George Nordhaus, Santa Fe, NM
After graduating from Vanderbilt in 1955 and spending three years as an officer in the Navy, I returned to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1959 to take a job running the insurance agents' association, the Insurors of Tennessee. It was a seven-year stint, and established my position in the industry.
I knew nothing about insurance, but was (and am) an extrovert, a writer, a public speaker, and an entrepreneur... a dangerous combination, at best.
My niche in life seemed to evolve around marketing. I began to not only speak on the subject (over 2,000 times throughout my career) but also to write about it.
The “go to” guy on insurance marketing
My first book was written in 1963 (Insurance Agency Advertising). I subsequently wrote another seven books on the general theme of marketing. My columns on the subject appeared for over 20 years in industry publications. For the following forty years I authored the "Weekly Marketeer" which was considered the leading information newsletter for insurance agencies.
So, due to the fact that nobody else was "majoring" in insurance marketing, I became the de facto "go to" guy on the subject. After moving back to my native Indiana to run the insurance agents' association there for four more years, I eventually moved with my family to Los Angeles, to work for a marketing firm that had purchased my small publishing business. In six months’ time I realized I needed to work for myself, and bought my firm back.
In 1972 I formed "Insurance Agency Marketing and Management Services," an information provider that eventually became the largest marketing group in the property-casualty insurance business. That's the good news...and IMMS flourished for 3 decades. In the process we built the largest (existing) marketing and management base of information for P/C insurance on the Internet.
Oh no! Information is now free!
Then...came the new century...and disaster...in the form of the Internet, Google, et al. All of a sudden an ogre called "Information Overload" appeared, and IMMS began to go down... down… down. People knew they no longer had to pay for information. After a lifetime of work I was faced with having to do something drastic.
The better news is that a group of young, entrepreneurially-motivated "techie" guys came along and offered me a good "out". They would take over the business, update it to meet the changing Boomers, then Gen Y marketplace. They would put in enough time and money to move IMMS into the new world of technology.
We worked out a five-year consulting agreement, leaving intact my job as Chairman. In the process, my wife, animals and I moved to Santa Fe, NM. We’ve loved our first year here in the "City Different.” and will probably continue to love all succeeding years.
Finally a chance to reboot myself, at age 75
With time on my hands, and the knowledge that the insurance world was/is rapidly changing, I concluded that one of the major failure activities in insurance (or any industry) is the hiring process. A wrong hire often costs more than twice the person's salary. My psychologist wife and I had owned an employee assessment business for 15+ years. In an introspective look at my future (and when I soon realized that the hiring process had not moved forward to any great extent...and certainly remains a mystery to most small businesses owners), I saw a wonderful opportunity.
With the help of some very bright (younger) people, we designed a system of hiring that would take the mystery out of the task... especially for smaller businesses.
After a year's input, www.insurancehiringsystem.com is up and running. After realizing that the concept is viable, I began to think of ways to expand it into other businesses. We have already purchased over 50 domain names (all different industries), each followed by "hiringsystem.com". Our next move, for example, will probably be into the "bank hiring system".
Re-boot my life? Yes. But lucky enough to have something on which to build (for years it was called Nordhaus Profiles International)... and time enough to continue to be creative. Oh yes, and in the process, the new Hiring System is helping me build back an estate...something that almost got away from me a few years ago.
Have you noticed that I am "pumped?" My wife and family have!