Agent Spotlight: Steve Cote, Chalmers Insurance Group
Steve Cote, President
Chalmers Insurance Group, North Conway, New Hampshire & Bridgton, Maine
Steve Cote joined Chalmers Insurance Group in 2000, with 10 years of experience at an independent agency and a New England mutual company. In 2014, he became the first non-family member to assume the role of President. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he is often credited for his steady positivity and warm leadership style which inspires co-workers to embrace the Chalmers mission.
Why should people consider a career in insurance? There are so many fantastic career opportunities in our industry today. Whether you are highly social and sales-oriented, more structural and data-driven, or simply like to problem solve and help others, there is something for everybody. Working closely with others and serving the communities in which we live are just two reasons to love insurance!
What are common misconceptions about the industry/as a career that you don’t agree with? The most common misconceptions are that insurance is boring and commoditized. Neither could be further from the truth. People who are introduced to insurance as a career for the first time are often blown away by the fast-paced and team-oriented work environment. Every client has unique coverage needs and service expectations. Each phone call or email takes your day in a different direction. We partner with clients in an effort to protect them against serious, catastrophic financial loss. Close communication is critical to assure the best possible outcome following a loss. Families and business owners rely on us to provide perspective, advice and options which allow for informed, confident buying decisions. In that way, insurance is the furthest thing from a commodity.
What excites you about the insurance industry? Competitors and partners alike are pushing all of us out of our comfort zone and motivating us to be better at what we do every day. I find this to be incredibly exciting. There may not be a better time to be in this industry than right now!
Where do you see the industry in 10-20 years? The industry has changed more in the past five years than it has over the previous 25 combined. All carriers will rely on far more sophisticated telematics and smart home/building technologies than are available today to champion usage and behavior-based underwriting and claims handling. With this in mind, the independent agency system will continue to integrate the human element into the insurance experience, offering guidance and advocacy to policyholders who will need that more than ever from a client-agent partnership.
What are your goals for your agency? Our big-picture goal is to remain a fiercely independent, family-owned-and-operated insurance agency, and to successfully transition to the 5th generation when the time is right. We are ever-mindful of our rich history and deeply motivated by what the future holds.
What is the most used tool/resource that has made you the most successful? Collaboration! Our young leadership team recognized early on that we could achieve growth more efficiently with the help of professional consultants. These collaborations have been game-changers for us over the past six years. For example, we work with an executive coach to deepen our perspective as leaders. We have learned to emphasize and celebrate the importance of culture throughout our organization. Another valued consultant helps us build and deliver a consistent, exceptional service experience for our clients.
What is the most important leadership lesson you have learned, and how is it valuable to you today? There is nothing more important than our organizational culture – it is the foundation of our success. We are deeply protective of a work environment that is safe, kind and respectful, in which our core values are fundamental to our actions and decisions, and where co-workers are encouraged to follow personal and professional passions. We support one another and celebrate our accomplishments together.
Do you have a favorite book/podcast for fun, self-improvement and/or your career? My favorite read in the past year is “It Takes What It Takes” by Trevor Moawad, about how to think neutrally and raise your performance level in business and life. Highly recommend! My favorite podcast, of course, is The Community Cast, a podcast by Chalmers, www.chalmersinsurancegroup.com/community/podcast, or it can be found on Apply Podcasts or Spotify. Join Chalmers co-workers each Tuesday as they interview local leaders and business owners who are giving back to their communities. Our conversations center around defining what “community” truly means and how it evolves with changing times. If you’re looking for practical advice on how to build community and inspire kindness through entrepreneurialism, this is the show for you!
How are you involved in the industry outside of the office? Helping to assure the very best in products and services for our industry, our organization and our valued clients, I enjoy actively serving on agent councils in advisory roles with many carrier partners.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t in insurance? Well, since the Boston Red Sox no longer appear to be interested in my services, I could definitely see myself as an educator, most likely at the high school or community college level.
What do you like to do outside of the office? I have coached youth basketball for over 30 years – from recreation department travel teams, AAU clubs to high school varsity. There is no season – it is truly a year-round passion!
Visit Chalmers Insurance Group:
The Community Cast podcast: www.chalmersinsurancegroup.com/community/podcast