Remember the old curmudgeon coach from Vince Vaughn’s cult classic, Dodgeball? Ah, yes; Patches O’Houlihan. As he inspired his underdog team, he constantly reminded them of the five “D’s” of dodgeball — dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.” It seems that old adage crosses industry lines.

“Hi, I’m an insurance agent.” Immediately, they dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, anything to avoid a pesky sales pitch. But, here’s the real pitch … insurance is a necessity. You literally have to have it. To own a home, to drive a car, to get to work. And because you have to have it, don’t you want to work with someone you trust? Or, even better, with someone you like?

Okay, but you’re still an insurance agent. A snake-oil salesman. A used car dealer. Wrong. So, so wrong. Well, then, what exactly do we do?

Insurance salesman? No way.

Insurance producer? Sounds fancy, I guess.

Risk advisor? Now you’re on to something.

When I first thought of a career in insurance, I thought about selling door-to-door life insurance policies or cold-calling for hours hoping to find someone looking to save 15% or more in just 15 minutes. I knew I didn’t want a career doing that. Scott and Keith — the partners at The American Insurance Group — quickly eliminated those suspicions. I began to understand that insurance is relationship-driven, and I love people. I began to envision what my career could look like, which led me to read, listen, and learn about successful folks in insurance.

Successful. Success is an ambiguous term. To some, success is based on volume or commission. To others, success may be name recognition. To me, success is:

1) Being able to serve people and businesses about which I care.

2) Being able to rest easy at night knowing that if the worst were to happen, that person is properly covered and will be fully indemnified.

3) Being able to be myself in my career.

4) Being able to provide for my family and provide for others around me, both near and far geographically.

So where am I?

I am with the American Insurance Group — no, not AIG. We are a locally-owned, independent agency in Chattanooga. Being local allows us to have an in-house service team dedicated to assisting our clients. It also allows us to spend more time with the people and businesses we insure. Being an independent agency allows us to truly go to bat for our clients. We can market you or your business to multiple carriers in order to match great value with great coverage.

So what can I do for you?

I would love the mere opportunity simply to talk to you about your insurance. We can insure just about anything other than health and group benefits (though we have a preferred partner who does extremely well in this space). We excel with both personal lines and commercial lines. We insure homes, autos, life, businesses, workers comp, you name it. We would be honored to review your current insurance to make sure you are adequately covered and paying reasonable rates. In reviewing, we will present our recommendations to you or sometimes we will simply say, “Stay where you are; your current insurance is treating you well.” And we’re not afraid to tell you that, sometimes, the cheapest option isn’t the best option. The first time I heard Keith say this to a potential client, I knew I was in a place where honesty and integrity were more valuable than simply selling a product.

When can I help you?

Any time. I would love to grab a meal or coffee any time. Your renewal date is not as important as making sure you are properly covered in the event of a loss. Reach out anytime using any medium. Our office number is (423) 362-4166 and my email is However, I don’t mind if you direct message me, show up at my house, or stop me at the grocery store!

Why me?

Written by Jack Smith