Hoosier High School Basketball Hysteria

In Indiana, Hoosier hysteria is a way of life.

Though you won’t find it in the dictionary, this phrase is well known and describes the excitement surrounding Indiana basketball – specifically, Indiana high school basketball. My staff and I witnessed the hysteria earlier this month at the Fifth Annual High School Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship at Carmel High School, sponsored by American Family Insurance.

HS Slam Dunk

This event featured 16 outstanding high school seniors – eight young men and eight young women – from all over the country, competing in a one-minute three-point shooting contest. The senior boys also had just two opportunities to demonstrate their creative, challenging slam dunk skills for a panel of Indiana celebrity judges in the Slam Dunk Championship.

When we walked into the gymnasium, the energy was electric. Spectators from all over Indiana came out to witness and support the athletes demonstrating their amazing talent. This night had the potential to be history-making for some of these young players as they competed, hoping to become one step closer to pursuing their dreams. The cheers were deafening as Carmel senior Ryan Cline made it to the finals and won the three-point competition with 22 points in the final round (one and two points are awarded per shot).

Everyone from my office was thrilled to attend this event, as each has a love for Indiana basketball. Basketball brings together the old and young, boys and girls, urbanites and those from tiny rural communities. We gather at homes or at a restaurant to watch the games. And whether you live in the city, suburbs or on a country road, chances are, there’s a basketball goal within a rock’s throw.

More than half the homes in our neighborhood have basketball goals in their driveways. We see kids gathering nightly to play. I grew up playing in the neighborhood, on my high school team, and later with a group at our church. Our son has played basketball the last two seasons and this year I coached his third grade team. A basketball goal was a must-have feature on our “wish list” when we purchased our home late last year.

One of our office’s licensed producers is Noblesville, Indiana native Tom Coverdale, Mr. Basketball 1998. He was asked to judge the Slam Dunk Competition with four others including Boom Herron, running back with the Indianapolis Colts. Tom says in Indiana you are basically born with a basketball in your hands. Every kid dreams of playing for their high school team and in college. The state has a following unlike any other state when it comes to basketball. The atmosphere at Carmel High School was no different.

Bobby Plump, John Wooden, Larry Bird and Steve Alford all began pursuing their dreams in a high school gymnasium in Indiana. Hoosiers take great pride in remembering these young men before they were legendary players, and we feel a connection to their success.

It was an honor and a thrill for us to be involved in the High School Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship representing American Family Insurance. This event allowed these young athletes to demonstrate their athleticism and to “dream big.”

Whatever becomes of them as they pursue their basketball dreams, we will be able to say, “we were there” when it began.

IMG_7524 IMG_7536 IMG_7566 IMG_7567 IMG_7569 IMG_7570 IMG_7572 IMG_7574 IMG_7576 IMG_7577 Copy of IMG_7550 Copy of IMG_7552 Copy of IMG_7559 Copy of IMG_7564 Copy of IMG_7567 IMG_7540

Should You Buy a New Car?

hondaWe’ve had our 2011 Honda Odyssey van for 4 years.  It came straight from the factory and had 4 miles on it when we drove off the lot.

With a very little interest rate, about $12 of each payment is now going to interest and the rest is going to principle.  It will be paid off soon and that’s a great feeling.  We haven’t had any issues with the vehicle and we weren’t considering trading it in until we received an offer in the mail from the dealer.  It seems this model is popular on the used car market and they are eager to get us into a new vehicle ($$$).  I gotta say, it’s tempting.

However, no car payment is tempting too.  We feel we’re in a good spot with a relatively “new” vehicle but when should we buy a new car?

I did some research and Edmunds.com says it’s almost always less expensive to repair a car than buy a new one.  They say a new car typically loses an estimated 22 percent of it’s value in the first year and your existing car has already taken that depreciation hit.

On the flip side, if trips to the mechanic are costing you too much money and time from your work or family and you don’t want to worry constantly about future break downs, a new car may be worth the investment.  New cars are safer than ever with many safety equipment becoming standard on new vehicles.

Edmunds formula to making a decision is if the cost of repairs is greater than either the value of the vehicle or one year’s monthly payments, it’s time to buy another vehicle.

I asked Pat about the cost of insurance on an older vehicle v. a new one.  Would our insurance premium go up or down if we bought a new vehicle?  Of course all rates depend on the driver’s driving record and the type of vehicle (sports cars really do cost more to insure) but he said a newer car would cost more to insure (there are reasons and I’ll let him break it down for you).  But if you are in the market for a new care, the good news is, it’s also true that newer vehicles may have newer safety features that can lower your premium.  It’s important you research what your rates may be on a vehicle you are interested in purchasing before you buy.

IMG_4744In our case, the van isn’t that “old” and we have the most recent safety features such a side air bags, the back up camera and a lot of what I’d call bells and whistles on it: Navigation, DVD player, bluetooth, auto start = all awesome features when toting around kids (and when I want to learn my Jazzercise routines on long road trips).

