Giuseppe Mauro is the owner and founder of MIG Insurance. Located in Rockville, MD, the firm offers a great range of risk management and insurance plans. Giuseppe holds licenses and can help personal and commercial clients in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.
Giuseppe was born and raised in Washington D.C. to Italian immigrant parents. He graduated from University of Maryland with a degree in History and initially began working at the Food and Drug Administration. After a few years, he moved into the service industry, first as a bartender and eventually as a general manager for a restaurant in DC. It was while he was a manager at the restaurant that he discovered his interest in insurance and risk management.
His first position in this field was as an office manager for State Farm. While there, he accomplished several honors for his productivity, including many perfect customer service awards. He opened his own firm in 2011 and has continued to grow beyond even what he had imagined. MIG Insurance has been named in the Top 50 Places to Work by The Washingtonian. He has also received awards for being in the top 1% of life premiums by Erie Insurance Company.
How did you get started in this business and what inspired you?
I was a manager at a restaurant in my mid-twenties and a friend of mine who was an insurance agent encouraged me to try it out for about a week. During that time, I was working my regular evening shift and a customer actually fell near the door. She needed an ambulance and thankfully she was ok, but the process that followed definitely piqued my interest. There are so many complexities that go into filing a report and the aftermath. I had so many questions that I had never considered before, like where exactly did she fall? Who was at fault? How would she be made whole again?
Something about that evening clicked with me. Within two days, I quit my job at the restaurant and joined my friend at his agency. I found myself just fully interested in all of the things that are involved in the process.
How do you make money?
I am an insurance broker. I receive 8 to 10% commission on all premiums paid to an insurance carrier. For example, if a customer pays $1000 to a carrier for car insurance, my brokerage firm, MIG Insurance receives their percentage from that money. Individually it’s not a lot of money, but the residual income is what turns the profit.
How long did it take you to become profitable?
I honestly did not become profitable for about six and a half years. Nothing about opening an insurance brokerage agency at thirty allows for a speedy turnaround. You have to be prepared for a lot of “no’s ” and you have to keep pushing. You need a thick skin and you need to have confidence.
When you were starting out, was there a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
From day one, I was cautiously optimistic. I opened MIG Insurance on October 1, 2011, and I was in the office from 9 in the morning until 3 by myself before I got my first phone call. That was the loneliest five hours of my life. Every emotion and doubt imaginable went through my mind before that first call came through. Within 6 months, I had expanded to having two full-time employees and we were fielding a lot of calls. That first day, though, that is when I felt my doubt.
How did you get your first customer?
My first customers were my mother and father.
What is one marketing strategy, other than referrals, that works really well for you?
I can’t overstate the importance of being yourself when marketing. You want to put your personal style into how you present your business. I have used sign spinners, radio, television ads, and social media blasts effectively to generate new business. In all of these, I was always just myself because potential clients can always tell when you’re not being authentic.
What’s the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Developing and sticking with a business plan can be tough. This is an industry that is constantly changing. Creating and implementing a five-year plan with a solid direction you plan to take your company in, it can be nerve-wracking, but also very necessary. It’s not just me that my decisions affect, I have a team here and it impacts their lives as well.
What do you think makes you successful?
I am driven. I know my products inside and out. I don’t sugar coat good or bad information when I’m speaking with clients, potential clients, or my team. I think that has a lot to do with why our customer retention rate is so high.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment was about a year and a half ago. I had a client that I had several conversations with who didn’t have the right coverage for his business. After going through a lot of different options we were able to figure out a plan that worked and finally got him covered properly. Literally, within two months of getting that settled, the business had a fire and with the coverage we got him, he was able to get back up and running within five months. He was able to keep all his employees, all his vendors, and cleared all legal requirements for Washington D.C. regulations to reopen.
What does the future hold for your business and what are you most excited about?
I am excited about our life insurance products at MIG Insurance that have an incredible disability inclusion. They are definitely going to give great value and a competitive edge for us. It is an excellent product that covers people in case they are disabled before retirement age and it’s supported by an excellent carrier. Knowing their family is covered brings comfort to my clients and this new inclusion will serve them well.
What business books have inspired you?
My favorite business book isn’t necessarily about the nuts and bolts of business ownership but focuses more on communicating effectively. It is called Works Well With Others by Ross McCammon. It’s a fascinating book that goes into the nuances of business relationships and gives you the tools you need to read and respond in different situations.