decided to marry and move to Lakeview. Melinda is from Kenner so that was a nice middle ground for us. I’m still St. Bernard proud! Melinda and I are expecting our first child in January 2015.
Comp Blog: Tell us about your work with Clements Insurance.
Clements: I work and own a tiny part of Clements Insurance Services located in beautiful downtown Chalmette. Between my father Richie and brother David, we fulfill the roles of owner, manager, accountant, producer, customer service rep, secretary, and janitor. We also have a great staff who keeps the office running smoothly, and we couldn’t survive without them.
Comp Blog: What are your areas of expertise in the insurance industry here in Louisiana?
Clements: I started out in personal lines, but moved into commercial lines about five years ago. I can still do some homeowners and personal auto, but my expertise lies in general liability, commercial property, and of course, workers comp.
Comp Blog: How did you get into the insurance industry and why did you choose it?
Clements: I was fresh out of college when Hurricane Katrina came. My Dad and his ex-partner had decided to go their separate ways and all of their employees were scattered around the state and country. My Dad needed help, so I stepped in. [Initially] I said, “Of course I’ll fill in for a few months.” Now, insurance is my career. The industry is profitable, exciting, and keeps me on my feet. My original intent was to go into lobbying and politics, but being an independent agent is much more satisfying.
Comp Blog: What are your main recommendations/key considerations for clients as they shop for their coverage?
Clements: Be honest and do not settle for inadequate limits. When the unforeseen happens, you don’t want to be denied coverage because of a technicality, so let’s put everything on the table on the front end before you get it on the backside! And increasing your limits is usually too cheap to pass up: protect yourself.
Comp Blog: What should a client look for in their agent?
Clements: The client trusts the agent to be the expert in their field. I would expect my mechanic to know everything about my car, so why wouldn’t he expect his agent to know everything about his insurance coverage. Clients need to look for agents who are educated and consistently seeking further education. Also, clients should trust in their community agents. Over the phone and online insurance companies do not care about you. Your local independent agent sees you in church and at the ballpark. They are your friends, and if you can’t trust your friends, who can you trust?
Comp Blog: How do you differentiate yourself in service to your clients? What makes you unique?
Clements: There are a lot of things that make me unique! However, with regards to service and business: I care. At Clements Insurance, we work hard to find the best coverage available for the most efficient price. We are not going to just spit out the best number we can at the risk of leaving you uncovered.
Comp Blog: Finally, what is your favorite thing about life in Louisiana?
Clements: My favorite thing about the great state of Louisiana is Mardi Gras. I am a Mardi Gras fanatic! I ride with two different Krewes [Thoth and the Krewe of Rolling Elvi] in four parades. The Rolling Elvi is a Krewe of Elvis tribute artists riding on mini, two-stroke scooters.
I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the King of Rock & Roll. Last year, one of my customers saw me riding in the parade dressed as Elvis and decided to do an article about me in the St. Bernard Picayune. Now this photo [above] has been circulated around the Parish. One year, Melinda and I went to twenty three parades, rode in a collective five parades, attended two balls, attended five Extravaganzas/Bashes/Capades, and still went to the Meeting of the Courts on Mardi Gras night. With Baby Rim-a on the way we’ll have to scale it back, but you can bet that kid will be found in a ladder chair through much of January and February!