Not having a car payment soon and keeping our premium low is more attractive to me right now than a new vehicle that’s going to depreciate thousands of dollars the minute I drive it off the lot.  And, according to Kelly’s Blue Book, if I wanted to sell the van to a private party, I could expect to receive just over $21,000.  Not a bad chunk of change should I change my mind in the near future!

Are you in the market for a new car?  Call us and ask what your insurance premium would be so you can factor the total cost of a new vehicle into your budget.  We’d be happy to assist you.

-S.O.
The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency

 

 

American Family Insurance Partners With Colts during Friday Night Football Tour

We were honored to represent American Family Insurance in partnership with the Indianapolis Colts during their Friday Night Football tour.

Prior to kick off at Fisher’s High School’s Friday night game on August 29th, The Patrick O’Brien Agency represented American Family and presented a $1500 donation from AmFam and the Colts to the Fishers High School’s health/wellness program.

It was an honor and a lot of fun participating in the pre-game festivities.

Go, Tigers!

IMG_5825 IMG_5826 IMG_5814 IMG_5813

IMG_5812 IMG_5810 IMG_5811

-S.O.
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN

Can an Insurance Agency Office be “Pretty”?

Pat doesn’t spend a lot of time decorating or thinking about colors and texture.  He’s focused on meeting with customers and tending to the details of their insurance coverage and needs.

However, Pat, Shannon and Edna spend a lot of time at the agency – it’s like home away from home.  Customers and colleagues visit often and we want them to feel comfortable and welcomed when they are in our office.

So after scoring deals from our favorite consignment & bargain stores; accepting a family member’s cast off, and using a little elbow grease, here’s what you’ll see when you visit our office.

We hope you like it!

-S.O.
The Patrick O’Brien Agency – Fishers, IN

Below:  Purple chairs (Shannon’s favorite color), table and flowers from our favorite consignment store, Consigned by Design.  Canvas wall art from Home-goods; Pillows, lamp and vase from Target.

Office beauty

Below:  A hand me down buffet table paired with decor found at Home-goods (in one whirlwind trip) becomes a space to store industry periodicals and a peg board displaying upcoming events, customer thank you notes, and inspirational messages.

finished table

(Here’s what the table looked like during sanding and after paint).

sanded table

 

painted table

10 Years and Counting

10 yearsIn this day and age, not many people stay with a company for 10 years or more.  In fact, until now, neither had I.  So you can imagine when I received the notice that February 2014 was my 10 year anniversary with American Family, I was surprised (time flies when you’re having fun) and proud.

I started as an agent in 2004 and accepted a sales manager position three years later.  After six years as a sales manager, I returned to agency the Fall of 2013.  A lot comes to mind looking back on the last 10 years and I’d like to share my experience with  you.

I was first attracted to a career as an American Family Agent because of the opportunity to run my own business.  After many years in a corporate sales position with little control over my time and an ever-increasing gap between effort and reward, I realized I had the entrepreneurial drive to own a business.   In the role of an agent with American Family, not only do I control my time, effort and reward but just as important, I have the ability to provide superior products/claims from the best insurance company in the industry.

Not only was I happier in this new role but each year I received an added bonus of working with like-minded fellow managers, supportive company partners and motivated fellow agents.  Everyone I’ve encountered in the company, American Family Insurance, has the same focus:  Put the client and the Agent first!  The company’s sole purpose is to give the client the best experience possible as it pertains to the purchase & servicing of insurance products.

My time as an agency sales manager (2007-2013) gave me access to the inner workings and executive leadership of the corporation. The time spent working for the corporation was invaluable as it helped me understand who we are, where we are going and how important our clients are to the organization.  I had the opportunity to work alongside a team of talented sales managers (in Indiana and other sales states) as well as lead dozens of agency owners in District 556.

The opportunity to work once again as an agent, assisting current & prospective clients, has been the best part of this career.  Meeting with clients and learning about their families and understanding their story has been a privilege.  Our lives are so busy these days with work/family commitments.  I know that my clients need my agency’s advice and recommendations so they can make the best decision for their families.

I have so much gratitude for those that have helped me get to this point in my career:  My awesome wife, Shawna; my Parents; all the amazing mentors I’ve spent time with; and my past managers that gave me opportunities along the way.  All of these individuals helped me succeed in my efforts to be where I am today professionally (and personally).  I thank them for their support, encouragement, dedication, time and belief in me and the agency.  There’s so much heart and soul that goes into what we do every day and I hope you can feel that when you speak with me and Shannon.

I am optimistic for great things to come at The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency.  And those that know me well can hear my tone when I say, “I am pumped”!  Here’s to 10 more years!!

– Pat O’Brien
POB Agency

ps.  If you’d like to view American Family’s 2013 annual report, you can view it here.

