Everyone I meet agrees; the insurance industry is a people business. But then, what business isn’t? I know for myself, the people I work with are the number one reason I love insurance. I also believe some of the smartest people I know work in insurance, and it is the Tuscano Agency’s good fortune to employ about 100 or so of them!
Early in 1994, soon after I took the reins from my father, I actually made one of the smartest decisions of my life (right after marrying my lovely wife). I was 32 years old and honestly, hiring was not my strong suit. But Jinny and I agreed from day one, if opportunity came our way, we would run with it. Back then, Rockwood Insurance was one of our biggest markets. I knew Jeff Johnson because he worked at Rockwood and I had caught wind that he might just be looking for a new job – something to do with Rockwood wanting him to work in the claims department.
Luckily, Jeff agreed to drive the 40 miles one-way to come and work for the Tuscano Agency – which tells you just how far he would go to NOT work claims! Jeff started here at an underwriting desk and was the man we needed when we went all-in to write primary liability on trucking. He quickly grew into my right-hand guy. Jeff moved from underwriting to managing our commercial lines. Finally, I promoted him to Underwriting Vice President, a move I believe has helped to propel Tuscano into prominence as an E&S wholesale broker.
If you know Jeff, you know he is someone who makes a plan and follows it. Years ago, he made a plan to put his kids through college and save for retirement. Well, as it turns out, the stock market has been good to Mr. Johnson and he’s let us know at the end of this year he is ‘outta‘ here – off to the woods he loves and the golf course that keeps him humble. Twenty-seven years is a pretty good run so while we will all miss him; we don’t begrudge his decision.
I admire what Jeff has achieved in his career; he is respected in our industry, especially by our peers and our carriers. He has formed some important and lasting relationships with our customers, and our staff looks to Jeff, “Read the Form” Johnson, with sincere appreciation. Jeff has not just been my right-hand man, but also been a great friend, and never held back when I needed to hear the truth. Note to self, hire smart people, give them important stuff to do, and find out early on what their boundaries are.
The good news is Jeff says he’s retiring, but we're not going to lose touch with him! We know where to find him, and he promises he’ll answer his phone (as long as he’s not in the woods). During his tenure, Jeff was the man we needed. He has left his mark on this organization, the people here, and the Tuscano leadership. It is because of him, that we’ll be OK without him.
If you have a couple of minutes, I’d invite you to wish him well in his retirement! The countdown has begun – just ask Mr. Johnson.
With a heart full of Thanksgiving