Life at Georgetown – Joseph Lalla

By Joseph Lalla, Account Executive

Georgetown Insurance Service, Inc.

Silver Spring, MD

Describe your job. What do you do?

I’m a commercial lines agent with Georgetown Insurance Service and have been with the agency since 2008. My job is to help companies obtain the insurance coverage they need, from the best carriers, to ensure they’re always protected. Currently my clients are predominantly construction contractors, limousine companies, and soil remediators.

While I spend a lot of my time seeking new clients, I’m more than just a producing agent. I maintain regular communication and close relationships with my existing clients as much as possible.

How/Why did you get into the insurance industry?

I came to the agency a little more than 10 years ago. Previously, I owned a local concrete contracting business and was a client of Georgetown Insurance Service. But after the recession began in 2007, I decided to make a career change. Remmie had been my insurance agent for 14 years and recruited me to come work for the agency. He felt that I could easily relate to clients having been in the construction industry and also a business owner.

Having the background that I do gives me a good perspective into what my clients are facing. I’m able to put myself in their shoes and better understand their challenges. And now that I sit on this side of the table, I can also provide them with the right solutions.

What is your daily ritual? What do you do to start and end your day?

My day typically starts and ends the same way – with a problem. I’m always troubleshooting and helping my clients navigate the unexpected. No two days in the insurance industry are ever the same.

I like to learn how and when my clients work best – who prefers the morning and who prefers the afternoon. This helps me tailor my communication with them.

I spend about 75 percent of my time in the office but use the other 25 percent to go on face-to-face meetings. While I do have some limo companies across the country, most of my clients are local to DC, Maryland and Virginia.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I’d say the most challenging part of my job is keeping up with client requirements and ensuring they have everything they need to stay covered. Especially when working with large general contractors, the type of policies they need can change from job to job as does what they require of their subcontractors. For example, two of my pollution-related accounts were recently given a list of coverages needed in order to do work for the DC government. It’s my job to review this information and figure out what needs to be changed and what gaps need to be filled for them to do the work.

What do you like best about your job and/or working at Georgetown Insurance Service?

Georgetown Insurance Service is very family-oriented, and I really enjoy that about the agency. Even as a client I always felt like I was part of the family. We’re a close-knit group and genuinely enjoy the company of one another.

I also take pride in saving my clients money and keeping them safe. When I had my own business, I was the one writing the checks, so I understand how it feels to spend money on insurance. It’s not always something companies like to do but it’s extremely important. Most of my clients know that I’m a prior business owner and feel like they can trust me even more because of that.

What makes Georgetown Insurance Service different than previous places you’ve worked?

I’ve only had two jobs my entire career – and each has had its own ups and downs. I think that’s normal in any industry. While things are different working here, I still experience the same headaches and the same rewards, it’s just a different type of puzzle.

What is the most interesting or strange insurance claim, question, or issue you’ve dealt with?

I wouldn’t say this is an interesting or strange claim but the most disturbing thing I’ve run into as an agent is the insurance program for school buses in Maryland. To me, it’s the scariest claim that hasn’t happened yet.

The state has 23 counties, 18 of which pay for and participate in a statewide group insurance pool. While this pool technically offers a legal solution for insuring school buses, it is not a comprehensive solution and opens bus subcontractors up to potentially damaging financial liability. And due to the terms and conditions in the pool, subcontractors have been unable to find an insurance carrier willing to provide them with additional liability coverage. For more information, check out the article I wrote on gap insurance and how we can better protect Maryland’s school bus contractors.

 


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