Christmas Tree Fires are More Deadly than Typical Fires – Follow our Tips

The Christmas season has begun and it’s one of our favorite times of year.  Our Facebook news feed contains many posts of our friends’ beautifully decorated Christmas trees as well as pictures of them cutting their live tree at the Christmas tree farm.  We thought this would be an excellent opportunity to remind you of how to care for your live tree so it does not catch on fire.

christmasTrees are not a fire hazard if you take care of them, keep them watered, and decorate them carefully.  However, should the tree catch on fire, it is one of the most deadly fires.  In fact, one of every 66 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  The tree provides an unusually large amount of fuel leaving little time to get out of the house.  They are especially deadly if they occur at night when people are sleeping.

  • Keep the tree well-watered.  Check the water supply at least once a day.  Trees can drink a lot of water.
  • Use new or high-quality lighting.  Never use lights with frayed cords or worn connections.  Consider switching to LED (light-emitting diode) holiday lights. In addition to the energy and cost savings, LED lights are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fires.
  • Keep the tree away from candles and other heat sources such as a fire place.  (A heat source too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (18%) of Christmas tree fires from 2006-2010 according to the NFPA).
  • Turn off the lights before leaving home and before going to bed.
  • Dispose of the tree as soon as it feels dry.  Many cities, including Indianapolis and Fishers, will provide safe disposable sites for your tree beginning December 26th.  Big box stores such as Home Depot will also provide drop off sites.  (Do not burn the tree outside your home)!

In addition to our Christmas tree fire prevention tips, we also encourage you to review the following fire safety tips that pertain to this time of year (compliments of amfam.com):

  • Candles should be kept away from your tree and any flammable decorations and should be extinguished before leaving a room.  Candles are also a major cause of household fires during the holidays.
  • When starting a fire in your wood stove or fireplace, use hardwood logs cut the season before. Do not toss wrapping paper or branches from your Christmas tree into the flames because flash fires can result. Chimneys and wood stoves should be inspected annually for creosote and cleaned regularly. Stockings should not be hung from your fireplace mantle in the path of sparks and flames.  Home heating equipment, such as wood stoves, space heaters and fireplaces, cause nearly one-third of all home fires according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Inspect your lights before they go up to make sure they’re in good condition. Don’t plug too many into the same electrical circuit or overload extension cords. You should use no more than three light sets per extension cord. Unplug all lights when you leave the house and before going to bed.
  • Make sure everyone knows all of your home’s exits and you have a designated outdoor meeting place to regroup. If a fire does start in your home, stay as low as possible while heading for an exit to reduce your chance of smoke inhalation. If you do catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.

We wish a wonderful and safe Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas!

– S.O.
POB Agency

There are 4 Types of Customers. Which One are You?

In a customer facing role we encounter a variety of personalities and communication styles.  People think, react and behave in various ways depending on their personality. We found that although there are many layers to ones personality, we can be grouped into four main types of customer behavior. 

Driver (or Director):  Drivers don’t have time to wait and are easily annoyed by small talk and banter. They don’t want to tell you about their day and are usually identified by their impatient looks, tapping feet, and constant checking of their watch. They want what they want when they want it – and they want it now! In extreme cases they can be intimidating know-it-all’s.  Their goals are very clear. They want the best possible product at the lowest possible price delivered when they want it – which is usually immediately.  Get down to business with these people. Take their order and let them get on with their lives.

Socializers: These customers love people, are quick to smile, and don’t mind spending a few minutes in conversation with you about the weather, sports or life.  They have a strong need to feel part of a group and take an ownership position in anything they do.  They love to be asked their opinion because they like to feel part of the decision-making process.  They like to build relationships and are an excellent referral source.  These people are usually three calls away from getting anything they want. They always know someone who knows someone who knows someone – the classic example of “three degrees of separation.”   It could be the best product at the best price but the Socializer won’t do business with you  if they don’t like you.  Use compliments liberally. Do whatever you have to do to remember the names of these people. 

Ambiables: These customers are not assertive but they are responsive and emotionally expressive.  They are dependent on others, respectful, willing and agreeable.  They are low risk takers and like security.  They like personal assurance, specific guarantees, low risk, and don’t want to hear a lot of options.  They can be over sensitive so when they speak, listen or risk alienating them.  Don’t take advantage of their good nature.  Work jointly with them to seek a common ground.

Analytical: Similar to the Action personality, these people don’t like chit-chat, but unlike all others, these customers are very specific about what they want. These types usually have professions that require accuracy and analysis.  They will explain their problem in a very detailed manner. Sometimes it may seem they’re trying to tell you how to do your job, but they’re not, they just know what they want and don’t want any misunderstandings.  Analyticals read manuals, directions and the fine print. Like the Director type they are unaffected by small talk or the niceties that can accompany a “sales” or business meeting.  They conduct research and analyze all the possibilities before making a decision and they want data.  Give them facts and data and do not make a statement unless you can back it up with pertinent information.

In which customer category do you see yourself?  Do you see yourself in more than one category.  Let us know in the comments. 

If you are an existing customer, contact us if you have not reviewed your policies in the last year.  And, if you are not a customer, we’d love the opportunity to earn your business.  Here are our business hours.

Continue to stay in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest.

– S.O.
POB Agency