Agent Spotlight: Dan Lathrop, Lathrop Insurance
Dan Lathrop, President
Lathrop Insurance, Westerly, Rhode Island
The latest Agency Spotlight shines on agency principal Dan Lathrop of Lathrop Insurance. Dan first joined the industry in high school, and his first boss was his father, John, who remains Head of Personal Lines at Lathrop Insurance. During college, he worked for Harleysville Insurance and later for Sun Life Financial, where he counts Marty Nagle, Mike Shunney and Drew Niziak as mentors.
“From an early age, I wanted to be in insurance and help people and businesses get back on their feet after a loss,” Lathrop said. “Insurance is what allows banks to loan money, businesses to invest in their future, and families to invest in their homes. Being able to help people secure all of those the right way is important.”
Lathrop is active in his community, serving on the Board of Directors for the Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island (IIARI), the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, and the Westerly Economic Development Commission. He also coaches swimming and enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. His first job was as a waterslide operator at Water Wizz on Misquamicut State Beach.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t in insurance? It has always been in my nature to be a problem-solver. If I were not working in insurance, I would likely be in another business that allows risk/reward calculations in the finance space.
Why should people consider a career in insurance? Insurance is a career that teaches you the risks that many different industries and types of people face. From a client building a new home, to a landlord with 60 properties, to a manufacturer of fuel additives, each company has different risks and different ways to work with them.
What excites you about the industry? The innovation currently happening. The fundamentals of insurance are simple: paying an insurance company to take on your risk. I am excited about the new ways companies are more accurately forecasting risk characteristics.
What are some of the ways people from our industry are making a difference in the world? Insurance agents are there for the worst moments in people’s lives. As long as we can stay true to the mission of helping people back on their feet financially when they fall, we will continue to do well in the world.
What are common misconceptions about the industry/as a career that you don’t agree with? That salespeople need to be “salesy.” The best insurance agents I know (including our top agents) take the time to understand the clients need, and present a solution. We are not selling them a policy, but rather solving their need using an insurance policy.
What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned and how is it valuable to you today? It is important to keep it simple. If we try to get too fancy, it is difficult to get everyone rowing in the same direction. By simplifying the message, it creates a more elegant solution.
What are your goals for the industry? To design and distribute products that people understand. These products should cover people in a way that there are no surprises at claim time. There will always be risks that are not covered, but it should be understood when the product is purchased.
What do you think of when you think about Union Mutual? A growing, and financially prudent insurance carrier that uses rational decision-making to create elegant solutions for clients.
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